May 4, 1978: Koosman Stifles Braves With Complete Game

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Date: May 4, 1978
Mets starter: Jerry Koosman
Mets: 8
Braves: 2
Winning pitcher: Jerry Koosman
Key player(s): Jerry Koosman, Bobby Valentine, John Stearns, Willie Montanez
Key play: Stearns’ single, Valentine’s home run

The Mets faced the Braves on a Thursday night in Atlanta. The teams concluded a series after being rained out the previous day. Jerry Koosman pitched a complete game in an 8-2 Mets win.

Koosman and the Braves’ Phil Niekro each hurled three scoreless innings to start the game. Consecutive walks to Lenny Randle and Elliott Maddox began the top of the fourth. Lee Mazzilli hit a force play ground ball to second baseman Jerry Royster and a foul pop-up by Willie Montanez was caught by catcher Biff Pocoroba. Steve Henderson drew a walk to load the bases and Bobby Valentine walked to force home Randle. John Stearns singled to score Mazzilli and Henderson for a 3-0 Mets lead. Niekro retired Doug Flynn on an inning-ending pop-up to third baseman Rod Gilbreath. Koosman then gave up only a double to Jeff Burroughs in the bottom half.

Following a scoreless fifth inning, Mazzilli singled against Niekro to lead off the top of the sixth. Lee stole second base and advanced to third on Pocoroba’s throwing error. Montanez doubled to drive home Mazzilli and a strikeout of Henderson ensued. Valentine hit a two-run homer to increase the Mets’ lead to 6-0. Atlanta reliever Adrian Devine got Stearns to ground out to Gilbreath and retired Flynn on a fly ball to right fielder Cito Gaston to end the inning. Koosman then set down the Braves in order in the bottom half.

Randle drew a one-out walk in the top of the seventh. Lenny moved to second base on Maddox’s ground out to Gilbreath. Mazzilli hit a single to score Randle and went to second on a throw. Montanez singled to drive home Mazzilli for an 8-0 Mets lead. Henderson grounded out to first baseman Dale Murphy to finish off the inning and Koosman pitched a perfect bottom half. Devine yielded just a single to Flynn in the top of the eighth and pinch-hitter Tom Paciorek singled with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Koosman then got Royster on a force play grounder to third baseman Randle for the inning’s final out.

Braves’ reliever Jamie Easterly pitched a scoreless top of the ninth. Brian Asselstine was hit by a pitch to open the bottom half. Burroughs doubled to drive home Asselstine and advanced to third base on a single by Gaston. Murphy followed with a double play ground ball to Randle on which Burroughs scored the second Atlanta run. Koosman then retired Pocoroba on a grounder to shortstop Sergio Ferrer to end the game. The Mets had a solid series-closing victory.

Notes

  • Valentine’s home run was the twelfth and final one of his major league career.