Remembering Mets History: (1971) Cleon Jones Hits Walk Off HRs Two Saturdays In a Row

Saturday August 21st, 1971:
Gil Hodges fourth place Mets (61-62) sent Tom Seaver (13-8) to the mound, trying to get the club back to the .500 mark.

The Mets had been in first place in May & although they fell to second later that month, were still withing reasonable reach of first place in early July. But now at eleven games back things were looking grim for another divisional title.

This afternoon they hosted Preston Gomez's, last place San Diego Padres (47-80). The Padres sent Dave Roberts (11-12) to the hill up against Seaver in front of 26,584 fans at Shea Stadium.

This was a typical Tom Seaver game, a low scoring pitcher's duel as Dave Roberts matched Seaver along the way. Roberts would allow just two hits & one run going into the 9th inning, while striking out seven. 

In the top of the 5th inning, Ed Spiezio hit a solo HR, his seventh of the season. Spiezio is the father of former big leaguer Scott Spiezio & Ed would hit just 39 career HRs in 1544 at bats.

In the bottom of the 7th inning, Cleon Jones led off with a triple. Tommie Agee brought him in with a sac fly tying up the game at one.

For Seaver, he had allowed just the one run, had scattered six hits while striking out eight & walking two.

The score stayed tied at one going into the bottom of the 9th. 

In the top of the 9th, Larry Stahl walked & stole second with one out. But Seaver got "Downtown" Ollie Brown to line out for the second out & Ed Spiezio to fly out to right  field ending the threat. 

In the bottom of the 9th, the Mets Ted Martinez grounded out & Ken Boswell flew out for the second out.

Cleon Jones then stepped in & was the hero of the day, as he hit a walk off HR off Roberts to end the game, giving the Shea fans a big thrill. It was Cleon's 12th HR of the year, his 57th RBI & he was batting .327 one of the best averages in the NL. For Seaver it his 14th win of the year & a 1.96 ERA one of the league's best as well.

Saturday August 28th, 1971: The Mets (64-64) had just gotten to the .500 mark. This afternoon, Gil Hodges Mets hosted Walter Alston's second place Los Angeles Dodgers (69-63) in a double header. The Dodgers would finish second on the season, just one game behind the San Francisco Giants.

In the first game the Mets defeated the Dodgers 9-2. Tom Seaver won his 15th game (15-9- 1.96 ERA) beating Claude Osteen. Seaver pitched the entire game two runs, eight hits, six strike outs & two walks. The offense was led by Donn Clendenon, as he hit his 10th HR & drove in four runs. Jerry Grote drove in two runs, as Tommie Agee, Bob Aspromonte & Cleon Jones all added RBI hits.

In the night cap, the starters were Gary Gentry (10-9) for New York & the Dodgers Don Sutton (12-10).

Both starters were outstanding on the day, Don Sutton shut out the Mets through seven innings, allowing just three hits while striking out six. 

But Gray Gentry was also tough on L.A., as he held the Dodgers scoreless until the 8th inning. 

In the 8th, catcher Duke Sims doubled to right field, and a young Bobby Valentine was brought in to pinch run. Next, pinch hitter Tom Haller lined a base hit to right, scoring Valentine with the game's first run.

In the 8th Jim Brewer relived Sutton, he retired the first two batters but then catcher; Duffy Dyer doubled to center. 
Tommie Agee then singled to left field tying up the game 1-1. 

Gentry exited after eight innings, as he scattered six hits, with six K's & a pair of walks. Tug McGraw came in & pitched a scoreless 9th inning.

In the bottom of the 9th, Brewer got the first two Mets outs, then Cleon Jones stepped in & was the hero once again. Cleon hit another walk off game winning HR, thrilling the crowd of 43,492 with a 2-1 Mets win. It was his 13th HR of the year, his second walk off of the week & his RBI #60. Cleon was batting .328, he would finish the year hitting .319 (7th in the NL) his third season coming in the league's top ten.

Tug McGraw earned the victory bringing him to 9-5 on the year, while holding a 1.83 ERA.


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