September 21, 1981: Mets Win on Wild Pitch in 13th

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Date: September 21, 1981
Mets starter: Greg Harris
Mets: 4
Pirates: 3
Winning pitcher: Dan Boitano
Key player(s): Lee Mazzilli, Ellis Valentine
Key play: Mazzilli’s run-scoring singles, Valentine’s single, Lee’s wild pitch

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Monday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the first half of a two-game series. On a wild pitch in the 13th inning, the Mets came away with a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh.

Mets’ starter Greg Harris retired the Bucs on three outfield flies in the top of the first inning. Mookie Wilson doubled off the Bucs’ Luis Tiant to begin the bottom half. An ensuing single by Lee Mazzilli scored Wilson for a 1-0 Mets lead. Hubie Brooks popped out to catcher Tony Pena and a double play grounder by Dave Kingman ended the inning. Leading off the top of the second, Jason Thompson homered to tie the game. Harris got Mike Easler on a fly ball to center fielder Wilson and recorded strikeouts of Pena and Dale Berra. Tiant then set down the Mets in order in the bottom of the inning.

Following a scoreless third, Harris shut down the Pirates in the top of the fourth. Brooks and Kingman got back-to-back singles with one out in the bottom half. Ellis Valentine singled to drive home Brooks and put the Mets ahead, 2-1. John Stearns flied out and Valentine was doubled up on center fielder Omar Moreno’s throw to second baseman Johnny Ray to end the inning. Harris and Tiant then pitched scoreless ball from the fifth inning to the seventh.

Harris held Pittsburgh to a double by Moreno in a scoreless top of the eighth inning. Doug Flynn doubled off Bucs’ reliever Rod Scurry to start the bottom half. Frank Taveras grounded out to third baseman Berra and a single by Harris moved Flynn to third. Scurry fanned Wilson for the second out of the inning. Mazzilli singled to center field to plate Flynn for the Mets’ third run. Pirates’ reliever Kent Tekulve then got Brooks on a force play grounder to Ray for the third out.

Dave Parker singled off Harris to open the top of the ninth inning. Thompson singled off Mets’ reliever Neil Allen and a single by Easler brought home pinch-runner Bill Madlock. Pena’s sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third and an intentional walk to pinch-hitter Willie Stargell loaded the bases. Ray hit a sacrifice fly to drive home pinch-runner Matt Alexander and tie the game at 3-3. Allen struck out pinch-hitter Kurt Bevaqua to end the inning. The Mets loaded the bases with two outs against Pittsburgh’s Don Robinson in the bottom half. Pinch-hitter Ron Hodges then flied out to Moreno to send the game onward.

In the top of the 10th inning, Mets’ reliever Mike Marshall retired the side in order. Robinson pitched a scoreless bottom half and Marshall set down the Pirates 1-2-3 again in the top of the 11th. The Mets failed to score against Robinson in the bottom of the inning and the Bucs loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the 12th. Terry Leach came in to pitch for the Mets and retired Lee Lacy on an inning-ending fly ball to right fielder Valentine. Pittsburgh’s Mark Lee then shut down the Mets in the bottom half.

Mets’ reliever Dan Boitano pitched a scoreless top of the 13th inning. With one out in the bottom half, Stearns drew a walk and advanced to third base on Gardenhire’s single to right field. With Brian Giles at bat, Lee threw a wild pitch that allowed Stearns to score the winning run. The Mets had an extra-inning triumph for their fourth consecutive victory.