May 6, 1966: Jones' Homer Gives Gardner First Win

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Date: May 6, 1966
Mets starter: Rob Gardner
Mets: 2
Cubs: 1
Winning pitcher: Rob Gardner
Key player(s): Cleon Jones, Rob Gardner
Key play: Gardner’s double in 5th, Santo’s home run in 6th, Jones’ home run in 9th

The Mets began an 11-game home stand on Friday night at Shea Stadium. In the opener of a four-game series against the Cubs, Rob Gardner pitched a complete game four-hitter for his first major league win. A home run by Cleon Jones in the ninth inning gave the Mets a 2-1 victory over Chicago.

Gardner and Cubs’ starter Ken Holtzman each pitched scoreless ball through the first four innings of the game. Rob allowed two singles and two walks while striking out three batters. Holtzman gave up leadoff singles to Ed Bressoud in the first and Jim Hickman in the second, but no runs to the Mets. He faced the minimum six batters in the third and fourth. Gardner then held Chicago to a single by Don Kessinger in pitching a scoreless top of the fifth inning.

Jerry Grote doubled with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Gardner followed with a double of his own to score Grote for a 1-0 Mets lead. Holtzman retired the next two batters to end the inning. In the top of the sixth, Ron Santo homered off Gardner with two outs to tie the game for the Cubs. The Mets were then set down 1-2-3 by Holtzman in the bottom half.

Gardner and Holtzman pitched perfectly in the seventh inning. Rob followed up with a 1-2-3 top of the eighth. Leading off the bottom half, Gardner singled for his second hit of the game. Bressoud reached on a fielder’s choice and Holtzman got Roy McMillan and Ken Boyer to hit into force plays. Ron Swoboda popped up to shortstop Kessinger for the third out. Gardner then got Ernie Banks for his eighth strikeout to end a scoreless top of the ninth inning.

Jones led off the bottom of the ninth against Holtzman. Cleon hit a home run to end the game. The Mets had an exciting win to start the home stand.