September 23, 1969: Harrelson's Single Clinches Division Tie

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Date: September 23, 1969
Mets starter: Jim McAndrew
Mets: 3
Cardinals: 2
Winning pitcher: Tug McGraw
Key player(s): Bud Harrelson, Art Shamsky, Tug McGraw
Key play: Shamsky’s single in 8th, Harrelson’s single in 11th

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. Following the Cubs’ loss to the Expos earlier in the day, the Mets had a chance to assure themselves of a tie for the National League East Division title. Bud Harrelson’s run-scoring single in the 11th inning gave the Mets a tie-clinching 3-2 victory over St. Louis.

Jim McAndrew and the Cards’ Bob Gibson each pitched two scoreless innings to start the game. In the third, McAndrew shut down the Redbirds and a walk to Harrelson opened the bottom half. Gibson struck out McAndrew and retired Tommie Agee on a ground ball to third baseman Mike Shannon that advanced Harrelson to second. Wayne Garrett singled to drive home Harrelson for a 1-0 Mets lead. Art Shamsky popped out to shortstop Dal Maxvill to end the inning. McAndrew set down three straight Cardinals batters after a leadoff double by Joe Torre in the top of the fourth. Gibson then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Lou Brock and Curt Flood got back-to-back singles with two outs in the top of the fifth inning. Vada Pinson reached on an error by second baseman Ken Boswell that brought home Brock and sent Flood to third. Torre singled to score Flood and put the Cardinals ahead, 2-1. McAndrew retired Tim McCarver on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Agee. Gibson pitched a perfect bottom half and McAndrew held St. Louis to a double by Julian Javier in the top of the sixth. The Mets were then set down in order by Gibson again in the bottom of the inning.

McAndrew and Gibson each hurled a scoreless seventh. In the top of the eighth, the Redbirds loaded the bases with two outs against Mets’ reliever Tug McGraw. Gibson hit a line drive to right fielder Ron Swoboda for the third out and Agee began the bottom of the inning with a single to right field. Tommie moved to second on Garrett’s sacrifice bunt. Shamsky singled to drive home Agee and tie the game. Boswell popped out to Maxvill and a fly ball by Ed Kranepool was caught by center fielder Flood to end the inning. McGraw retired the Cards 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth. Gibson then pitched a scoreless bottom half to send the game onward.

After a scoreless 10th inning, McGraw set down all three St. Louis hitters in the top of the 11th. With one out in the bottom half, Swoboda and Jerry Grote got back-to-back singles off Gibson. Harrelson then delivered a single to left field that plated Swoboda and ended the game. The Mets had locked up a tie for the N. L. East Division crown.