Remembering Mets History (1969) NLCS Game #2: Mets Romp Braves 11-6 To Go Up Two Games to None
Sunday October 5, 1969 - NLCS Game #2 - Atlanta Fulton County Stadium:
With the Mets ahead one game to none in the series, Manager Gil Hodges sent his second All Star pitcher to the mound, Jerry Koosman (17-9 / 2.28 ERA /180 Ks) to go up against Atlanta's Ron Reed (18-10 / 3.47 ERA / 160 Ks).
50,270 fans filled Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium. The game time was moved up to 4:00 PM in order for NBC to air earlier NFL Football games.
This was something new in 1969 & unprecedented that MLB was off setting its schedule for football. But the money & sports era was just beginning to explode into huge bucks. Many people were opposed to the move, especially due to the shadows from the sun affecting the field for both offensive & defensive players.
Quotes- Casey Stengel: "They should never change the game like this. This here four o'clock start is twilight baseball, that's what it is & don't you think it doesn't change the game."
With nobody out, the Mets were looking for a big inning. But Art Shamsky & Ken Boswell both struck out. Ed Kranepool then singled to right bringing in Agee with the Mets first run.
Koosman gave the Braves a leadoff walk, but then struck out Tony Gonzalez & got Hank Aaron to hit into a double play to end the inning.
In the top of the 2nd, Koosman drew a one out walk. Tommie Agee, one of the Mets consistent & key offensive players all year long, then connected with a two run HR putting the Mets up 3-0.
Next, Cleon Jones would double to left field & score on Art Shamsky's RBI base hit. That made it 4-0 Mets & Lum Harris removed his starter, Ron Reed in favor of reliever Paul Doyle.
In the 3rd inning, with one out, Jerry Grote reached on an Orlando Cepeda error. Bud Harrelson, followed with a big hit of his own, a double scoring Grote making it 5-0. Wayne Garrett added an RBI base hit & the Mets were rolling along with a 6-0 lead. Milt Pappas came in to relieve Doyle, as Lum Harris' was into his third Braves pitcher, in the first three innings.
In the 4th inning, the Mets continued scoring, Art Shamsky singled to right field to lead off the inning. Then second baseman Ken Boswell blasted a two run HR, blowing it wide open, making it 8-0 Mets
For New York, Jerry Koosman rolled along until the 4th inning, there a Rico Carty double & Orlando Cepeda single, gave Atlanta their first run.
The Mets added another run in the top of the 5th, as Wayne Garrett doubled, his second hit of the day & Cleon Jones singled to bring him in making it 9-1.
In the 5th, Koosman had a nightmare of an inning. First with two outs, he allowed a Felix Millan single & walked Tony Gonzalez. He then gave up a three run HR to Hank Aaron. It was Aaron's second HR in as many games. Next Rico Carty walked & Orlando Cepeda doubled. Clete Boyer's base hit scored both runners & it was 9-6.
Koosman faced eight batters in the inning, allowing four hits, including a double & a HR with two walks & five earned runs. Not your typical Jerry Koosman inning, but from here on in he would be fantastic the rest of the 1969 post season.
Ron Taylor came in for relief, ending the inning, as catcher Bob Dider lined out to second. He also threw a scoreless 6th inning, before giving way to Tug McGraw. The Braves had Jim Britton start the 6th inning & then gave way to Cecil Upshaw.
In the top of the 7th, Tommie Agee walked, stole second & advanced to third base.
Then he then he almost lost his head, when he was attempting to steal home, Cleon Jones ripped a screaming liner down third base.
Quotes- Tommie Agee: "Damn, that ball just grazed my head. No there was no sign, I was on my own".
Quotes- Cleon Jones: "I didn't see him, but I heard him coming in & I saw the pitcher speed up his wind up. I didn't want to hit the ball, just swinging to keep the catcher occupied."
Cleon Jones added a two run HR off Upshaw making it 11-6 Mets. Cleon would have a big day, leading the team (tied with Art Shamsky) with three hits. He drove in three runs on the day, scored two runs hit a HR, a drew a walk.
Tommie Agee had a huge day as well, collecting two hits with two walks, scored three runs, drove in two runs & stole a pair of bases. Wayne Garrett also had two hits with a walk & an RBI.
Tug McGraw blanked the Braves in the 7th & 8th innings. In the 9th, Felix Millan led off with a walk. Millan had a huge game, two hits, three walks & a run scored. McGraw allowed a base hit to Tony Gonzalez to put two on with no one out.
But, McGraw got down to business, striking out Henry Aaron looking & getting Rico Carty to ground into a double play.
The Mets were sitting pretty with a 2-0 Series lead on their way back home to an excited New York City & an insane Shea Stadium.