October 11, 1969: Game One of World Series

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Date: October 11, 1969
Mets starter: Tom Seaver
Mets: 1
Orioles: 4
Winning pitcher: Mike Cuellar
Key player(s): Don Buford, Mike Cuellar
Key play: Buford's leadoff home run

The Mets and Orioles began the World Series on a Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. The teams played the first game of the Fall Classic in front of a crowd of 50,429 fans on hand. The O’s took a one-game Series lead with a 4-1 victory over the Mets.

Orioles’ starter Mike Cuellar pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. To begin the bottom half, Don Buford homered off the Mets’ Tom Seaver for the first run of the game. Seaver struck out the next two batters and gave up a single to Boog Powell. Brooks Robinson hit a fly ball to center fielder Tommie Agee for the third out. Cuellar and Seaver each hurled scoreless second and third innings. Donn Clendenon doubled with two outs in the top of the fourth. Cuellar then retired Ron Swoboda on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Paul Blair.

Elrod Hendricks got a two-out single in the bottom of the fourth inning. Davey Johnson drew a walk and a single by Mark Belanger scored Hendricks. Cuellar singled to drive home Johnson and advance Belanger to second base. Buford followed with a double to plate Belanger and extend the Baltimore lead to 4-0. Blair grounded out to third baseman Ed Charles to end the inning. Cuellar set down the Mets in order in the top of the fifth. Seaver then retired all three Orioles batters in the bottom half.

Cuellar and Mets’ reliever Don Cardwell each pitched a scoreless sixth inning. In the top of the seventh, Clendenon led off with a single and Swoboda followed with a walk. Charles flied out to right fielder Frank Robinson and a single by Jerry Grote loaded the bases. Al Weis hit a sacrifice fly to score Clendenon with the Mets’ first run. Pinch-hitter Rod Gaspar was thrown out on a grounder to third baseman Brooks Robinson to finish off the inning. Mets’ reliever Ron Taylor then shut down the O’s in the bottom half.

Cuellar and Taylor each hurled a scoreless eighth inning. Swoboda led off the top of the ninth with an infield single. Cuellar got Charles to fly out to Blair and threw a called third strike past Grote. Weis drew a walk to keep the Mets’ chances alive. Cuellar then retired pinch-hitter Art Shamsky on a ground ball to second baseman Johnson for the final out of the game. The Orioles had the early lead in the Series.