September 1, 1965: Jackson Stifles Astros in DH Opener

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Date: September 1, 1965
Mets starter: Al Jackson
Mets: 4
Astros: 1
Winning pitcher: Al Jackson
Key player(s): Al Jackson, Joe Christopher
Key play: Mets' walks in 1st, Christopher’s triple in 8th

The Mets faced the Astros in a doubleheader on a Wednesday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played a two-hour and twenty-minute opener of the twinbill. Al Jackson pitched a complete game in a 4-1 Mets win over Houston.

Jackson retired the side in order in the top of the first inning. With one out in the bottom half, Roy McMillan drew a walk and advanced to third base on Charley Smith’s single to right field. Astros’ starter Danny Coombs threw a wild pitch that scored McMillan and issued a walk to Ron Swoboda. An ensuing walk to Joe Christopher loaded the bases and Jim Hickman walked to force home Smith. Coombs was then replaced on the mound by Houston reliever Mike Cuellar, who got Ed Kranepool to hit a ground ball to second baseman Joe Morgan for an inning-ending double play.

Jackson and Cuellar each pitched two-hit scoreless ball from the second inning to the fifth. In the top of the sixth, Eddie Kasko led off with a double to left field. Morgan fouled out to catcher Jimmie Schaffer and a single by Jim Wynn moved Kasko to third base. Walt Bond singled to drive home Kasko and reduce the Mets’ lead to 2-1. Jackson got Bob Aspromonte on a grounder to shortstop McMillan for a double play that ended the inning. Cuellar then set down the Mets 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Jackson and the Astros’ Ron Taylor each hurled a scoreless seventh inning. Al yielded only a single to Wynn in the top of the eighth. With two outs in the bottom half, Smith doubled and Swoboda drew a walk. Christopher followed with a triple that drove home Smith and Swoboda. Taylor then struck out Hickman to end the inning.

Aspromonte grounded out to third baseman Smith to open the top of the ninth. Rusty Staub was retired on a grounder to second baseman Ron Hunt. Jackson then struck out Joe Gaines to finish off the game. The Mets had a victory to begin the doubleheader.