October 10, 1973: Game Five of the NLCS

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Date: October 10, 1973
Mets starter: Tom Seaver
Mets: 7
Reds: 2
Winning pitcher: Tom Seaver
Key player(s): Ed Kranepool, Tom Seaver, Cleon Jones
Key play: Kranepool's single in 1st, Driessen's blunder in 5th

The Mets and Reds played the fifth and deciding game of the National League Championship Series on a Wednesday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams concluded the Series in front of 50,323 fans on hand. The Mets chalked up a 7-2 win over Cincinnati to conquer the pennant.

The Reds failed to score after loading the bases against Mets’ starter Tom Seaver in the top of the first inning. Felix Millan singled off the Reds’ Jack Billingham with one out in the bottom half. Cleon Jones hit a single and John Milner drew a walk to load the bases. Replacing the injured Rusty Staub in the lineup, Ed Kranepool delivered a single to left field to drive home Millan and Jones for a 2-0 Mets lead. Billingham struck out Jerry Grote and retired Don Hahn on a ground ball to second baseman Joe Morgan to end the inning. Seaver pitched a perfect top of the second. Billingham then shut down the Mets on three consecutive infield ground balls in the bottom half.

With one out in the top of the third inning, Morgan doubled and advanced to third base on an error by right fielder Jones. A sacrifice fly by Dan Driessen scored Morgan for the first Cincinnati run of the game. Tony Perez grounded out to shortstop Bud Harrelson to end the inning and Billingham pitched a perfect bottom half. Seaver held the Reds scoreless in the top of the fourth. The Mets had runners on first and second base with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Seaver then hit a ground ball to shortstop Darrel Chaney for the third out.

Pete Rose led off the top of the fifth with a double to left field. Morgan’s ground out to first baseman Milner advanced Rose to third base and Driessen grounded out to second baseman Millan. Tony Perez followed with a single to right field to bring home Rose and tie the game. Seaver then retired Johnny Bench on an inning-ending pop-up to Harrelson.

Wayne Garrett doubled to open the bottom of the fifth inning. On Millan’s ensuing bunt, Garrett reached third base after third baseman Driessen took a throw and failed to apply a tag. Jones hit a double to bring home Garrett and put the Mets ahead, 3-2. Reds’ reliever Don Gullett walked Milner to load the bases. Against reliever Clay Carroll, pinch-hitter Willie Mays singled to score Millan. Grote hit a grounder on which Morgan threw to catcher Bench for an out at home on Jones. Hahn hit a force play ground ball to Chaney that plated Milner and a single by Harrelson drove home Mays for a 6-2 Mets lead. On Bud’s hit, Hahn was caught at third base via a throw by left fielder Rose to Driessen for the third out of the inning.

After setting down all three Cincinnati batters in the top of the sixth, Seaver led off the bottom of the inning with a double to left field. Tom advanced to third base on Garrett’s fly out to center fielder Cesar Geronimo. Millan grounded out to Chaney and a single by Jones scored Seaver with the Mets’ seventh run. Milner singled to send Jones to third and Carroll got Mays on an infield ground ball to end the inning. Seaver held the Reds to a single by Rose in a scoreless top of the seventh. Cincinnati reliever Ross Grimsley then shut down the Mets in the bottom half.

Seaver retired the Reds 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth inning. Grimsley hurled a scoreless bottom half. With one out in the top of the ninth, pinch-hitter Larry Stahl singled to left field. Seaver walked pinch-hitter Hal King and followed with a walk to Rose that loaded the bases. Mets’ reliever Tug McGraw retired Morgan on a pop-up to Harrelson. Tug then got Driessen to hit a ground ball to Milner. McGraw took the throw from John for the final out of the game. The Mets had a victory to seal the N. L. Championship and were on their way to the World Series.

Notes

  • The Mets outscored the Reds in the Series, 23-8.