May 3, 1971: Agee's Single Beats Cubs in 11th

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Date: May 3, 1971
Mets starter: Gary Gentry
Mets: 3
Cubs: 2
Winning pitcher: Tug McGraw
Key player(s): Jerry Grote, Tommie Agee
Key play: Agee’s single in 11th

The Mets faced the Cubs on a Monday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Tommie Agee singled home the winning run in the 11th inning for a 3-2 Mets victory over Chicago.

Leading off the top of the first inning, Don Kessinger doubled against Mets’ starter Gary Gentry. An infield single by Glenn Beckert moved Kessinger to third base and Billy Williams was struck out. Ron Santo hit a sacrifice fly to score Kessinger for a 1-0 Cubs lead. Johnny Callison singled and Gentry retired Joe Pepitone on a pop-up to third baseman Bob Aspromonte to end the inning. Chicago’s Ken Holtzman then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Gentry and Holtzman each hurled two-hit scoreless ball in the second and third innings. Pepitone singled to open the top of the fourth. Ernie Banks popped out to shortstop Bud Harrelson and a walk to Danny Breeden ensued. Holtzman hit a ground ball on which Gentry threw to Aspromonte for a force out at third base on Pepitone. Gary then got Kessinger on a force play grounder to second baseman Tim Foli to close out the inning.

Holtzman struck out Donn Clendenon and Ken Singleton to begin the bottom of the fourth. Aspromonte hit a double to left field. An ensuing double by Jerry Grote drove home Aspromonte to tie the game. Foli was given an intentional walk and Gentry grounded to shortstop Kessinger for the inning’s third out. Gentry and Holtzman then faced the minimum number of hitters in pitching scoreless fifth and sixth innings.

Gentry set down the Cubs in order in the top of the seventh. Grote hit a single to lead off the bottom half. Foli doubled to send Grote to third base and Gentry went down on strikes. Don Hahn drew a walk to load the bases and Harrelson hit a sacrifice fly that scored Grote with the go-ahead run. Holtzman then fanned Cleon Jones for the final out of the inning.

With one out in the top of the eighth, Williams hit a home run to retie the game at 2-2. Santo drew a walk and advanced to second base on a single by Callison. Pepitone grounded out to Foli and an intentional walk to Banks loaded the bases. Gentry struck out pinch-hitter Paul Popovich to end the inning. Holtzman then shut down the Mets in the bottom half.

Gentry issued a walk to Holtzman to begin the top of the ninth inning. Against Mets’ reliever Tug McGraw, Kessinger reached on an error by Foli. Beckert’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third base and Williams was walked intentionally. With the bases loaded, McGraw threw a called third strike past Santo. Tug followed up by retiring Callison on an inning-ending grounder to first baseman Clendenon. Holtzman then hurled a scoreless bottom half to send the game onward.

Following a scoreless 10th inning, McGraw set down all three Cubs hitters in the top of the 11th. Holtzman retired the first two Mets batters in the bottom half. Grote doubled to left field and Foli received an intentional walk. Pinch-hitter Agee followed with a single to score Grote and end the game. The Mets had started the series with an extra-inning win.