September 24, 1976: Baldwin's Homer Wins It in 9th
|Date: September 24, 1976|
|Mets starter: Tom Seaver|
|Winning pitcher: Skip Lockwood|
|Key player(s): Ed Kranepool, Dave Kingman, Billy Baldwin|
|Key play: Kranepool's homer, Kingman's RBI single, Baldwin's homer|
The Mets and Cubs faced each other on a Friday night at Shea Stadium. The Mets' final homestand of the year began with a two-hour and 27-minute game. The result was a 4-3 Mets win on a home run by Billy Baldwin in the bottom of the ninth inning.
After a scoreless first, the Mets took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Dave Kingman and Bruce Boisclair led off with singles and Chicago starter Ray Burris retired the next two hitters on shallow fly balls to right fielder Larry Biittner. After walking Bud Harrelson intentionally, Burris threw a wild pitch that allowed Kingman to score. Tom Seaver then flied out to Biittner to end the inning.
The Cubs put two runners on base against Seaver in the top of the third inning. With one out, Rick Monday singled and went to third on a double by Pete LaCock. Biittner was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jerry Morales followed with a single off Seaver to bring home Monday and LaCock for a 2-1 Chicago lead. The Mets then tied the game on a home run by Ed Kranepool in the bottom of the inning.
Seaver and Burris each pitched a scoreless fourth inning. In the fifth, Tom struck out the first two batters and gave up a single to LaCock. Biittner followed with a run-scoring triple to reclaim the lead for the Cubs. The Mets were then shut down by Burris in the bottom half.
In the sixth and seventh innings, Seaver allowed singles to George Mitterwald and LaCock, but no Chicago runs. Meanwhile, Burris surrendered a double to Boisclair and walked Roy Staiger, but gave up nothing else to the Mets. Reliever Bob Apodaca then shut down the Cubs in the top of the eighth inning.
Felix Millan doubled and moved to third on Kranepool's single to begin the bottom of the eighth inning for the Mets. Burris was relieved by Joe Coleman, off whom Kingman singled to score Millan with the tying run. With two runners on base and one out, Coleman retired the next two batters to end the inning. The Cubs then got two runners on base against Apodaca in the ninth before Skip Lockwood came in and got Biittner for an inning-ending ground out.
Coleman retired Harrelson to start the bottom of the ninth inning. Baldwin came up to pinch-hit for Lockwood. Billy clouted a home run to win the game for the Mets. It was a thrilling victory for the home team.