September 14, 1977: Espinosa Shuts Out Phillies

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Date: September 14, 1977
Mets starter: Nino Espinosa
Mets: 1
Phillies: 0
Winning pitcher: Nino Espinosa
Key player(s): Nino Espinosa, Luis Rosado
Key play: Espinosa’s single in 5th

The Mets faced the Phillies on a Wednesday night in Philadelphia. Nino Espinosa pitched against Phils’ ace Steve Carlton in the opener of a two-game series. Espinosa threw a three-hit shutout and drove in the game’s only run for a 1-0 Mets win.

Carlton shut down the Mets in the top of the first inning. In the bottom half, Bake McBride led off with a double and Larry Bowa flied out to center fielder Lee Mazzilli. Espinosa struck out Mike Schmidt and issued walks to Greg Luzinski and Richie Hebner to load the bases. Garry Maddox grounded out to second baseman Leo Foster to end the inning. Carlton and Espinosa then retired the side in order in each half of the second.

The Mets failed to score against Carlton in the top of the third inning. McBride opened the bottom half with a single to center field. Espinosa caught McBride with a pickoff throw to first baseman Luis Rosado and retired Bowa on a fly ball to right fielder Mike Vail. Schmidt drew a walk and was caught stealing second base on a throw by catcher John Stearns to Foster. Carlton pitched a perfect top of the fourth. Espinosa then held the Phillies to a single by Hebner in a scoreless bottom of the inning.

Rosado singled for his first major league hit to lead off the top of the fifth. Luis moved to second on first baseman Hebner’s error on a pickoff attempt. Carlton fanned Foster and got Doug Flynn to ground out to shortstop Bowa. Espinosa hit a single to center field that brought home Rosado. Lenny Randle walked and Mazzilli lined out to third baseman Schmidt to close out the inning. Nino then set down the Phils 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Steve Henderson drew a walk to begin the top of the sixth inning. Carlton picked off Henderson and issued a walk to Vail. Stearns singled to left field and Rosado hit a ground ball to Bowa for an inning-ending double play. Espinosa pitched a perfect bottom half. Foster doubled to start off the top of the seventh and Carlton retired the next three Mets batters. Nino then set down the Phillies in order again in the bottom of the inning.

Carlton and Espinosa each hurled a perfect eighth. In the top of the ninth, Philadelphia reliever Tug McGraw retired the side in order. Bowa popped out to shortstop Flynn to open the bottom half. Schmidt hit a foul pop-up that was caught by Stearns. Espinosa then got Luzinski on a fly ball to right fielder Joel Youngblood (who had replaced Vail in the eighth) for his seventeenth consecutive batter retired and the final out of the game. The Mets had a victory over the National League East Division leaders.

Notes

  • Rosado’s run scored was the only one of his major league career.