May 7, 1968: Ryan Three-Hits Cardinals

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Date: May 7, 1968
Mets starter: Nolan Ryan
Mets: 4
Cardinals: 1
Winning pitcher: Nolan Ryan
Key player(s): Nolan Ryan, Art Shamsky, Ron Swoboda, Jerry Grote
Key play: Shamsky’s home run, Swoboda’s and Grote’s singles

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Tuesday night in St. Louis. The teams played the second of three games in a series. Nolan Ryan pitched a three-hitter in a 4-1 Mets win over the Redbirds.

Ryan and Cards’ starter Nelson Briles each started the game with two innings of one-hit scoreless ball. Briles shut down the Mets in the top of the third and Dick Schofield drew a walk to lead off the bottom half. Briles went down on strikes and Lou Brock walked. Curt Flood flied out to right fielder Ron Swoboda and a single by Bobby Tolan brought home Schofield for a 1-0 St. Louis lead. Ryan then retired Orlando Cepeda on a foul pop-up to first baseman Ed Kranepool to close out the inning.

Despite allowing five hits, Briles held the Mets without a run from the fourth inning to the sixth. Ryan responded by setting down all nine Redbird batters in the bottom halves. Ken Boswell singled with one out in the top of the seventh. Art Shamsky connected for a home run that put the Mets ahead, 2-1. Swoboda flied out to right fielder Tolan and a single by Kranepool ensued. Briles retired Grote on a fly ball to Tolan to finish off the inning and Mike Shannon singled for the Cardinals’ third hit with one out in the bottom half. Ryan then got Julian Javier to hit a grounder to second baseman Boswell for an inning-ending double play.

Briles retired the side on three consecutive infield ground balls in the top of the eighth. Ryan hurled a perfect bottom half and Boswell got a one-out single against St. Louis reliever Ron Willis in the top of the ninth. Boswell advanced to third base on Cleon Jones’ single and came home on a single by Swoboda. The Cards’ Joe Hoerner struck out Kranepool and gave up a single to Jerry Grote that plated Jones with the Mets’ fourth run of the game. Hoerner then fanned Jerry Buchek for the inning’s third out.

Flood drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the ninth. Tolan followed with a double play grounder to Boswell. Ryan then got Cepeda to fly out to center fielder Tommie Agee and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a solid victory on Nolan’s three-hitter.