Remembering Mets History (1973) Tug McGraw Saves a Jon Matlack Win as Mets Move Within 2.5 Games of First Place

ednesday September 12th, 1973: The surging New York Mets were making their way up the N.L. East standings, tonight was another big win on their way up. 

Yogi Berra's Mets (69-75) traveled south down the New Jersey Turnpike to Philadelphia, for a three-game series with Danny Ozark's last place Phillies (65-80).

New York lost the opener of the
series (6-4) as Jerry Koosman suffered his first loss in nearly a month, after setting a team record for scoreless innings.

Yogi Berra had his young left hander Jon Matlack take the mound for the second game. Matlack had won five of his last six decisions & was in the midst of a personal five game win streak lasting until the end of the regular season. Matlack went up against the Phillies Wayne Twitchell.

In the top of the 1st, the Mets threatened as Wayne Garrett led off with a double. Wayne Twitchell walked two batters, but the Mets left the bases loaded when Dave Schneck struck out to end the inning.

In the top of the 2nd, the Phillies Billy Grabarkewitz led off with a single. Matlack then walked Mike Anderson & (1986 Mets hitting instructor) Bill Robinson doubled bringing in the first run. 

In the top of the 3rd inning, Wayne Garrett led off the inning with his 13th HR of the year, a solo shot tying up the game.

The score remained tied until the 6th inning when Mets first baseman John Milner hit his 22nd HR of the year. The Mets slugger in his sophomore season, was the 1973 team leader in HRs.

With two outs, rookie Dave Schneck singled but made the final out of the inning getting thrown out at third base trying to advance on Jerry Grote's base hit.

In the bottom of the 8th, Rusty Staub doubled, it was his 34th double of the year. Then John Milner reached on an infield single to first base, but a throwing error trying to get Staub at third base, allowed the slow footed Staub to score the Mets third run making it 3-1 New York.

In the top of the 8th, Mike Anderson hit a solo HR off Matlack. Manager Yogi Berra went to his ace out of the bullpen, fireman Tug McGraw. 

Matlack went seven innings allowing two runs on six hits striking out nine along the way, walking three. Tug McGraw gave up a base hit to Bill Robinson, then struck out Greg Luzinski looking.

Next, Bob Boone singled to left putting the tying runner on base. But McGraw then struck out Mike Schmidt & Tom Hutton to end the inning.

In the top of the 9th McGraw struck out Larry Bowa, then got pinch hitter Terry Harmon to fly out for the second out. He then struck out Billy Grabarkewitz to end the game with another Mets win. 

The win was Matlack's 13th win of the year (13-15). Tug McGraw notched his 19th save.  
The victory was the Mets 15th in their last 22 games, as they were now just 2.5 games out of first place with three teams still ahead of them.


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