September 17, 1968: McAndrew Two-Hits Cubs, Swoboda Steals Home

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Date: September 17, 1968
Mets starter: Jim McAndrew
Mets: 3
Cubs: 2
Winning pitcher: Jim McAndrew
Key player(s): Jim McAndrew, Ed Charles, Ron Swoboda
Key play: Charles’ home run, Swoboda’s steal of home

The Mets and Cubs faced each other on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams began a two-game series with a two-hour and 14-minute game. On Jim McAndrew’s two-hitter and Ron Swoboda’s steal of home, the Mets emerged with a 3-2 win over Chicago.

McAndrew shut down the Cubs without a hit over the first three innings. Jim recorded four strikeouts and suffered only a first-inning walk to Glenn Beckert. In the bottom of the first, Tommie Agee drew a walk and went to third base on a single by Ken Boswell. With Cleon Jones at bat, Agee scored while Boswell was caught stealing. Jones grounded out and Ed Charles followed with a solo home run. Chicago starter Ken Holtzman then retired Swoboda on a grounder to second baseman Beckert and set down the Mets in order in the second and third innings.

In the top of the fourth, McAndrew walked Billy Williams with one out. Jim retired Ernie Banks on a foul pop-up and issued a walk to Ron Santo. An ensuing double by Willie Smith (the Cubs’ first hit) scored Williams and Santo to tie the game at 2-2. McAndrew then got Randy Hundley on a fly ball to left fielder Jones to end the inning.

Holtzman struck out Charles to begin the bottom of the fourth. Swoboda drew a walk and went to third on Jerry Grote’s single. On Holtzman’s strikeout of Ed Kranepool, the Mets pulled off a double steal with Grote taking second and Swoboda scoring the go-ahead run. Chicago catcher Hundley was ejected after arguing the call at home and was replaced by Randy Bobb. After walking Bud Harrelson intentionally, Holtzman retired McAndrew on a grounder back to the mound for the third out.

McAndrew set down the Cubs 1-2-3 in the fifth and sixth innings. In the top of the seventh, he retired three straight batters after a leadoff walk to Santo. Holtzman gave up a single to Boswell and a walk to Harrelson in a scoreless fifth and followed up with three consecutive ground outs in the sixth. The Mets were then retired in order again by Holtzman in the bottom of the seventh.

Pinch-hitting for Holtzman, Al Spangler singled to lead off the top of the eighth inning. A sacrifice bunt by Don Kessinger advanced pinch-runner Jose Arcia to second base. McAndrew retired Beckert on a ground ball to third baseman Charles and ended the inning by getting Williams to fly out to right fielder Swoboda. Cubs’ reliever Phil Regan then shut down the Mets in the bottom of the inning.

In the top of the ninth, McAndrew retired Banks and Santo on ground balls to Charles. He hit Smith with a pitch and Clarence Jones came up to pinch-hit for Bobb. Jim struck out Jones to end the game. The Mets had a victory on McAndrew’s two-hit pitching and Swoboda’s stealing home.