May 29, 1979: Four Runs in 7th Shuffle Cards

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Date: May 29, 1979
Mets starter: Pat Zachry
Mets: 6
Cardinals: 2
Winning pitcher: Pat Zachry
Key player(s): Willie Montanez, John Stearns, Steve Henderson
Key play: Montanez’s single, Stearns’ and Henderson’s doubles

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Tuesday night in St. Louis. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. The Mets scored four runs in the seventh inning and defeated the Redbirds, 6-2.

Following a scoreless first inning, Cardinals’ starter Pete Vuckovich set down the side in order in the top of the second. With one out in the bottom half, Tony Scott singled against the Mets’ Pat Zachry. Scott stole second base and came around to score on a single by Ken Reitz. Zachry got Ken Oberkfell to hit a force play grounder to second baseman Doug Flynn and retired Vuckovich on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Lee Mazzilli. The Mets went down 1-2-3 against Vuckovich in the top of the third. Zachry then hurled a perfect bottom half.

Frank Taveras got a one-out single in the top of the fourth inning. A balk by Vuckovich sent Taveras to second base and Mazzilli lined out to center fielder Scott. Richie Hebner doubled to drive home Taveras and tie the game. Willie Montanez grounded back to Vuckovich to end the inning and Zachry held the Cards to a single by Scott in a scoreless bottom half. Vuckovich pitched a perfect top of the fifth and the Redbirds loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Zachry then retired Ted Simmons on a pop-up to shortstop Taveras for the inning’s final out.

Vuckovich shut down the Mets in the top of the sixth. George Hendrick hit a double to lead off the bottom half. Scott’s ensuing ground out to Flynn advanced Hendrick to third base. Reitz singled to score Hendrick for a 2-1 St. Louis lead. Oberkfell was retired on a fly ball to Mazzilli. Zachry then got Vuckovich on a ground ball to third baseman Hebner to close out the inning.

To begin the top of the seventh, Mazzilli doubled to right field. Hebner followed with a fly out to left fielder Lou Brock on which Mazzilli moved to third base. Lee came home with the tying run on a single by Montanez, who advanced to second on Scott’s throw to the plate. John Stearns hit a double to score Montanez and put the Mets in front. An ensuing double by Steve Henderson plated Stearns with another New York run. Vuckovich was replaced on the mound by Cardinals’ reliever Mark Littell, who was greeted by Flynn with a single that brought home Henderson for a 5-2 Mets lead. On the play, Flynn was caught in a rundown and tagged out by first baseman Keith Hernandez. Zachry singled to right field and Littell retired Joel Youngblood on a fly ball to right fielder Hendrick to end the inning. Hernandez doubled with two outs in the bottom half. Zachry then got Simmons on a grounder to first baseman Montanez for the third out.

Taveras singled to lead off the top of the eighth inning. Mazzilli followed with a single to send Taveras to third base. Against Cards’ reliever Will McEnany, Hebner hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Taveras with the Mets’ sixth run of the game. On Montanez’s ensuing double to right field, pinch-runner Elliott Maddox was out at home via a relay throw by second baseman Oberkfell to catcher Simmons. McEnany fanned Stearns to end the inning and Zachry issued a one-out walk to Scott in the bottom half. Reitz singled and Skip Lockwood came in to pitch for the Mets. Lockwood got Oberkfell to hit a force play ground ball to Hebner for the second out. Skip followed up by retiring pinch-hitter Dane Iorg on an inning-ending fly ball to right fielder Youngblood. St. Louis reliever Tom Bruno then pitched a scoreless top of the ninth.

A single by Garry Templeton opened the bottom of the ninth inning. Brock went down on strikes and Hernandez singled to move Templeton to third base. Hendrick was retired on a foul pop-up to Flynn. Lockwood then got Scott to foul out to Hebner and end the game. The Mets had a victory to start the series.