On August 24th 1973 the Mets were in last place but just 6 1/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL East. The Philadelphia Phillies just ahead of the Mets were six out & the Montreal Expos 5 1/2 games back, making it a very tight race. Jerry Koosman took the mound with a 9-14 record against future Hall of Famer, Juan Marichal who was in his last season in San Francisco & winding down his career. Koosman had begun the year at 5-0 but suffered two separate five game losing streaks during the season. In his 14 losses he allowed two runs or less five times, as the Met offense was not helping him.
In his last start Koos had allowed a run in the fifth inning, but then shut out the Cincinnati Reds in the last four frames to beat Ross Grimsley 2-1 in a six hit complete game win.
In the August 24th game, Koosman scattered seven hits, struck out five Giants and beat Marichal 1-0 in a classic ten inning pitcher's duel at Shea Stadium. In the fourth, Koosman escaped the most trouble of the game.
He allowed a leadoff single to Bobby Bonds but picked him off first base. He then walked Willie McCovey, allowed a double to Gary Maddox & then intentionally walked Chris Speir to load the bases. Koosman then got future Met Mike Phillips to pop up & Doug Rader to line out to left field. The only run of the game came in the bottom of the tenth inning, pinch hitter Kenny Boswell singled to right field to lead off. Willie Mays then sacrificed him over to second & Felix Millan singled to right scoring Boswell.
Koosman's next start came on August 29th, 1973 against Don Zimmer's Last place San Diego Padres at Shea Stadium. Koos scattered seven hits, walked two & struck out seven pitching into the seventh inning when he was relieved by Buzz Capra. Koosman left the game after surrendering two consecutive two out singles singles while holding a three run lead. In the bottom of the fifth the Mets had put three runs on the board against Padre pitcher Rich Troedson, with a sac fly by Felix Millan, and RBI hits by Willie Mays & Cleon Jones. Koosman went on to earn his 11th win of the year.
His next start came on September 3rd, 1973 against Steve Carlton & the Philadelphia Phillies in the first game of a double header at Shea Stadium. He blanked the Phillies 5-0 allowing seven hits, three walks while striking out four in a complete game victory. The Met offense was highlighted by utility player Ted Martinez's big four hit four RBI day including his only HR of the year. The Mets were now in fifth place 5 1/2 back as the Phillies were in lat seven out.
Koosman finished the Mets scoreless innings record in Montreal on September 7th. He blanked the Expos in the first two innings until they scored a run in the third inning on a Bob Bailey base hit. Koos would be relieved after six innings, allowing just the run on four hits. This game would go 15 innings until Don Hahn broke the 1-1 tie on a sac fly off relief ace Mike Marshall. Three batters later, pitcher Tug McGraw helped the cause with a two run single leading to the 3-1 win.
Koosman's 32.2 scoreless innings streak would last 39 years until R.A Dickey broke the record in June 2012. Back in 1973 Koosman finished the year winning six of his last seven decisions helping the Mets capture the N.L. Eastern title, then beat the Reds in the NLCS and fall one game short of a World's Championship to the Oakland A's in the World Series.