Remembering Mets History: (1969) Mets Pitchers Allow Just Three Earned Runs In 54 Innings Over Six Games

The 1969 Mets were built on pitching, it brought them all the way to an improbable World Series win. The staff was led by the 1969 NL Cy Young Award Winner Tom Seaver. 

In the NL, Rube Walker's staff would finish first in wins (100) first in shut outs (16) second in innings (1468) second in ERA (2.99) second in lowest runs allowed (541) third in saves (35) & fourth in strike outs (1012).

In a six-game span from August 16th to August 19th, including two double headers, the Mets pitching staff allowed just three earned runs in 54 innings pitched, including three shutouts.

Saturday August 16th, 1969- first game: 
A crowd of 19,940 came out to Shea Stadium to see Gil Hodges second place Mets (63-51) host Preston Gomez's last place San Diego Padres (35-82) in an afternoon doubleheader. The Mets were tied for second place with St. Louis Cardinals, the reigning NL Champs, nine games behind the Chicago Cubs.

Tom Seaver (16-6) took the mound, against Tommie Sisk (0-6). Seaver shut out the Padres for eight innings, with just four hits & four strike outs. Ron Taylor closed the door in the 9th, with his 11th save, securing Seaver's 17th win (17-7). 

The Mets needed just two runs for the win. In the 5th, Bud Harrelson had a one out single, then Tommie Agee singled to right scoring the Mets first run. In the 7th, Jerry Grote led off with a base hit. Bud Harrelson sacrificed him over, & then Bobby Pfeil singled in the Mets insurance run. Pfeil would drive in ten runs in 62 games for the 1969 Mets.

Saturday August 16th, 1969- first game: In the night cap, 25-year-old Jim McAndrew (3-5)
took the mound against Dick Kelley (4-8). McAndrew put in another fine Mets pitching performance, going seven innings giving up a run, a HR to Larry Stahl on just three hits. 

He struck out a season high seven batters, he would match that feat four times on his season. Tug McGraw came on for two scoreless innings of relief sealing the Mets double header sweep.

In the 4th, the Mets Cleon Jones who was among the league's leaders in batting, hit his 12th HR of the year tying up the game at one. 

The game was tied going into the 7th inning, when Ron Swoboda hit a grounder to the pitcher Gary Ross, but Ross threw wildly to first & Swoboda was safe. With two outs, Bud Harrelson drew a walk, then Jerry Grote singled off new Padre pitcher Dave Roberts, bringing in the game's winning run.

In his next two starts, Jim McAndrew would throw two complete game shutouts. He would have three complete games in his next three starts allowing just two runs over 27 innings.

Sunday August 17th, 1969- first game: As the Woodstock Festival was going into its third day
in Upstate New York, back in Queens, the Mets once again hosted the Padres in a doubleheader at Shea Stadium in front of 35,711 fans.


In the first game it was Jerry Koosman (9--8) on the mound for the Mets. Koosman, was coming off his worst start of the year, where he gave up six earned runs at Houston & had lost three of his last four decisions. Tonight, he faced San Diego's Joe Niekro (6-10). 

Koosman was back on track, as he threw a complete game victory, allowing two runs on five hits. He struck out five & walked two to earn his tenth win of the year, to get into double figures in wins for the second straight season. 

In the 1st inning, two Padre hits & an intentional walk led to a run when van Murrell grounded out to short. In the 5th Jose Arcia's single to right drove in their second run.

For the Mets, in the 5th Donn Clendenon & Bud Harrelson both got on with base hits. Then catcher Duffy Dyer hit a three run HR to put the Mets up 3-2, it was Dyer's second of three HRs he would hit in the Championship season. It was all the offense needed as Koosman rolled along.



Sunday August 17th, 1969- second game: In the night cap, the old man of the Mets staff, Don
Cardwell (4-9) at 33 years old, took the mound against rookie Clay Kirby (3-15). Kirby would lead the NL with twenty losses that season, although his ERA was just 3.80 on a Padre team that lost 110 games. Two years later in 1971, he would be a 15-game winner. 

Cardwell had his best outing of the year up to that point, as he shut out the Padres for seven innings, allowing eight hits, three K's & three walks. On September 12th he would shut out the Pirates for eight innings on four hits.

Cardwell & Kirby went at it for six shutout innings, in the home 7th inning, Ed Kranepool singled & Jerry Grote walked to start the inning. Bud Harrelson followed with a triple to centerfield, bringing home both runners for a 2-0 Met lead. Gil Hodges sent in J.C. Martin to pinch hit & he followed with a sac fly scoring Harrelson with the Mets third run.

In the 8th, Cal Koonce came on to pitch & the Padres scored two runs, but both were unearned, as the Mets had an error from Bobby Pfeil at third. Ron Taylor came on for the Mets earning his 12th save with two scoreless innings.

The Mets pitching staff had now allowed just three earned runs over the past two days in four games, in 36 innings.

Tuesday August 19th, 1969:
 Clyde King's third place San Francisco Giants (64-56) came to Shea Stadium for a mid-week series. 
As usual, all the old New York Giants fans came out to see their old tea, as a big crowd of 48,968 settled in for what was to be a great game

The Mets sent young rookie Gary Gentry (9-10) to the mound to face off against future Hall of Famer; Juan Marichal (14-8).


Tonight, Gentry was excellent going a full ten innings shutting out the mighty Giants, on just four scattered hits, as he walked four & struck out five. Three of his five K's were to Bobby Bonds, Willie Mays & Willie McCovey.

Marichal was just as good for the Giants, as he stayed in the game pitching all the way into the bottom of the 14th inning. Up to that point he shut out the Mets, with just five hits, one walking & striking out 13 Mets.

With one out in the 14th, Tommie Agee stepped in & hit a dramatic walk off HR off Marichal. It was Agee's 21st HR of the year. It was an exciting win for the Mets, as the win streak extended to five games, although still eight behind the Cubs in the NL East.


Wednesday August 20th, 1969:
 
Gil Hodges' gave the ball to Jim McAndrew (4-5) once again facing off against another Hall of Famer, Gaylord Perry (15-9). 

The Mets got to Perry early. In the 1st Bobby Pfeil & Art Shamsky both doubled for a 1-0 lead. In the 2nd, Bud Harrelson singled, Duffy Dyer reached on an error & after McAndrew went down on strikes, Tommie Agee singled to left bringing in Harrelson for a 2-0 lead.

In the 5th, Pfeil & Cleon Jones both got on with one out singles. Art Shamsky then hit a three run HR off Perry for a 5-0 Mets lead. Wayne Garrett then doubled, knocking out Perry bringing in Ray Sadecki to pitch. Bud Harrelson greeted him with a triple giving the Mets a 6-0 lead.

Jim McAndrew was outstanding, having his best outing of the year. He continued the Mets amazing week of pitching, as he shut out the Giants on a complete game two hitter. In the 1st inning, McAndrew allowed a double to Don Mason. In the 3rd, he gave up a triple to Mason for the only two hits of the night.

Out of all the powerful hitters in the Giants line up, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey & Bobby Bonds, it was Mason (a career .205 hitter) who got the only two hits off McAndrew.

McAndrew had six strike outs, with three walks, as he bested his record to 5-5. On the star-studded Mets staff McAndrew was a quality spot starter during the 1969 Mets Championship season. 
McAndrew would also be a part of the 1973 Mets Pennant winning staff. 

In this week of great Mets pitching, the staff allowed just three earned runs in 54 innings of work. The Mets won six straight & would go on to win 14 of 16 games going into September. They would be just four games behind the fading Chicago Cubs.

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