September 30, 1973: Mets Clinch Division Tie

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Date: September 30, 1973
Mets starter: Jerry Koosman
Mets: 9
Cubs: 2
Winning pitcher: Jerry Koosman
Key player(s): Cleon Jones, Rusty Staub, Jerry Koosman
Key play: Santo’s error, Jones’ home run, Staub’s double

The Mets and Cubs played a doubleheader on a rainy Sunday afternoon. After dropping the opener, the Mets aimed for a split in the second game of the twinbill at Wrigley Field. Jerry Koosman pitched a complete game as the Mets clinched a tie for the National League East Division title with a 9-2 win over Chicago.

Wayne Garrett drew a walk against Cubs’ starter Ferguson Jenkins to lead off the top of the first inning. Garrett advanced to second base on Felix Millan’s sacrifice bunt and to third on a single by Rusty Staub. An intentional walk to John Milner loaded the bases. Cleon Jones reached on a two-base error by third baseman Ron Santo that allowed Garrett and Staub to score. Jerry Grote grounded out to Santo to drive home Milner from third for a three-run Mets lead. Jenkins retired Don Hahn on a pop-up to first baseman Carmen Fanzone for the third out of the inning. Koosman then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Jenkins set down the Mets in order in the top of the second. Fanzone and Paul Popovich got back-to-back singles to open the bottom of the inning. Ken Rudolph reached on third baseman Garrett’s error that allowed Fanzone and Popovich to come home and reduce the Mets’ lead to 3-2. Jenkins’ sacrifice bunt moved Rudolph to second base and Don Kessinger fouled out to first baseman Milner. Koosman then got Rick Monday to fly out to left fielder Jones and end the inning.

Koosman and Jenkins each pitched scoreless ball from the third inning to the fifth. Milner drew a one-out walk in the top of the sixth. Jones hit a home run that restored a three-run lead for the Mets. Grote flied out to right fielder Jose Cardenal and a single by Hahn ensued. Hahn stole second base and went to third on catcher Rudolph’s throwing error. Jenkins struck out Bud Harrelson to end the inning. Koosman then retired the Cubs in order in the bottom half.

With one out in the top of the seventh, Garrett drew a walk and advanced to third base on an ensuing single by Millan. Staub singled to drive home Garrett and increase the Mets’ lead to 6-2. Chicago reliever Mike Paul retired Milner on a fly ball to left fielder Billy Williams. Ray Burris came in to pitch for the Cubs and got Jones on an inning-ending fly ball to Cardenal. Koosman yielded only a single to Jim Hickman in a scoreless bottom half and Burris hurled a perfect top of the eighth. The Cubs were then shut down by Koosman in the bottom of the inning.

Garrett single with one out in the top of the ninth. Millan followed with a single to left field. Staub doubled to drive home Garrett and Millan for an 8-2 Mets lead. An ensuing single by Milner scored Staub with the ninth New York run. Jones hit a ground ball on which Burris threw to shortstop Kessinger for an out at second base on Milner. Burris then got Grote on a force play grounder to Kessinger to close out the inning.

Cardenal got an infield single to open the bottom of the ninth. A wild pitch advanced Cardenal to second base and pinch-hitter Andre Thornton went down on strikes. Popovich flied out to right fielder Staub. Koosman then struck out Rudolph to end the game. The Mets had a split of the doubleheader and a tie-clinching for the East Division crown.