May 31, 1981: Kingman and Falcone Stifle Cubs

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Date: May 31, 1981
Mets starter: Randy Jones
Mets: 3
Cubs: 2
Winning pitcher: Randy Jones
Key player(s): Dave Kingman, Pete Falcone
Key play: Kingman’s double and homer

The Mets faced the Cubs on a Sunday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. Dave Kingman drove in two runs and Pete Falcone recorded his only save of the season as the Mets defeated Chicago, 3-2.

Randy Jones and Cubs’ starter Rick Reuschel each pitched a perfect first inning. In the top of the second, Jerry Morales led off with a walk and moved to second base on a single by Hector Cruz. Ken Reitz hit a ground ball to second baseman Doug Flynn on which Cruz was out and Morales advanced to third. Carlos Lezcano reached on an error by shortstop Bob Bailor that allowed Morales to score for a 1-0 Chicago lead. A single by Jody Davis loaded the bases. Jones then got Reuschel on a grounder to Bailor for an inning-ending double play.

With one out in the bottom of the second, Mike Jorgensen doubled to center field. John Stearns got an infield single after which Jorgensen advanced to third on shortstop Ivan DeJesus’s error. Hubie Brooks followed with a force play ground ball to DeJesus that drove home Jorgensen with the tying run. Reuschel then retired Flynn on a grounder to third baseman Reitz to end the inning.

After a scoreless third, Jones set down the Cubs in order in the top of the fourth. Lee Mazzilli drew a walk to open the bottom half. Kingman hit a double to score Mazzilli and put the Mets ahead, 2-1. Reuschel retired the next three New York batters on infield grounders and Davis got a one-out single in the top of the fifth. Reuschel’s sacrifice bunt advanced Davis to second base. Jones got DeJesus to ground out to third baseman Brooks and close out the inning. Reuschel then set down the Mets 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Bill Buckner singled with one out in the top of the sixth inning. Morales followed with a single and a walk to Cruz loaded the bases. Jones retired Reitz on a pop-up to Flynn and got Lezcano to hit a force play grounder to Bailor for the inning’s final out. With two outs in the bottom half, Kingman hit a home run (Dave’s fifth in the last six games) to increase the Mets’ lead to 3-1. Reuschel then fanned Jorgensen for the third out of the inning.

Davis led off the top of the seventh with a single to right field. Pinch-hitter Mike Tyson drew a walk and DeJesus advanced the runners to second and third base with a sacrifice bunt. Jones issued a walk to Steve Dillard that loaded the bases. Falcone came in to pitch for the Mets and retired Buckner on a pop-up to Bailor. Pete followed up by getting Morales on a force play ground ball to Bailor that ended the inning. Chicago reliever Lynn McGlothen then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Cruz began the top of the eighth inning with a homer for the Cubs’ second run. Falcone struck out Reitz and retired Lezcano on a ground ball to Brooks. Pete threw a called third strike past Davis to bring the inning to and end. McGlothen then set down the Mets in order in the bottom half.

Pinch-hitter Joe Strain grounded out to Brooks to lead off the top of the ninth. Falcone struck out DeJesus and yielded an infield single to Dillard. Pete then retired Buckner on a ground ball to Brooks to end the game. The Mets had a series-ending victory to conclude the month of May.