September 10, 1969: Mets Enter First Place

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Date: September 10, 1969
Mets starter: Jim McAndrew
Mets: 3
Expos: 2
Winning pitcher: Ron Taylor
Key player(s): Jim McAndrew, Tommie Agee, Ken Boswell
Key play: Wegener’s balk, Fairey’s double play, Boswell’s single in 12th

Only one-half game behind the division-leading Cubs, the Mets had a doubleheader against the Montreal Expos at Shea Stadium. In the first game, Jim McAndrew and the Expos’ Mike Wegener dueled each other on the mound for eleven innings. The Mets won it on Ken Boswell’s run-scoring single in the twelfth, 3-2. Combined with the Cubs’ loss in Philadelphia, the Mets took over the top spot in the National League East.

The Mets fell behind in the game immediately. Ty Cline led off the first inning with a triple off McAndrew. An error by Bud Harrelson on Gary Sutherland’s ground ball allowed Cline to score, giving Montreal a 1-0 lead. Quickly, the Mets tied it on Art Shamsky’s single to score Tommie Agee in the bottom of the inning.

In the top of the second, the Expos took the lead right back. Mack Jones led off with a triple to right field and advanced to the plate when Donn Clendenon made an errant throw. McAndrew got through the rest of the inning with no further damage. The Mets tied it again in the fifth when Agee came home from third on a balk by Wegener.

Entering the seventh, McAndrew had retired the last 13 Montreal hitters. Ron Fairly ended the string with a leadoff single. A hit batsman and an intentional walk loaded the bases with one out and Jim Fairey coming to bat. McAndrew got Fairey to ground into a double play, stopping the Expos’ scoring threat.

As the game entered the twelfth inning, Ron Taylor came on to pitch for the Mets. Taylor retired the first two hitters before a single by Remy Hermoso. Kevin Collins, pinch-hitting for Wegener, delivered another single to center field. Hermoso tried to score all the way from first on Collins’ hit, but Agee’s throw to catcher Jerry Grote cut him down at the plate for the third out.

The Mets came up in the bottom of the twelfth against Montreal reliever Bill Stoneman. After two out, Cleon Jones singled and moved to second on Stoneman’s walk to Rod Gaspar. Boswell then hit a single to center field, scoring Jones with the winning run to put the Mets at the top of the standings for the first time ever.