Oct 15, 2017

Remembering Mets History: (1973) 1973 NLCS Game #1 -Bench's HR Spoils Seaver's Good Outing

New York Mets vs. Cincinnati Reds

October 6th, 1973: NLCS Game #1

Managers Yogi Berra & Sparky Anderson

 Starting Lineups:
The 1973 National League Championship Series opened up on Saturday afternoon; October 6th, 1973 at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. A crowd of 53,431 fans attended the game, that took two hours to play . The day began a bit rainy & cloudy, but the sun broke through at times as playoff baseball was played.

The series opened with the both clubs top aces going at it; Tom Seaver (19-10 / 251 Ks / 2.08 ERA) for the Mets & Jack Billingham (19-10 / 155 Ks / 3.04 ERA) for the Reds. Billingham led the league in shut outs (7) starts (40) & innings (293).

The Mets threatened early in the 1st inning, as Wayne Garrett led off with a base hit & was sacrificed over to second by Felix Millan. Rusty Staub drew a walk & John Milner ripped a single to centerfield. As the ball flew off the turf quickly & with the arm of Cesar Geronimo, Garrett was held at third base. But with the bases loaded & one out, Cleon Jones grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, ending the threat.

In the top of the 2nd, Bud Harrelson drew a two out walk & scored as Mets pitcher, Tom Seaver, drilled a line drive into left center field helping his own cause.

It was the only run Billingham would allow on the afternoon, as he pitched eight shutout innings, allowing three hits while striking out six & walking three.

Tom Seaver drives in the Mets only run
Seaver had held down the Reds until the 8th inning, when Pete Rose tied the game with a HR. Through 8.1 innings, Seaver had only allowed more than one base runner in an inning just once, that was back in the second inning.

Seaver struck out 13 Reds, a post season franchise record that still stands today. He gave up six hits on the day, while walking no one. It was a fine performance but the lack of offensive support created the end result.

Riverfront Stadium Cincinnati, Ohio
In the 9th Tom Hall (8-5 / 8 saves / 3.47 ERA) started the inning but walked Rusty Staub & was relieved by the Dominican right hander; Pedro Borbon.

Bench's HR Wins It
Borbon had a spectacular year going 11-4 with 14 saves & a 2.16 ERA. He retired the next three Mets & the game went tied into the 9th inning.

In the bottom of the 9th inning, with one out Seaver gave up the game winning walk off HR to Johnny Bench. It was a devastating blow as the Mets fell behind in the series, one game to none.

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