September 28, 1975: Lockwood Shuts Door on Phillies

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Date: September 28, 1975
Mets starter: Tom Seaver
Mets: 5
Phillies: 4
Winning pitcher: Tom Seaver
Key player(s): Rusty Staub, Ed Kranepool, Mike Phillips, Skip Lockwood
Key play: Mets’ sacrifice flies, Lockwood’s relief pitching

The Mets faced the Phillies on a Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia. The teams played the finale of the regular season. Skip Lockwood retired all twelve batters he faced for a save in a 5-4 Mets win.

Felix Millan singled against Phils’ starter Larry Christensen with one out in the top of the first inning. Mike Vail hit a single to advance Millan to third base. Rusty Staub reached second on left fielder Mike Rogodzinski’s error of a sacrifice fly to drive home Millan with the first run of the game. Dave Kingman went down on strikes and Ed Kranepool singled to score Vail for a 2-0 Mets lead. Christensen retired John Milner on a pop-up to shortstop Larry Bowa for the third out. Mets’ starter Tom Seaver then set down the side in order in the bottom half.

Seaver and Christensen each pitched scoreless ball from the second inning to the fourth. Millan hit a single to open the top of the fifth. Vail got a bunt single on which Millan moved to third base via an error by Christensen. Felix came home on Staub’s sacrifice fly and Kingman grounded to third baseman Mike Schmidt for a double play that ended the inning. To begin the bottom half, pinch-hitter Tony Taylor singled and stole second. Taylor went to third on Johnny Oates’ ground out to second baseman Millan and a walk to pinch-hitter Tim McCarver ensued. Dave Cash reached on Millan’s error to bring home Taylor and reduce the Mets’ lead to 3-1. Bowa lined out to shortstop Mike Phillips, who then threw to Millan for an out at second on McCarver and an inning-ending double play.

Kranepool drew a walk against Phillies’ reliever Tom Hilgendorf to lead off the top of the sixth. Milner followed with a bunt single and Ron Hodges’ sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third base. Seaver reached on a fielder’s choice grounder on which catcher Oates made an error that allowed Kranepool to score and Milner to go to third. Phillips hit a sacrifice fly to plate Milner and extend the Mets’ lead to 5-1. Hilgendorf then retired Millan on a foul pop-up to Schmidt for the inning’s third out.

Tommy Hutton and Jay Johnstone drew back-to-back walks against Seaver to open the bottom of the sixth. Schmidt got an infield single to load the bases and went to third on Rogodzinski’s single that brought home Hutton and Johnstone. Mike Anderson followed with a sacrifice fly against Lockwood to score Schmidt with the Phils’ fourth run. Lockwood struck out both Oates and pinch-hitter Greg Luzinski to end the inning and Philadelphia’s Randy Lerch struck out the side in a scoreless top of the seventh. Skip then recorded strikeouts of both Cash and Hutton in a perfect bottom half.

Lerch retired the Mets in order in the top of the eighth. To open the bottom of the inning, Lockwood fanned Johnstone and followed up by throwing a called third strike past Schmidt. Rogodzinski popped out to Phillips to end the inning and Lerch pitched a perfect top of the ninth. Leading off the bottom half, Anderson fouled out to catcher Hodges. Oates was retired on a fly ball to right fielder Staub. Lockwood then got pinch-hitter Garry Maddox to line out to first baseman Kranepool and bring the game to an end. The Mets had closed out the season with a victory concluded by Skip’s four innings of perfect relief.