Easter Sunday April 11th 1971: Gil Hodges, New York Mets were off to a 2-1 start in 1971. 22,005 fans came out to Shea Stadium, on this Easter Sunday, to see the Mets host the reigning NL Champion, Cincinnati Reds. Tom Seaver took the mound for the Mets, facing off against Greg Garrett.
The game was a typical Tom Seaver gem, the Mets Hall of Famer would shut out the Reds for nine innings, giving up just five hits while striking out ten & walking three.
Seaver sailed through most of the game, with ease. In the 3rd inning, after allowing two consecutive base hits, one to the pitcher Garrett, Seaver would bear down & strike out Bernie Carbo & Tony Perez to end the threat.
In the 5th, after Woody Woodward singled & stole second, he struck out Garrett & Pete Rose to end the inning.
As for Reds pitcher, Greg Garrett, he would pitch into the 6th inning, shutting out the Mets even though he had walked seven.
He allowed just three hits along the way. The Mets got two base runners in the 1st & 2nd innings but all were stranded. In the 5th, Garrett walked Seaver, Tommie Agee & Bud Harrelson all in a row. But with two outs, Cleon Jones lined out to left.
In the 6th inning, Garrett walked two more Mets batters & was finally yanked by manager Sparky Anderson. Milt Wilcox came in, walked Jerry Grote to load the bases. Wilcox then struck out Tom Seaver to end the inning.
Clay Carroll pitched the Reds to the 10th inning, he walked three but didn't allow a run. For New York, Tug McGraw came on in the 10th. He would hold the Reds scoreless for two innings, allowing a hit.
In the home 11th, Mets catcher Jerry Grote, led off with a walk off, game winning HR off Wayne Granger. The run was the only one of the game. The Mets were now in first place, early on in the 1971 season.
Trivia: Jerry Grote would have two walk off career HRs & four career walk off hits.
The Mets would fall out of first but regain the top spot by the end of April, remaining there until late May. They stayed in second place until the end of July & finished third at 83-79.