50th Anniversary of the 1969 Mets: Seaver Recovers After Two Straight Losses

Saturday July 26th, 1969: The Mets (55-40) five games back of the Chicago Cubs at this point, hosted Dave Bristol's Cincinnati Reds (49-44) in a Saturday matinee at Shea Stadium. 45,074 (25,259 PAID) fans came out to see Tom Seaver take on Cincinnati's Tony Cloninger.  

Today's Reds team only had two players of their classic Big Red Machine line up of the 70's. In 1970 the Red would get to the World Series & lose to the Baltimore Orioles. The Reds would play on four World Series in the 1970's & win two of them.

Seaver had just come off of two straight losses, a very rare thing for him in 1969, it only happened twice. A sore arm had him beat up in Montreal in his last start & a 1-0 heart breaking loss to Bill Hands in Chicago before that one. The 1969 Cy Young Winner losing three straight games in 1969, wasn't going to happen.

Today, this Seaver still wasn't his best but he was good enough for a complete game victory. Over nine innings, he scattered eight hits & two walks but allowed just two runs. 

He struck out eight as he earned his 15th victory of the year, tying him with Phil Niekro of the Atlanta Braves & Denny McLain of the Detroit Tigers for most in MLB. His 2.56 ERA was also one of the leagues best.

In the bottom of the 4th, with one out, Mets second baseman Ken Boswell singled then stole second base, his sixth steal of the year. Art Shasky singled to bring him home for the first run.
In the top of the 5th, Lee May walked then was moved over on a bunt. After a single by Woody Woodward, the catcher Danny Breedan bunted for a base hit that scored May to tie it up.

In the home 5th, the first two Mets were erased, then Bud Harrelson singled to left field. The pitcher, Seaver then doubled to right, although Harrelson could not score. Tommie Agee then singled up the middle bringing in both Harrelson & Seaver making it 3-2. 

Trivia: Agee was now tied with Ed Kranepool & Ken Boswell with seven game winning hits credited.

The sixth inning, started out badly as Pete Rose doubled & Chico Ruiz reached on a Wayne Garrett error. Bobby Tolan then singled to score Rose making it a 3-2 game. 

But Seaver then picked off Ruiz at second, exciting the crowd. He brought the to their feet as struck out both Reds sluggers Tony Perez & Lee May to end the threat.

The Mets left the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning, as Gil Hodges did not remove Seaver for a pinch hitter with the bases jammed & two outs. 

In the 8th the Mets defense turned their second double play of the game, as Bud Harrelson handled a grounder touched second & tossed over to first for the two outs.

In the 9th, there was more excitement, Bobby Tolan led off with a base hit. 

Next another Gil Hodges moved to be the right decision. He brought in Rod Gaspar to play right field for defensive purposes replacing the steel gloved Shamsky. 

Tony Perez lined a low liner in the left field alley, at first Gaspar stumbled but recovered with his speed to snag the ball. He then threw to first nailing Tolan who was half way to second for the double play. 

It was Gaspar's 7th assist on the season & the Mets third double play of the game. The crowd went wild. Seaver struck out Jimmy Stewart to end the game & earn win #15


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