September 20, 1968: Grote's Single in 9th Downs Phils

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Date: September 20, 1968
Mets starter: Tom Seaver
Mets: 3
Phillies: 2
Winning pitcher: Tom Seaver
Key player(s): Tom Seaver, Phil Linz, Jerry Grote
Key play: Linz’s double in 6th, Grote’s single in 9th

The Mets and Phillies faced each other in a doubleheader on a Friday evening. The teams opened the twinbill at Connie Mack Stadium with a two-hour and thirteen-minute game. Jerry Grote singled in the ninth inning to drive home the winning run for a 3-2 Mets victory over Philadelphia.

Tommie Agee got an infield single against Phils’ starter Woodie Fryman to lead off the top of the first inning. Phil Linz singled to advance Agee to third base and Cleon Jones went down on strikes. Ed Charles followed with a force play ground ball to second baseman Cookie Rojas to bring home Agee with the first run of the game. With Ron Swoboda at bat, Charles was caught stealing on a throw by catcher Mike Ryan to Rojas for the third out. Mets’ starter Tom Seaver then set down the side in order in the bottom half.

After scoreless second and third innings, Fryman pitched a perfect top of the fourth. Roberto Pena drew a one-out walk in the bottom half. Tony Gonzalez hit a double that scored Pena and tied the game at 1-1. Seaver struck out Dick Allen and got Johnny Briggs on an inning-ending pop-up to shortstop Al Weis. Fryman shut down the Mets in the top of the fifth and Rojas singled with one out in the bottom of the inning. An ensuing double by Ryan sent Rojas to third base. Fryman followed with a grounder on which first baseman Ed Kranepool threw to third baseman Charles for an out on Rojas. Seaver then retired Tony Taylor on a foul pop-up to Kranepool that closed out the inning.

To begin the top of the sixth, Seaver singled and moved to second base on Agee’s ground out to Fryman. Linz hit a double to score Seaver and put the Mets ahead by a run. Jones grounded out to Rojas and a line drive by Charles was caught by third baseman Taylor to end the inning. Seaver held the Phillies to a double by Gonzalez in the bottom half and Fryman recorded his ninth and tenth strikeouts of the game in a perfect top of the seventh. Seaver then set down all three Philadelphia batters in the bottom of the inning.

Fryman hurled a scoreless top of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Doug Clemens singled to lead off the bottom half. Clemens went to second base on Taylor’s sacrifice bunt and to third on Pena’s ground out to second baseman Linz. Gonzalez hit a single to score Clemens with the tying run and Allen singled to right field. Seaver then got Briggs to ground out to Linz and finish off the inning.

Jones began the top of the ninth with a single against Phils’ reliever Gary Wagner. Cleon advanced to second base on Charles’ sacrifice bunt and went to third on pinch-hitter Larry Stahl’s ground out to first baseman Bill White. An infield single by Grote brought home Jones to regain a one-run lead for the Mets. Wagner then fanned pinch-hitter Art Shamsky for the inning’s final out.

White hit a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth. Rojas flied out to right fielder Stahl and pinch-hitter Johnny Callison grounded out to Linz. Seaver then retired pinch-hitter Clay Dalrymple on a ground ball to shortstop Bud Harrelson to end the game. The Mets had a win to open the twi-night doubleheader.

Notes

  • Linz's run-scoring double was the final hit of his major league career.