September 29, 1979: Mazzilli and Norman Slug Redbirds

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Date: September 29, 1979
Mets starter: Craig Swan
Mets: 8
Cardinals: 7
Winning pitcher: Craig Swan
Key player(s): Lee Mazzilli, Dan Norman, Neil Allen
Key play: Mazzilli’s and Norman’s home runs

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Saturday afternoon in St. Louis. The teams played the penultimate game of the regular season. Lee Mazzilli and Dan Norman each hit three-run homers in an 8-7 Mets win over the Redbirds.

Following a scoreless first inning, John Stearns singled to lead off the top of the second. Stearns advanced to second base on Richie Hebner’s ground out to second baseman Ken Oberkfell and to third on a single by Joel Youngblood. Cards’ starter Bob Sykes committed a balk to bring home Stearns and move Youngblood to second. Norman followed with a single to score Youngblood for a 2-0 Mets lead. On his own hit, Norman got caught in a rundown and was tagged out by Oberkfell. Sykes retired Doug Flynn on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Jim Lentine. For the Mets’ Craig Swan hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Frank Taveras got a bunt single with one out in the top of the third inning. Elliott Maddox hit a double and Mazzilli homered to extend the Mets’ lead to five runs. Stearns flied out to left fielder Keith Smith and a fly ball by Hebner was caught by Lentine for the inning’s third out. Swan pitched a perfect bottom half and Sykes yielded only an infield single to Flynn in the top of the fourth. Lentine got a one-out single in the bottom of the inning. Oberkfell was retired on a line drive to center fielder Maddox. Keith Hernandez then hit a force play ground ball back to Swan to close out the inning.

Sykes set down the Mets in order in the top of the fifth. Dane Iorg doubled to open the bottom half. Terry Kennedy hit a two-run homer and Ken Reitz flied out to left fielder Norman. Mike Phillips grounded out to shortstop Taveras and a single by Sykes ensued. Swan then got Smith on a grounder to first baseman Mazzilli for the inning’s final out.

Stearns drew a walk to lead off the top of the sixth. John stole both second and third base before Hebner flied out to right fielder Iorg. Youngblood was given an intentional walk and Norman slugged a home run for an 8-2 Mets lead. Flynn singled and St. Louis reliever John Fulgham struck out Swan. Fulgham then retired pinch-hitter Kelvin Chapman on a fly ball to Lentine to finish off the inning.

Oberkfell drew a walk with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Hernandez doubled and pinch-hitter Bernie Carbo followed with a three-run homer. Mets’ reliever Mike Scott fanned Kennedy and got Reitz to hit a ground ball to shortstop Flynn for the final out of the inning. Fulgham held the Mets to a double by Maddox in the top of the seventh. Scott then set down the Cardinals 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Redbirds’ reliever George Frazier pitched a perfect top of the eighth inning. Lentine got an infield single to begin the bottom half. Oberkfell singled and Hernandez hit a single to drive home Lentine. Mets’ reliever Neil Allen got Carbo to hit a force play grounder to Mazzilli on which Oberkfell moved to third base. Kennedy followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Oberkfell and reduce the Mets’ lead to one run. Carbo stole second and went to third on second baseman Chapman’s error. Reitz then grounded back to Allen to close out the inning.

Frazier retired the Mets on three straight infield grounders in the top of the ninth. Phillips flied out to Maddox to open the bottom half. Jerry Mumphrey was retired on a ground ball to Mazzilli. Allen then got pinch-hitter Lou Brock on a grounder to Flynn to end the game. The Mets had their fifth consecutive victory.

Notes

  • Carbo’s home run was his 96th and last one of his 12-season major league career.