May 7, 1973: Seaver and Six-Run 8th Beat Braves

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Date: May 7, 1973
Mets starter: Tom Seaver
Mets: 7
Braves: 2
Winning pitcher: Tom Seaver
Key player(s): Tom Seaver, Ed Kranepool, Bud Harrelson
Key play: Kranepool’s double, Harrelson’s walk in 8th

The Mets faced the Braves on a Monday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. A six-run eighth inning aided Tom Seaver’s complete-game effort in a 7-2 Mets win over Atlanta.

Seaver and the Braves’ Pat Dobson each started the game with four scoreless innings pitched. Tom yielded just a single to Marty Perez in the top of the fifth and Dobson issued back-to-back walks to Bud Harrelson and Seaver with one out in the bottom half. Ted Martinez followed with a force play ground ball to second baseman Davey Johnson. An ensuing single by Felix Millan scored Harrelson with the game’s first run and Dobson retired Wayne Garrett on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Dusty Baker. Seaver shut down the Braves in the top of the sixth. Dobson then held the Mets to a single by Ed Kranepool in the bottom of the inning.

Baker hit a home run to lead off the top of the seventh. Jack Pierce grounded out to shortstop Harrelson and a fly ball by Perez was misplayed by center fielder Martinez for an error. Perez advanced to second base on Dobson’s sacrifice bunt and scored on a double by Johnny Oates for a 2-1 Atlanta lead. Seaver retired Johnson on a fly ball to right fielder Rusty Staub that ended the inning. Dobson then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Seaver surrendered just a walk to Darrell Evans in the top of the eighth. To begin the bottom half, Garrett hit a single and moved to third base on a single by Staub. Kranepool doubled against Braves’ reliever Danny Frisella to drive home Garrett with the tying run. Jim Gosger was walked intentionally to load the bases and Jerry Grote went down on strikes. Harrelson drew a walk to force home Staub and give the Mets a 3-2 lead. Seaver hit a force play grounder to shortstop Perez to bring home Kranepool. With Martinez at bat, Seaver stole second as Gosger scored on an error by Johnson. Ted drew a walk and advanced to third base on Millan’s single that plated Seaver. For Atlanta, Phil Niekro came in to pitch and walked Garrett to reload the bases. Staub drew a walk to force home Martinez with the Mets’ sixth run of the inning and seventh of the game. Niekro then got Kranepool on a grounder to first baseman Pierce for the third out.

Pierce took a called third strike to open the top of the ninth inning. Perez was retired on a fly ball to Martinez. Seaver then got pinch-hitter Sonny Jackson to fly out to Martinez and end the game. The Mets had a series-opening victory.