September 10, 1978: Mets Complete Sweep of Bucs

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Date: September 10, 1978
Mets starter: Jerry Koosman
Mets: 11
Pirates: 9
Winning pitcher: Dwight Bernard
Key player(s): Elliott Maddox, Dan Norman
Key play: Norman’s home run in 3rd, Maddox’s single in 8th, Pirates’ errors

The Mets and Pirates faced each other on a Sunday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams combined for twenty-eight hits in the finale of a three-game series. The Mets came away with an 11-9 win over Pittsburgh to complete a series sweep.

Frank Taveras singled to lead off the top of the first inning. A wild pitch by Mets’ starter Jerry Koosman allowed Taveras to advance to second base. Koosman hit Omar Moreno and Dave Parker with pitches to load the bases for the Bucs. Bill Robinson hit a single to score Taveras with the first run of the game. Phil Garner went down on strikes and Manny Sanguillen hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Moreno. Koosman then got Dale Berra on a force play ground ball to second baseman Joel Youngblood to end the inning.

Pirates’ starter Jerry Reuss issued a walk to Gil Flores to open the bottom of the first. Elliott Maddox doubled to bring home Flores and came around to score on an ensuing double by Steve Henderson. An error by second baseman Garner allowed Willie Montanez to reach base and Henderson to score the Mets’ third run. On the same play, Montanez came all the way home on another error by Garner for a 4-2 Mets lead. John Stearns fouled out to left fielder Robinson and a single by Dan Norman ensued. Youngblood was retired on a grounder to third baseman Berra. Reuss then got Doug Flynn on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Moreno.

Following a scoreless second inning, Koosman shut down the Bucs in the top of the third. Montanez hit a double with one out in the bottom half. Stearns was called out on strikes and Norman homered to increase the New York lead to 6-2. Reuss got Youngblood to fly out to Moreno (ending the inning) and Berra led off the top of the fourth with an infield single. Duffy Dyer followed with a single on which Berra moved to third base. Koosman struck out pinch-hitter Ken Macha and gave up a single to Taveras that plated Berra. Moreno grounded out to Youngblood to put Pittsburgh runners on second and third. A single by Parker scored Dyer and Taveras to reduce the Mets’ lead to 6-5. Robinson flied out to left fielder Henderson to finish off the inning. Pirates’ reliever Ed Whitson then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

The Bucs were held without a run despite singles by Berra and Dyer in the top of the fifth. Pittsburgh’s Odell Jones hurled a perfect bottom of the inning. Koosman set down the Pirates 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth and Flynn hit a two-out double in the bottom half. Koosman reached on an error by Berra that brought home Flynn with the Mets’ seventh run of the game. Jones then retired Flores on a fly ball to Moreno that closed out the inning.

Garner and Sanguillen got back-to-back singles with one out in the top of the seventh. Dale Murray came in to pitch for the Mets and yielded a three-run homer to pinch-hitter John Milner that put the Bucs ahead, 8-7. Dyer grounded out to third baseman Maddox and a pinch-hit single by Ed Ott followed. Taveras singled with pinch-runner Matt Alexander advancing to third base on an error by center fielder Flores. Murray then retired Moreno on an inning-ending fly ball to Flores.

With Kent Tekulve on the mound for Pittsburgh, Maddox reached on an error by third baseman Mario Mendoza (who had just entered the game) to begin the bottom of the seventh. Henderson grounded out to Mendoza and a walk to Montanez ensued. Stearns singled to drive home Maddox with the tying run. Pinch-hitter Lee Mazzilli got an infield single to load the bases. Tim Foli’s ground out to Mendoza scored Montanez from third base and gave the Mets a 9-8 lead. Tekulve then retired Flynn on a ground ball to Mendoza that ended the inning.

Parker and Robinson got consecutive singles against Murray to open the top of the eighth. Mets’ reliever Dwight Bernard got Garner to foul out to first baseman Montanez. Willie Stargell hit a single to score Parker and tie the game. Trying to advance on the hit, Stargell was out via a throw by Henderson to second baseman Sergio Ferrer. Pinch-hitter Rennie Stennett was given an intentional walk. Bernard then got Dyer to ground out to shortstop Flynn and end the inning.

Pinch-hitter Lenny Randle singled to lead off the bottom of the eighth. Flores reached on an error by first baseman Stargell (the Pirates’ fifth of the game) that allowed Randle to go to third. Maddox singled to bring home Randle and give the Mets a 10-9 lead. Henderson grounded out to third baseman Robinson (who had shifted from left field) and an intentional walk to Montanez loaded the bases. Stearns grounded out to shortstop Taveras to drive home Flores with the eleventh New York run. Tekulve then retired Mazzilli on an inning-ending ground ball to Garner.

Mets’ reliever Mardie Cornejo got pinch-hitter Doe Boyland on a fly ball to Henderson to start the top of the ninth inning. Taveras singled and Moreno hit a force play grounder to Ferrer. Parker kept the Pirates’ chances alive with a single for the game’s twenty-eighth hit. Cornejo then got Robinson to hit a ground ball to Maddox for a force play that finished off the game. The Mets had a sweep of the three-game series, dropping the second-place Bucs to four games behind the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East.