Remembering Mets History: (1974) Tug McGraw Pitches His Only Career Shut Out

Sunday September 1st, 1974: Yogi Berra's fifth place Mets (60-71) were nine games back at the start of September, but unlike last year in 1973, there was no NL Pennant run in store this September. The Mets were still the reigning NL Champs but were to lose their title in the next month. 

Tonight, the Mets hosted Clyde Kings third place Atlanta Braves (73-61) in front of 33,879 fans at Shea Stadium. The Braves former Rookie of the Year, Carl Morton (14-7) went up against The Mets Tug McGraw (5-7).

In his Mets career, Tug McGraw made 36 starts for the club, most of them in the earlier part of his career. In the upsetting Mets 1974 season, the team needed help in the starting rotation at times & McGraw filled in making four starts. This game would be the only shut out he pitched in his fine career, where he made 39 starts in 824 appearances.

In the 1st inning, that year's NL Batting champ Ralph Garr "the Roadrunner" led off with a base hit. Marty Perez then reached with a bunt hit & there were two on. But Tug struck out slugger Darrell Evans & got Hank Aaron to ground into a double play to end the inning.

In the 4th, the Braves loaded the bases with just one out, singles by Perez & Aaron plus an intentional walk to Dusty Baker. But Tug got Davey Johnson to pop up & Craig Robinson to fly out to Rusty Staub.

Carl Morton shut down the Mets, until the 4th inning, when John Milner & Rusty Staub both singled. Then rookie, Benny Ayala flied out to center field, Rusty Staub was thrown out trying to get back to first base, but John Milner was able to score on the play. 

In the home 5th, the Mets Teddy Martinez singled & Tug McGaw, himself drew a walk. Bud Harrelson singled bringing in Martinez. Felix Millan grounded out, but McGraw scored on the play making it 3-0. 

It was all the Mets & McGraw needed for the win. McGraw retired fifteen batters in a row to get to the 9th inning, where Darrell Evans singled but that was it. 

Tug scattered just five hits on the night, coming off the bats of Hank Aaron, Davey Johnson, Ralph Garr, Darrell Evans & Marty Perez. Tug walked just one while striking out three in the complete game victory.

Trivia: In 1974 McGraw had shoulder issues, he went 6-11 with a 4.16 ERA & just five saves for the Mets. He had come off seasons with 25 or more saves & had posted ERA's under two, in two of the past three seasons. The Mets thought he was through & traded him to Philadelphia. A sist was found then removed & he regained formed to be one of the best relievers once again throughout the 1970's & early 1980's.


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