September 15, 1969: Swoboda's 2 Home Runs Off Carlton
|Date: September 15, 1969|
|Mets starter: Gary Gentry|
|Winning pitcher: Tug McGraw|
|Key player(s): Ron Swoboda|
|Key play: Swoboda's two home runs|
The Mets had a three and one-half game lead in the National League East as they started a series in St. Louis. Cardinals' starter Steve Carlton dominated the Mets by recording 19 strikeouts. Still, the Mets came out with a 4-3 win on the strength of two home runs by Ron Swoboda.
In the third inning, Gary Gentry walked Lou Brock with one out. Curt Flood then got a single into left-center field. Brock tried to score from first base on the hit, but was out at the plate on Tommie Agee's throw to catcher Jerry Grote. Flood advanced to second on the throw and scored on Vada Pinson's single.
Carlton had seven strikeouts over the first three innings. To start the fourth, he walked Donn Clendenon and Swoboda hit a home run to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. Carlton then struck out three of the next four batters to raise his total for the game to ten.
Carlton added three more strikeouts in the fifth and sixth innings. Meanwhile, the Cards reclaimed the lead on run-scoring singles by Flood and Joe Torre off Gentry in the bottom of the fifth. The Mets had a chance to score in the seventh when pinch-hitter Bobby Pfeil got a two-out single and pinch-runner Jim Gosger moved to second on a wild pitch. Carlton then walked Bud Harrelson, but struck out Amos Otis to end the inning.
In the top of the eighth, Agee led off with a single before Carlton got Clendenon for his 15th strikeout. Swoboda followed with his second two-run homer of the game to put the Mets back in front. Carlton finished the inning by striking out Al Weis and then retired the Mets in order with three strikeouts in the ninth.
The Cardinals got two runners on base with one out against Tug McGraw in the bottom of the ninth. McGraw then got Flood to fly out to Agee in center field and Pinson to ground out to shortstop Harrelson, ending the game. Despite the outstanding performance of Carlton, the Mets came away with a victory on Swoboda's two homers.