September 2, 1979: Mets End Nine-Game Losing Streak

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Date: September 2, 1979
Mets starter: Kevin Kobel
Mets: 5
Astros: 4
Winning pitcher: Kevin Kobel
Key player(s): John Stearns, Frank Taveras, Lee Mazzilli, Richie Hebner
Key play: Mets’ singles in 3rd, Hebner’s RBI force play, Stearns’ double

The Mets faced the Astros on a Sunday afternoon in Houston. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. The Mets broke a nine-game skid with a 5-4 win.

Astros’ starter Joaquin Andujar pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. Rafael Landestoy tripled against the Mets’ Kevin Kobel to lead off the bottom half. Craig Reynolds went down on strikes and Jose Cruz hit a sacrifice fly to score Landestoy for a 1-0 Houston lead. Cesar Cedeno flied out to center fielder Lee Mazzilli to end the inning and Andujar retired the side in order in the top of the second. Kobel then yielded just a single to Jeffrey Leonard in the bottom half.

Doug Flynn got a leadoff single in the top of the third. Kobel reached on Andujar’s error and advanced to third base on Frank Taveras’s single that brought home Flynn. John Stearns singled to score Kobel and a single by Mazzilli plated Taveras for a 3-1 Mets lead. Richie Hebner was retired on a pop-up to shortstop Reynolds. Andujar got Joel Youngblood on a force play ground ball back to the mound and retired Ed Kranepool on a grounder to second baseman Landestoy to close out the inning. Kobel then set down the side in order in the bottom half.

After a scoreless fourth, Andujar surrendered only a walk to Hebner in the top of the fifth. Denny Walling doubled to lead off the bottom of the inning. Bruce Bochy drew a walk and moved to third base on pinch-hitter Jesus Alou’s single that drove home Walling. Landestoy followed with a ground ball on which Bochy got caught between bases and was tagged out by third baseman Hebner. Reynolds hit a force play grounder to second baseman Flynn on which shortstop Taveras made an error that allowed Alou to score, tying the game at 3-3. Kobel then got Cruz to ground out to Flynn and finish off the inning.

Astros’ reliever Randy Niemann hurled a perfect top of the sixth. With one out in the bottom half, Enos Cabell doubled and Leonard was given an intentional walk. Kobel got pinch-hitter Alan Knicely to hit a ground ball to Hebner for an inning-ending double play and pinch-hitter Elliott Maddox singled to open the top of the seventh. Maddox advanced to second base on Taveras’s sacrifice bunt and scored the go-ahead run on a double by Stearns. Mazzilli reached on right fielder Leonard’s error and Hebner followed with a force play grounder to Reynolds that plated Stearns for a 5-3 Mets lead. Niemann then got Youngblood on a force play ground ball to third baseman Cabell for the inning’s final out.

Bochy drew a walk against Mets’ reliever Andy Hassler to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Jimmy Sexton lined out to left fielder Youngblood and a walk to Landestoy ensued. Reynolds was retired on a pop-up to Hebner. Cruz hit a single on which Youngblood threw to catcher Ron Hodges for an out at home on Bochy that ended the inning. Houston’s Pete Ladd retired the side in order in the top of the eighth. Hassler then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Ladd surrendered just a walk to Maddox in the top of the ninth. Terry Puhl singled against Hassler to open the bottom of the inning. Pinch-hitter Julio Gonzalez hit a single and Mets’ reliever Neil Allen got pinch-hitter Danny Heep to ground out to first baseman Kranepool. Landestoy grounded out to Hebner to bring home Puhl with the Astros’ fourth run. Allen then retired Reynolds on a fly ball to Mazzilli for the final out of the game. The Mets had a victory to bring their losing streak to a halt.