May 25, 1974: Jones and Milner Slug Pirates

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Date: May 25, 1974
Mets starter: Jerry Koosman
Mets: 4
Pirates: 3
Winning pitcher: Jerry Koosman
Key player(s): Cleon Jones, John Milner
Key play: Jones’ and Milner’s home runs

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Saturday night in Pittsburgh. The teams played the second of three games in a weekend series. Cleon Jones and John Milner hit two-run homers to give the Mets a 4-3 win over the Bucs.

Bud Harrelson singled against Pirates’ starter Dock Ellis to lead off the top of the first inning. Felix Millan flied out to right fielder Richie Zisk and a home run by Jones put the Mets ahead, 2-0. Rusty Staub popped out to shortstop Frank Taveras and a ground out by Milner back to Ellis finished off the inning. For New York, Jerry Koosman hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Dave Schneck reached second base on an error by first baseman Willie Stargell to begin the top of the second. Wayne Garrett grounded out to second baseman Rennie Stennett to advance Schneck to third. Jerry Grote followed with a ground ball on which Schneck was out at home via a throw by third baseman Richie Hebner to catcher Manny Sanguillen. Koosman singled and Harrelson walked to load the bases. Ellis retired Millan on a fly ball to Zisk that ended the inning and Sanguillen hit a leadoff single in the bottom half. Sanguillen moved to second on Taveras’s ground out to Koosman and to third on a single by Ellis. Koosman then got Stennett to foul out to first baseman Milner and end the inning.

Ellis shut down the Mets in the top of the third. To begin the bottom half, Gene Clines was hit by a pitch and Al Oliver singled to right field. Bob Robertson went down on strikes and Zisk doubled to score Clines and Oliver with the tying runs. Koosman set down the next two Pittsburgh batters to close out the inning and Ellis gave up only a double to Harrelson in the top of the fourth. Koosman then retired the Bucs on three straight infield grounders in the bottom half.

Staub singled with one out in the top of the fifth inning. Milner followed with a home run to give the Mets a 4-2 lead. Schneck singled and Garrett reached on a fielder’s choice ground ball. Grote hit a single on which Taveras threw to Sanguillen for an out at home on Schneck. Ellis fanned Koosman for the inning’s final out and Clines singled to open the bottom half. Oliver flied out to left fielder Jones and a walk to Robertson ensued. Zisk hit a double to drive home Clines with the Pirates’ third run of the game. Koosman then got Sanguillen to pop out to third baseman Garrett and retired Hebner on a grounder to Milner to end the inning.

Following a scoreless sixth, Pittsburgh reliever Dave Giusti set down the side in order in the top of the seventh. Koosman held the Bucs to a single by Clines in the bottom half and Harrelson hit a single with two outs in the top of the eighth. Millan doubled and Giusti struck out Jones to finish off the inning. Taveras got a two-out bunt single in the bottom half. With pinch-hitter Paul Popovich at the plate, Taveras reached second base on Harrelson’s error on a pickoff play. Koosman retired Popovich on an inning-ending foul pop-up to catcher Grote. Pirates’ reliever Kent Tekulve then pitched a scoreless top of the ninth.

Stennett popped out to Harrelson to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning. Clines went down on strikes. Koosman then retired Oliver on a fly ball to center fielder Schneck to end the game. The Mets had a victory on the strength of homers by Jones and Milner.