Remembering Mets History (1973): Tug McGraw Earns A Save, Win & Game Winning Hit In A Twin Bill Sweep At Montreal

Friday September 7, 1973: Yogi Berra's Mets (67-73) were rolling along to a hot start in September, they came into tonight's game winning eight out of their last eleven games and found themselves just four games back of first place.

Gene Mauch's Expos (68-71) were just ahead of the Mets in that NL East race.
On a chilly evening at Montreal's Park Jarry, 24,167 fans came out to see the Mets lefty, Jon Matlack take the hill against former Met Steve Renko. It turned out to be a real pitching duel classic.

Starting Lineups


Wayne Garret led off the game with a HR, his 12th of the year. Renko settled in after that & pitched well allowing no other runs & six hits before giving way to Mike Marshall in the 7th inning.

Jon Matlack was pitching a shut out going to the 9th inning. He had allowed five hits & four walks clinging to the one run lead. In the 9th he got Ron Woods to strike out looking & then retired former Met Tim Foli on a fly ball. Then pinch hitters Pepe Mangual & Mike Jorgensen (another two time Met) both drew walks. It seemed he was out of gas, Manager Yogi Berra pulled Matlack for his relief specialist Tug McGraw who was finding his groove.

McGraw got former Met Ron Hunt to ground out to
  him to end the game. Matlack earned his 12th win, & Tug his 17th save of the year, his fourth in the last ten days.

Nightcap: This game made it a long night for base ball, lasting 4 1/2 hours. Combined with the first game, it made for over seven hours of baseball for the Montreal fans. The pitching matchup was Montreal's Mike Torrez hosting the Mets, Jerry Koosman.

Starting Lineups

In the 3rd, the Expos got the first run when Bob Bailey singled home Felipe Alou who had led off with a double. Torrez retired 12 Mets in a row into the 7th inning. With two outs, Jerry Grote reached on an error by second baseman Pepe Frias. Then Torrez lost his control he walked Don Hahn, Bud Harrelson and the Mets top pinch hitter Ken Boswell to tie it up at one.

Koos was relieved after six innings, one run, four hits, four walks & three strike outs. Reliever Harry Parker came on to pitch, he tossed three scoreless innings, allowing two hits, striking out three. Yogi Berra who always went with a hot hand, brought in Tug McGraw out of the pen in the 10th inning. The Expos Mike Marshall, one of the best relievers of the early to mid seventies, would pitch 8.1 innings of relief.

In the top of 15th, Jon Milner singled & Ed Kranepool doubled putting runners on second & third. Milner soon scored on Don Hahns sac fly to right field to make it 2-1. Bud Harrelson was then walked intentionally to get to McGraw. Marshall threw a wild pitch advancing the runners.

McGraw came through, helping himself to a win, he ripped a shot to right field scoring Milner & Kranepool. McGraw was thrown out trying to advance to second. The Mets had taken a 4-1 lead.

Tug McGraw came on in the bottom of the 15th,with one out allowed a base hit to Singleton & a walk to Foli. As the third in the trio of ex-Mets all who came over in the deal for Rusty Staub in 1972, Mike Jorgensen doubled bringing in both runs making it a 4-3 game.

Berra seen enough, even for him, he replaced McGraw with Ray Sadecki. Sadecki struck out Pepe Mangual & got Felipe Alou to fly out to center to end the game. It was Sadecki's first save of the year.

A tired Tug McGraw pitched 5.1 innings in relief earning himself the win. He allowed one run on four hits striking out six. He too allowed a lot of walks, four to add to the Mets total nine walks on the day. Tug had just earned a save hours earlier in the first game. The win his second in ten days to go along with the four saves, made for an interesting start to the month of September where he'd save ten games & go 3-0. A vital piece to the Mets winning the NL East in 1973 & getting to the World Series.
Quite a night for Tugger.


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