Remembering Mets History (1973): An Unusual Double Play Tops Off Rusty Staub's Big Day

Saturday June 9th 1973: Walter Alston's second place Los Angeles Dodgers (34-23) were in town in front of 47,800 fans at Shea for a Saturday matinee.

Yogi Berra's Mets (23-27) were still in fifth place in the season that would win them the NL Pennant. The man who would serve up Hank Aaron's famous 715th career HR, Al Downing would go against the Mets young lefty, Jon Matlack.

Starting Lineups

In the top of the 1st, Davey Lopes led off with a double & advanced to third on a Bill Buckner hit. He then scored on Willie Davis' grounder to second.

In the Mets home 1st, Teddy Martines led off with a base hit & advanced on a fielders choice. Willie Mays then drew a walk putting runners on the corners for "Le Grande Orange" Rusty Staub. Staub blasted a double to left field that scored but Mets runners & it was a 2-1 game.

In the 3rd the pesky Lopes bunted for a base hit. He advanced when Matlack committed an error in a pick off attempt. Lopes then stole third & scored on Bill Buckner's sac fly. 2-2 game.

In the bottom of the third, Hall of Fame New York hero, Willie Mays excited the fans with his 655th career HR, putting the Mets ahead with what turned out to be the winning run.

Strange Double Play: In the top of the 7th inning, a most unusual play occurred. Tom Paciorek led off with a double & Davey Lopes then singled putting runners on the corners. Lopes then made his move to steal second base, he gets caught in a run down play, as first baseman John Milner takes the throw he throws to short stop Jim Fregosi, who throws back to Milner who then throws to second baseman Felix Millan who tosses back to Milner who toss to Millan who eventually throws to right fielder Rusty Staub, now covering second, he takes the throw & tags out Lopes. Staub then fires to catcher Duffy Dyer nailing Paciorek who attempted to score on the play. Your usual 1-3-6-3-4-3-4-7-2 double play if you were keeping score!

In the 8th inning, Staub continued his big day, with Felix Millan aboard after collecting a base hit Staub doubled to left bringing in Millan with the Mets fourth run.

Jon Matlack went the distance nine innings, two runs, one earned, struck out four & walked three while scattering seven hits.


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