October 4, 1981: Mets Beat Expos to End Season

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Date: October 4, 1981
Mets starter: Pete Falcone
Mets: 2
Expos: 1
Winning pitcher: Pete Falcone
Key player(s): Pete Falcone, Rusty Staub, Mike Howard, Ron Gardenhire
Key play: Staub’s double, Gardenhire’s single

The Mets faced the Expos on a Sunday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played the final game of the strike-shortened regular season. The Mets closed out the year with a 2-1 win over the second-half East Division champion Montreal team.

Jerry White and Terry Francona got back-to-back singles to begin the top of the first inning. Gary Carter flied out to left fielder Bob Bailor and a strikeout of John Milner ensued. Mets’ starter Pete Falcone got Tim Wallach on a force play ground ball to shortstop Brian Giles that ended the inning and the Expos’ Bill Gullickson pitched a perfect bottom half. Falcone then retired the side in order in the top of the second.

Leading off the bottom of the second inning, Ellis Valentine singled and advanced to second base on an error by third baseman Wallach. Rusty Staub hit a double to drive home Valentine for a 1-0 Mets lead. Alex Trevino was retired on a grounder to Wallach. Bailor was struck out and Giles flied out to right fielder White to end the inning. Falcone yielded only a single to Francona in the top of the third and singled against Montreal reliever Ray Burris to begin the bottom half. With Mike Howard at bat, Falcone was caught by Burris’s pickoff throw to shortstop Mike Phillips. Howard was retired on a foul pop-up to catcher Bobby Ramos. Burris then got Doug Flynn to ground out to Phillips and finish off the inning.

Falcone held the Expos to a single by Dave Hostetler in the top of the fourth. Burris hurled a scoreless bottom half and Pete set down all three batters in the top of the fifth. Montreal’s Stan Bahnsen gave up just a single to Bailor in the bottom of the inning and Falcone retired the side 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth. Howard singled against Expos’ reliever Elias Sosa to lead off the bottom half. Mike stole second base and Ron Gardenhire went down on strikes. Hubie Brooks was struck out and Valentine followed with a single. On the hit, Howard was out at home via a throw by Phillips to catcher Tom Wieghaus to end the inning.

Falcone pitched a scoreless top of the seventh. Sosa hurled a perfect bottom half and Pete retired the side in order again in the top of the eighth. Howard drew a two-out walk against Montreal reliever Tom Gorman in the bottom of the inning. Mike stole second base and scored the Mets’ second run on Gardenhire’s single to center field. Gardenhire stole second and Gorman retired Brooks on a ground ball to Phillips that closed out the inning.

Falcone struck out Dan Briggs to start the top of the ninth. Tony Johnson was retired on a grounder to second baseman Gardenhire. Hostetler homered for the Expos’ first run. Falcone then got Wallach to ground out to Giles and end the game. The Mets had a victory to conclude the strike-torn season.