September 8, 1969: Koosman and Agee Bury Cubs

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Date: September 8, 1969
Mets starter: Jerry Koosman
Mets: 3
Cubs: 2
Winning pitcher: Jerry Koosman
Key player(s): Jerry Koosman, Tommie Agee, Wayne Garrett
Key play: Agee’s home run, Garrett’s single

The Mets faced the Cubs on a Monday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a two-game series that had an impact on the pennant race in the National League Eastern Division. Jerry Koosman recorded thirteen strikeouts and Tommie Agee slugged a two-run homer to lead the Mets to a 3-2 win over Chicago.

Koosman fanned both Glenn Beckert and Billy Williams to close out a perfect top of the first inning. Leading off the bottom half, Agee was knocked to the ground on a pitch by Cubs’ starter Bill Hands. Agee grounded out to third baseman Ron Santo and a fly ball by Wayne Garrett was caught by center fielder Don Young. Donn Clendenon went down on strikes to end the inning and Koosman hit Santo with a pitch (a payback for Hands’ earlier pitch to Agee) to begin the top of the second. Jerry proceeded to strike out the next three Chicago batters and finish off the inning. Hands then set down the Mets in order in the bottom half.

Koosman gave up only a single to Don Kessinger in the top of the third. Bud Harrelson got an infield single with one out in the bottom of the inning. Koosman was retired on a foul pop-up to first baseman Ernie Banks. Agee followed with a home run to give the Mets a 2-0 lead. Garrett flied out to right fielder Jim Hickman to end the inning and Koosman surrendered just a walk to Banks in the top of the fourth. Hands then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Koosman chalked up two more strikeouts in a perfect top of the fifth. Hands retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning and Kessinger singled to open the top of the sixth. Beckert hit a single and advanced to third base on Williams’ single that drove home Kessinger. Santo followed with a sacrifice fly to score Beckert (with Williams moving to second base) and tie the game at 2-2. Banks flied out to center fielder Agee and a wild pitch sent Williams to third. Hickman drew a walk and Koosman got Randy Hundley on a fly ball to right fielder Ron Swoboda for the inning’s third out.

Agee hit a leadoff double in the bottom of the sixth. Garrett followed with a single to score Agee (who beat Hickman’s throw to catcher Hundley on a close play) and put the Mets ahead by a run. Clendenon flied out to Young and a walk to Art Shamsky ensued. Ken Boswell grounded to shortstop Kessinger for an inning-ending double play and Young went down on strikes to lead off the top of the seventh. Koosman struck out Hands and retired Kessinger on a ground ball to third baseman Garrett to close out the inning. Hands then set down the side 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Beckert got a single to begin the top of the eighth. Williams singled and Santo hit a double play grounder to shortstop Harrelson. Banks went down on strikes for the final out of the inning and Hands surrendered only a walk to Agee in the bottom half. Hickman was struck out to begin the top of the ninth. Hundley hit a single and pinch-hitter Ken Rudolph went down on strikes. Koosman then got pinch-hitter Randy Bobb for his thirteenth strikeout to bring the game to an end. The Mets had a meaningful victory that moved them to only one-and-one-half games behind the Cubs in the N. L. East.