Remembering Mets History (1969) Ron Swoboda Spoils Steve Carltons 19th K Record Performance

Monday September 15, 1969: Gil Hodges first place Amazing Mets (89-58) were 3.5 games up in first place & counting down to a magic number to clinch the NL Eastern Division. The Mets had just lost the previous game ending their ten-game win streak.

Tonight, they came to Busch Stadium to play Red Schoendienst's third place St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards were still the reigning NL Champs, a title the Mets would soon be taking away from them.

Tonight, the Mets sent Rookie Gary Gentry (11-11) up against future Hall of famer Steve Carlton (16-9)

It was a history making night at Busch Stadium for the 13,086 fans that came, as St. Louis' Steve Carlton set an MLB record (at the time) by striking out 19 batters.

Everybody in the Mets line up struck out at least once, six batters went down twice and rookie Amos Otis whiffed four times on the evening, earning "the golden sombrero".

Carlton got two K's in the 1st inning, then although he gave up a base hit in the 2nd, he struck out Ed Charles, Jerry Grote & Gary Gentry. In the 3rd inning Bud Harrelson singled but was picked off by Carlton. "Lefty" then struck out Tommie Agee to end the inning & total six K's so far.

In the 4th inning, the Mets Donn Clendenon drew a walk, then Ron Swoboda hit his 8th HR of the year, putting the Mets up 2-0. Carlton then struck out three more Mets in the inning to total nine.

Mets starter, Gary Gentry squandered the lead in the 5th inning, as Lou Brock singled then stole second. He scored on an RBI single by Curt Flood. Vada Pinson singled & Joe Torre put the Cards ahead with another base.

With no strike outs in the top of the 6th, Carlton was still rolling along, he fanned two more in the 7th.

But up into the 8th inning, he had scattered six hits and was securing a 3-2 lead. Tommie Agee led off with a single to center field. Then with one out Ron Swoboda connected once again, hitting his 9th HR of the year, the second of the game which turned out to be the game winner in a 4-3 Mets win.

The Mets, Gary Gentry pitched six innings allowing three runs on seven hits. Tug McGraw came in to pitch the bottom of the 7th. 

In the 9th with one out, St. Louis threatened, as pinch hitter Phil Gagliano reached on an Ed Charles error at third base. Lou Brock then singled & pinch runner Joe Nossek went to second.

McGraw then got Curt Flood to fly out & Vad Pinson to ground out to short to win the game. Although Carlton went into the record books, he took the loss, thanks to Ron Swoboda.

Quotes- Gil Hodges: "It's great to win when you play badly". The Mets increased their lead to 4.5 lengths in the NL East over the falling Cubs.


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