September 13, 1983: Fitzgerald Homers in First At Bat

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Date: September 13, 1983
Mets starter: Walt Terrell
Mets: 5
Phillies: 1
Winning pitcher: Walt Terrell
Key player(s): Walt Terrell, Mike Fitzgerald, Darryl Strawberry
Key play: Fitzgerald’s home run, Strawberry’s three hits

The Mets faced the Phillies on a Tuesday night in Philadelphia. The teams played the latter half of a two-game series at Veterans Stadium. Mike Fitzgerald hit a home run in his first major league at bat in a 5-1 Mets win over the Phils.

Keith Hernandez drew a two-out walk against Phillies’ starter Tony Ghelfi in the top of the first inning. George Foster also walked and Darryl Strawberry hit a single that drove home Hernandez. Ghelfi retired Clint Hurdle on a ground ball to second baseman Joe Morgan to end the inning and the Mets’ Walt Terrell pitched a perfect bottom half. With one out in the top of the second, Fitzgerald homered in his inaugural plate appearance as a major leaguer to extend the Mets’ lead to 2-0. Ghelfi then struck out Terrell and got Mookie Wilson on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Greg Gross.

In the bottom of the second, Von Hayes got a one-out single to left field. Hayes advanced to second base on Gross’s grounder back to Terrell and a single by Bo Diaz ensued. On Diaz’s hit, Hayes was out at home via a throw by shortstop Bob Bailor to catcher Fitzgerald for the final out of the inning. Ghelfi set down the Mets in order in the top of the third. Terrell then held the Phils to a single by Morgan in a scoreless bottom half.

Strawberry homered for the Mets’ third run to lead off the top of the fourth. Ghelfi retired the next three batters on infield ground balls and Mike Schmidt drew a walk to begin the bottom of the inning. Joe Lefebvre hit a grounder to third baseman Hurdle for a double play and Hayes followed with a double to left field. Gross reached on an error by Bailor that sent Hayes to third base. Diaz flied out to left fielder Foster to end the inning and Ghelfi set down the Mets 1-2-3 in the top of the fifth. Terrell then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Hernandez tripled against Philadelphia reliever Tug McGraw to open the top of the sixth inning. Foster went down on strikes and Strawberry hit a double to score Hernandez. Pinch-hitter Dave Kingman was given an intentional walk. With Bailor at the plate, Strawberry and pinch-runner Jose Oquendo pulled off a double steal. Bailor was walked intentionally to load the bases and Fitzgerald grounded out to Morgan to drive home Strawberry for a 5-0 Mets lead. McGraw retired Terrell on an inning-ending grounder to Morgan. Walt then set down all three Phillies hitters in the bottom half.

McGraw pitched a scoreless top of the seventh inning. In the bottom half, Gross got a leadoff double and Diaz followed with a ground out to shortstop Oquendo. Gross moved to third base on Ivan DeJesus’s fly out to right fielder Strawberry. Pinch-hitter Len Matuszek reached on an error by Oquendo that brought home Gross. Terrell got Morgan on a foul pop-up to third baseman Hubie Brooks to end the inning and Phils’ reliever Larry Andersen pitched a perfect top of the eighth. Walt then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Andersen retired the side in order in the top of the ninth. Gross flied out to Foster to start the bottom of the inning. Diaz was retired on a fly ball to center fielder Wilson. Terrell then got DeJesus on a ground ball to second baseman Bailor (who had shifted from shortstop three innings earlier) for the game’s final out. The Mets had a victory on Walt’s complete game that included a homer by Fitzgerald in his initial big league at bat.