October 1, 1973: Mets Clinch NL East
|Date: October 1, 1973|
|Mets starter: Tom Seaver|
|Winning pitcher: Tom Seaver|
|Key player(s): Cleon Jones, Jerry Grote, John Milner|
|Key play: Jones's HR, Grote's single, Milner's unassisted DP|
A day after the regular season was supposed to end, the National League East title was still up for grabs. The Mets needed one win to claim first place in a race that had included five teams. They would come up big with a 6-4 win over the Cubs to cap a crazy, rainy overlapping weekend at Wrigley Field and become the East champions.
The Mets built a 5-0 lead for starting pitcher Tom Seaver. A home run by Cleon Jones, run-scoring singles by Jerry Grote (for two runs) and Rusty Staub and a sacrifice fly by John Milner provided the advantage. It turned out to be all the offense the Mets would need for the win.
Seaver, however, would struggle. He allowed four runs to Chicago, including a two-run homer by Rick Monday. The game was turned over to Tug McGraw, who finished up to record his 25th save of the season.
The '73 division title was clinched the same way it was four years earlier - with a double play. The Cubs' Glenn Beckert hit a soft pop up to Milner, who caught it and stepped on first base to double up Ken Rudolph. The bizarre race for the East crown was finally over and the Mets had won it.