Remembering Mets History (1978) Steve Henderson Drives in Four Runs Plus a Walk Off Hit

Thursday May 18th, 1978: On this Spring evening, Joe Torre's fifth place New York Mets (16-21) hosted Bobby Cox's last place Atlanta Braves (16-21). 

Joe Torre & Bobby Cox were early on in their Hall of Fame managing careers & both were in charge of poor teams at this stage of the game.

Torre would manage the Mets from 1977 to 1981 going 286-420 never finishing above fourth place. Bobby Cox would manage the Braves for the first time from 1978 to 1981 never finishing above fourth place going 266-323. 

Ironically, he was replaced in 1982 by Joe Torre who led the Braves to their first NL West title since 1969. Torre remained there for three years finishing second & third respectively. 

Tonight's match up drew a Shea Stadium crowd of just 4,431 fans to what was known as Grant's Tomb in those years, referring to penny pinching Mets Chairman M. Donald's Grant who destroyed the organization during these years. 

Tonight, the Mets started Pat Zachary (4-1) & the Braves went with Preston Hana (2-0).

In the bottom of the 1st inning, Preston Hanna walked Lenny Randle then threw a wild pitch. After retiring Bruce Boisclair, he walked, Lee Mazzilli & Steve Henderson to load the bases. Willie Montanez "the Hot Dog" followed with a sac fly making it 1-0 Mets.

In the top of the 2nd the Braves Darrel Chaney singled & scored on Rod Gilbreath's double. After a ground out & a fielder's choice, Pat Zachry walked Bob Beall. Then Brian Asselstine singled to right scoring Royster to bring in the Braves second run. Slugger Jeff Burroughs (the former 1974 AL MVP) followed with a two run double making it 4-1.

In the home 3rd inning, Len Randle singled & Lee Mazzilli drew a one out walk. Steve Henderson then singled to center scoring Randle for the Mets second run. Willie Montanez followed with his second RBI of the game, as he singled to center to make it a 4-3 game. 

After Pat Zachry had gone just two innings allowing four runs on six hits, striking out just one & walking four, Bob Myrick came on to pitch for New York. The Braves Preston Hanna went 2.1 innings giving up three runs on just two hits & also walked four.

In the top of the 5th, Bob Myrick gave up a leadoff single to Jeff Burroughs & then a one out walk to Rowland Office. Veteran Darrel Chaney then singled putting the Mets in a 6-3 hole. Marty Cornejo came in relief of Myrick for New York.

In the bottom frame, with Jamie Easterly now on for Atlanta, Lenny Randle started with his second hit of the day, doubling to right field. Bobby Valentine then pinch hit for Bruce Boisclair & singled scoring Randle making it 6-4. 

Willie Montanez then doubled for his third hit of the day, bringing in Bobby Valentine with his third RBI of the game & bringing the Mets within a run.
Marty Cornejo & Adrian Devine got their teams to the 7th inning. In the top of the 7th inning, with Butch Metzger pitching for the Mets, the Braves tacked on another run with singles from Brian Asselstine, Biff Pocoroba & then Rowland Office's sac fly, making it 7-5 Braves.

In the bottom of that 7th, Adrian Devine served up a Lenny Randle leadoff triple, collecting his third hit of the game. Lee Mazzilli then grounded out to the right-side scoring Randle, making it a one run game.

Next Steve Henderson singled to right putting the tying run on. Willie Montanez "the Hot Dog" continued his big day, as he doubled to left field.  Steve Henderson scored tying up the game at seven. 

For Montanez, he collected his third hit of the game, going 3-3 with a pair of doubles & four RBIs.

The game remained that way, going into extra innings. The Mets Skip Lockwood took over as the
fifth pitcher of the day in the 9th inning. He gave his team two scoreless innings & would earn the victory to get to 2-3 with a 3.31 ERA. He held the Braves hitless walking one & striking out two. 

For Atlanta, Eddie Solomon took over from Devine. The Braves pitchers Preston Hanna, Jamie Easterly & Adrian Devine all had given up two runs each, with Hanna giving up three.

In the bottom of the 10th, after Sergio Ferrer struck out, Lenny Randle got on with his third walk of the day. He was bunted over to scoring position by the pitcher Skip Lockwood. Lee Mazzilli was then intentionally walked, bringing up Steve Henderson with two outs. 

Henderson came through as he singled to right field, scoring Randle with the walk off, game winning run in the 8-7 exciting Mets win. 

For Steve Henderson it was a big game, as he collected four hits with a walk & two RBIs. It was the first of two walk off hits he would have that month. It was his third walk off hit since being traded to New York in the Tom Seaver deal of June 1977.

Lenny Randle had a big day as well, collecting three hits (3-3) with three walks and five runs scored. 

The Mets used five pitchers that day, with Skip Lockwood earning the win.


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