October 6, 1969: Game Three of NLCS

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Date: October 6, 1969
Mets starter: Gary Gentry
Mets: 7
Braves: 4
Winning pitcher: Nolan Ryan
Key player(s): Nolan Ryan, Ken Boswell, Wayne Garrett
Key play: Ryan's strikeout of Rico Carty in 3rd, Garrett's home run in 5th

The Mets faced the Braves in the third game of the National League Championship Series on a Monday afternoon. It was the first post-season game ever played at Shea Stadium. The Mets came from behind for a 7-4 win over Atlanta and a sweep of the best-of-five series to clinch their first pennant.

Tony Gonzalez singled off Mets’ starter Gary Gentry with one out in the top of the first inning. Hank Aaron followed with a home run to give the Braves a 2-0 lead. Rico Carty grounded out to shortstop Bud Harrelson and a double by Orlando Cepeda ensued. Clete Boyer grounded out to third baseman Wayne Garrett to end the inning. Atlanta starter Pat Jarvis pitched a scoreless bottom half. Gentry shut down the Braves in the top of the second and Ken Boswell led off the bottom of the inning with a single to left field. Jarvis then retired the next three Mets batters to close out the frame.

Gonzalez singled to open the top of the third inning. Aaron hit a double and Gentry was replaced on the mound by Nolan Ryan. The Mets’ reliever struck out Carty and issued an intentional walk to Cepeda to load the bases. Boyer was called out on strikes and Bob Didier flied out to left fielder Cleon Jones for the third out. With one out in the bottom half, Tommie Agee homered for the Mets’ first run of the game. Jarvis threw a called third strike past Garrett and fanned Jones to end the inning. Ryan then set down all three Atlanta hitters in the top of the fourth.

Art Shamsky got a single to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning. Boswell hit a two-run homer to put the Mets ahead, 3-2. Kranepool doubled to right field, but was out at third base on a relay throw by second baseman Felix Millan to third baseman Boyer. Jarvis struck out Jerry Grote and got Harrelson on a ground ball back to the mound for the third out. Carty drew a two-out walk in the top of the fifth. Cepeda homered to regain a one-run lead for the Braves. Ryan then retired Boyer on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Agee.

Ryan singled to begin the bottom of the fifth inning. Jarvis retired Agee on a line drive to left fielder Carty. Garrett followed with a two-run homer to give the Mets a 5-4 lead. Jones hit a double and advanced to third base on Shamsky’s ground out against Atlanta reliever George Stone. Boswell singled to drive home Jones with the Mets sixth run. Kranepool hit a line drive to first baseman Cepeda for the final out of the inning. The Braves were then set down in order by Ryan in the top of the sixth.

Grote hit a double off Stone to start the bottom of the sixth inning. Harrelson’s sacrifice bunt moved Grote to third base and Atlanta’s Cecil Upshaw retired Ryan on a grounder to Boyer. Agee singled to drive home Grote with the Mets’ seventh run of the game. Garrett fouled out to catcher Didier to end the inning. Ryan hurled a perfect top of the seventh and Upshaw shut down the Mets in the bottom half. Carty singled to open the top of the eighth. Ryan threw called third strikes past Cepeda and Boyer before yielding a single to pinch-hitter Mike Lum. Nolan retired pinch-hitter Felipe Alou on an inning-ending line drive to Harrelson and singled with two outs in the bottom half. Upshaw then fanned Agee for the third out.

Ryan got pinch-hitter Bob Aspromonte on a fly ball to Agee to start the top of the ninth. Millan hit a ground ball to Harrelson for the second out of the inning. Gonzalez then grounded out to Garrett to end the game and series. The Mets had a three-game sweep for the National League championship and were headed for their first ever World Series.

Notes

  • The Mets' starting battery of pitcher Gentry and catcher Grote both celebrated birthdays on this day.