May 30, 1968: Mets Whip Bucs in DH Opener

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Date: May 30, 1968
Mets starter: Jerry Koosman
Mets: 6
Pirates: 3
Winning pitcher: Jerry Koosman
Key player(s): Tommie Agee, Ed Kranepool
Key play: Kranepool’s and Agee’s singles in 3rd

The Mets and Pirates faced each other in a doubleheader on a Thursday evening. The teams played a two-hour and 56-minute opening game of the twinbill at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field. The Mets got hits in seven of the nine innings and emerged with a 6-3 win over the Bucs.

Tommie Agee hit a double against Pirates’ starter Jim Bunning to lead off the top of the first inning. Ken Boswell grounded back to Bunning and a single by Art Shamsky drove home Agee. J. C. Martin drew a walk and Ron Swoboda followed with a force play grounder to shortstop Gene Alley. Bunning struck out Kevin Collins to end the inning. For the Mets, Jerry Koosman pitched a perfect bottom half.

Ed Kranepool singled to begin the top of the second. Bunning set down three of the next four batters to close out the inning and Koosman retired all three Pittsburgh hitters in the bottom half. To open the top of the third, Shamsky hit a single and Martin drew a walk. Swoboda flied out to right fielder Roberto Clemente and a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third base. Collins was given an intentional walk to load the bases. Kranepool singled to score Shamsky and Martin with the Mets’ second and third runs and Al Weis was hit by a pitch to load the bases once again. Koosman was called out on strikes and Agee hit a single to plate Collins for a 4-0 Mets lead. Bunning retired Boswell on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Manny Mota. Koosman then set down the Bucs 1-2-3 again in the bottom half.

Bunning held the Mets to a single by Martin in the top of the fourth. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Mota singled for the Pirates’ first hit of the game. Willie Stargell was struck out and Clemente hit a double to advance Mota to third base. Donn Clendenon flied out to right fielder Swoboda to end the inning and Kranepool got a one-out single in the top of the fifth. On Weis’s ensuing double, Alley made an error that allowed Kranepool to come home. Weis was out on the play via a throw by Alley to third baseman Maury Wills. Bunning got Koosman on a foul fly ball to left fielder Stargell for the inning’s final out. Jerry then shut down the Bucs in the bottom half.

Agee got a leadoff single in the top of the sixth inning. Boswell singled against Pittsburgh reliever Juan Pizarro and a sacrifice bunt by Shamsky moved the runners to second and third base. Martin was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Pizarro fanned both Swoboda and Collins to close out the inning. Koosman yielded just a single to Mota in the bottom half and the Pirates’ Dave Wickersham pitched a perfect top of the seventh. Jerry then hurled a scoreless bottom of the inning.

Boswell got a one-out single in the top of the eighth. Ken advanced to second base on Shamsky’s ground out to first baseman Clendenon and scored the Mets’ sixth run on a triple by Martin. Wickersham retired Swoboda on a ground ball to Wills that ended the inning and pinch-hitter Matty Alou drew a walk to begin the bottom half. Carl Taylor went down on strikes and Wills hit a force play grounder to second baseman Boswell. Mota got a bunt single and pinch-hitter Jose Pagan singled to drive home Wills. Clemente followed with a double that scored Mota and reduced the New York lead to 6-2. Koosman was then replaced on the mound by Mets’ reliever Ron Taylor, who got Clendenon to fly out to center fielder Cleon Jones and finish off the inning.

Bucs’ reliever Luke Walker retired the side in order in the top of the ninth. Bill Mazeroski singled to lead off the bottom half. Alley took a called third strike and Alou hit a single to right field. Ron Taylor was relieved by the Mets’ Bill Short, who hit pinch-hitter Manny Jimenez with a pitch to load the bases. Wills hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Mazeroski with the third Pittsburgh run. With New York reliever Cal Koonce on the mound facing Mota, Alou got caught by a throw from catcher Martin to third baseman Collins for the final out of the game. The Mets had a victory to start the doubleheader.