October 8, 1973: Game Three of the NLCS

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Date: October 8, 1973
Mets starter: Jerry Koosman
Mets: 9
Reds: 2
Winning pitcher: Jerry Koosman
Key player(s): Rusty Staub, Bud Harrelson
Key play: Staub's two home runs, Harrelson-Rose brawl

The Mets faced the Reds in the third game of the National League Championship Series on a Monday afternoon at Shea Stadium. A crowd of 53,967 looked on as each team aimed for the Series lead. In a game that featured a bench-clearing brawl, the Mets came away with a 9-2 win over Cincinnati.

Mets’ starter Jerry Koosman pitched a perfect top of the first inning. With two outs in the bottom half, Rusty Staub homered off the Reds’ Ross Grimsley to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. Cleon Jones followed with a single to right field and Grimsley fanned John Milner for the third out. Koosman then set down all three Cincinnati batters in the top of the second.

Jerry Grote drew a walk to open the bottom of the second inning. Don Hahn singled and Bud Harrelson lined out to right fielder Andy Kosco. Koosman singled to load the bases and a sacrifice fly by Wayne Garrett drove home Grote from third base. Felix Millan hit a single to score Hahn with the Mets’ third run of the game. Against Reds’ reliever Tom Hall, Staub hit a three-run homer to extend the New York lead to 6-0. Jones then drew a walk and Milner went down on strikes to end the inning.

Denis Menke homered to lead off the top of the third. Darrel Chaney popped out to second baseman Millan and a pinch-hit single by Larry Stahl ensued. Pete Rose singled to left field and Joe Morgan followed with a single to bring home Stahl with the Reds’ second run. Tony Perez flied out to center fielder Hahn to advance Rose from second to third base. Koosman then got Johnny Bench on an inning-ending force play grounder to shortstop Harrelson.

Grote singled off Cincinnati reliever Dave Tomlin to start the bottom of the third inning. Hahn grounded out to shortstop Chaney and a fly ball by Harrelson was caught by center fielder Ed Armbrister. Koosman hit a single to score Grote for a 7-2 Mets lead. Tomlin struck out Garrett to end the inning and Koosman shut down the Reds in the top of the fourth. To begin the bottom of the inning, Millan drew a walk and Staub flied out to Kosco. Jones followed with a double on which Kosco made an error that allowed Millan to come home. Milner singled to score Jones with the ninth New York run. Grote flied out to left fielder Rose and a single by Hahn ensued. Cincinnati’s Roger Nelson then came in to pitch and got Harrelson on a fly ball to Rose for the third out.

Rose singled with one out in the top of the fifth inning. Morgan hit a ground ball on which first baseman Milner threw to Harrelson for an out on Rose at second base. Harrelson threw back to Milner to complete an inning-ending double play. Rose shoved Harrelson to the ground between first and second base. All uniformed personnel from both teams rushed to the scene of the skirmish. As the Rose-Harrelson battle was coming under control, a second fight between Mets’ pitcher Buzz Capra and the Reds’ Pedro Borbon erupted in the outfield. Order was soon restored and Nelson shut down the Mets in the bottom half.

Koosman and Nelson each hurled a scoreless sixth inning. Jerry held Cincinnati to a pinch-hit single by Hal King in the top of the seventh. Borbon entered the game in the bottom half and retired the Mets in order. To begin the top of the eighth, Koosman threw a called third strike past Morgan and retired Perez on a fly ball to Hahn. Bench hit a double to left field and Kosco lined out to third baseman Garrett to end the inning. Borbon then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Koosman struck out Armbrister to start the top of the ninth inning. Menke hit a fly ball to Hahn for the second out. Koosman then got pinch-hitter Phil Gagliano to fly out to Hahn and end the game. The Mets had a two-games-to-one lead in the Series.


  • For the rest of the Series, Rose was booed unmercifully by the Mets' fans. He would continue to be jeered and taunted at Shea Stadium for several more years.