September 27, 1977: Mazzilli and Henderson Lead Mets Past Bucs

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Date: September 27, 1977
Mets starter: Nino Espinosa
Mets: 7
Pirates: 1
Winning pitcher: Nino Espinosa
Key player(s): Nino Espinosa, Lee Mazzilli, Steve Henderson, Bruce Boisclair
Key play: Mazzilli’s two doubles, Henderson’s double and home run

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Lee Mazzilli and Steve Henderson combined for five RBIs in a 7-1 Mets win over the Bucs.

Mazzilli singled against Pirates’ starter Bruce Kison with one out in the top of the first inning. Bruce Boisclair followed with a force play ground ball to third baseman Ken Macha and stole second. Henderson hit a double to drive home Boisclair for a 1-0 Mets lead. Kison retired John Milner on a fly ball to center fielder Omar Moreno for the third out. Nino Espinosa than shut down the Bucs in the bottom of the inning.

Kison hurled a perfect top of the second. Bill Robinson singled to lead off the bottom half. Al Oliver reached on an error by second baseman Joel Youngblood and single by Ed Ott plated Robinson to tie the game. With Macha at bat, Espinosa caught Oliver with a pickoff throw to shortstop Doug Flynn. Ott stole second and Macha went down on strikes. Espinosa then retired Moreno on a pop-up to Flynn that ended the inning.

Lenny Randle drew a one-out walk in the top of the third. Mazzilli doubled to score Randle and came home on a single by Boisclair. Henderson flied out to right fielder Dave Parker and a single by Milner ensued. John Stearns walked to load the bases and Kison got Youngblood on an inning-ending force play grounder to Macha. With two outs in the bottom half, Phil Garner drew a walk and advanced to third on Parker’s single to right field. Espinosa then retired Robinson on a pop-up to Flynn to close out the inning.

Flynn singled against Kison to begin the top of the fourth. Doug moved to second base on Espinosa’s sacrifice bunt and Randle drew a walk. Mazzilli doubled to bring home Flynn and send Randle to third. Lenny scored on Boisclair’s ground out to second baseman Garner for a 5-1 Mets lead. Henderson slugged a homer for the sixth and seventh New York runs of the game. Milner and Stearns drew back-to-back walks against Pittsburgh reliever Ed Whitson, who followed up by throwing a called third strike past Youngblood to finish off the inning. Espinosa then set down the Pirates in order in the bottom half.

Espinosa and Randle got consecutive singles with one out in the top of the fifth. Whitson retired the next two batters to close out the inning and Nino retired the Bucs 1-2-3 in the bottom half. Pirates’ reliever Dave Pagan struck out the side in order in the top of the sixth and Espinosa set down all three hitters in the bottom of the inning. Pagan pitched a perfect top of the seventh and Macha singled with two outs in the bottom half. Moreno fouled out to third baseman Randle to end the inning and Pagan gave up just a single to Mazzilli in the top of the eighth. Espinosa then retired the Bucs in order in the bottom of the inning.

The Mets failed to score after loading the bases against Pittsburgh’s Timothy Jones in the top of the ninth. Mike Easler flied out to right fielder Dan Norman to begin the bottom half. Dale Berra was retired on a fly ball to center fielder Mazzilli. Espinosa then got Fernando Gonzalez to ground out to third baseman Roy Staiger and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a victory to start the season’s final week.