Remembering Mets History (1973) Mets Five Game Win Streak on California Teams Homestand

The Mets had started this home stand against the NL California teams losing two of three to the Los Angeles Dodgers & dropping the first game of a series with the first place Giants. 

They fell to 23-29 on the season nine games out of first place. But the Mets were to start a five-game win streak, their second-best win streak of the 1973 season. They would get to one game of .500 & gain two games in the standings. There was still a long way to go & plenty of ups & downs in the Mets pennant season.

Tuesday June 12th, 1973: A crowd of 24,135 came to Shea Stadium to see the Mets Jim
McAndrew (3-4) take on future Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal (6-4). The 35-year-old Marichal was in his 14th & final season in San Francisco, he would go 11-15 with a 3.82 ERA. 

He would pitch parts of two more seasons before ending his career. The Mets Jim McAndrew was coming off a loss to the Dodgers where he gave up a season high five runs. He would allow five runs in a game four times on the year.

In the top of the 1st, Jim McAndrew walked Bobby Bonds who then stole second base. Tito Fuentes singled scoring Bonds with the Giants first run.

In the bottom of the 3rd, Mets catcher Duffy Dyer led off with a right field double. After the pitcher McAndrew grounded out, Willie Mays singled to left field driving in Dyer to tie the game. Juan Marichal then threw a wild pitch advancing Mays to second. With Two outs Rusty Staub doubled to right field bring home Willie giving the Mets a 2-1 lead. 

Jim McAndrew kept the Giants down until the 5th inning, then after getting the first two outs he walked Bobby Bonds again. Nex t Felix Millan booted a ground ball putting two Giants on. 

Back-to-back RBI singles from Garry Maddox & Ed Goodson gave the Giants 3-2 lead. That would be it for Jim McAndrew on the evening, in five innings he gave up three runs but just one earned. He allowed six hits, walked three & struck out two.

In the bottom of the 6th, John Milner led off with a single up the middle. Ed Kranepool then hit his   HR of the season, giving the Mets a 4-3 lead. 

In the bottom of the 7th Willie Mays reached with an infield single & advanced to second on a throwing error. Don Hahn came in to pinch run for Mays. Felix Millan then singled to center bringing home Hahn for a 5-3 Mets lead.

For Juan Marichal he gave up five runs on nine hits, struck out three & walked one. Elias Sosa came in to finish the game for the Giants. 

For New York Harry Parker, came on & got through the next three innings but ran into trouble in the 9th. After giving up a single & then walking Bobby Bonds, his third free pass of the night, he was relieved by Phil Hennigan. 

Trivia: Bobby Bonds would walk 96 times on the year & post a .370 on base %. He led the NL in runs (131) & strike outs (148). That year he hit 39 HRs & stole 43 bases as well.

The Giants picked up a run, as Hennigan got three ground ball outs that ended the game, giving him the save in the 5-4 win. Harry Parker picked up the win for the Mets to go 5-0. Parker would be very valuable to the 1973 Mets making 38 appearances, nine of them starts & he finished off 16 games collecting five saves to go along with a 8-4 record (.335 ERA).


Wednesday June 13th, 1973: In the rubber game of the Giants series, Yogi Berra sent his Cy Young winner for that season, Tom Seaver (7-3) to the mound to face Tom Bradley (5-3). 

Tom Bradley was in his first year in San Francisco after two straight 15-win seasons with the Chicago White Sox. He would go 13-12 with a 3.90 ERA in 1973. In his last start, Tom Seaver broke a personal five game win streak taking a loss to the Dodgers at the start of the home stand.

With Mets catcher Jerry Grote hurt, the team brought up rookie Ron Hodges who was making his MLB debut. Hodges would spend the next decade with the Mets in a backup role.

In the bottom of the 1st inning, with one out Felix Millan hit his first HR of the season. Millan who led the team in batting (.290) & hits (185) hit just three HRs all season.

Rusty Staub followed with a base hit & then scored on John Milner's double to deep left field. Milner would add an RBI sac fly in the 8th inning, scoring Millan who started the inning with a double.

With a 3-0 lead, Tom Seaver would shut the Giants out for eight innings. He gave up nine hits through the game only struck out four & walked three. In the 9th he gave up an RBI base hit to Bobby Bonds ruining his shutout bid. Seaver went to 8-4 lowering his ERA to under two at 1.97.

Friday June 15th, 1973: After an off day the Mets hosted the San Diego Padres for a Father's Day weekend series. Preston Gomez's Padres (20-42) were in last place in the NL West already 18 games back. 

They had the worst record in the majors with a .323 win%. The Mets Jon Matlack (2-8) went up against Steve Arlin (2-3). Matlack had broken a personal five game losing streak beating the Dodgers in his last outing. 

Unlucky, Steve Arlin had led the NL in losses in each of the last two seasons for poor Padre teams. He would lead the friars with 11 wins in the 1973 season.

In the bottom of the 1st, Willie Mays who was starting his third straight game, started the game with a base hit. Felix Millan followed with a base hit as well. Steve Arlin then walked Rusty Staub to load the bases. John Milner grounded out allowing Mays to score, then John Milner hit a line drive that resulted in a double play.

Jon Matlack held the Padres down until the 4th inning. Jerry Morales singled & advanced to third on the next two Padre outs. Cito Gaston then singled to center tying up the game at one.

In the bottom of the 4th, with one out Jim Fregosi tripled & scored on catcher Ron Hodges sac fly. This was Ron Hodges first career RBI. For Jim Fregosi, he would hit three triples on the year. Five years earlier with the Angels he had led the AL with 13 triples.

Both pitchers held their opponents down until the 8th inning. Cito Gasto led off the inning with a solo HR, his 5th HR of the season tying up the game.

In the bottom of the inning, Rusty Staub grounded out to start the inning. John Milner & Ed Kranepool then reached with back-to-back base hit.

Next, Wayne Garrett blasted a three run HR putting the Mets up 5-2 for good, with the game winning runs. It was Garrett's fourth HR of the year; he would hit 16 HRs second on the club to John Milner's 23.

Jon Matlack went the distance to win his fourth game, he allowed two runs on six hits with seven strike outs & three walks. Matlack would record seven or more strike outs in a game 18 times in 1973 in 34 starts.


Saturday June 14th, 1973: This was the second time on the season, the Mets had put up double figures in runs on the season, they would do it seven times total. They would collect 13 hits along the way & hit two HRs in the 10-2 victory in front of 24,452 fans at Shea Stadium. 

Today Jerry Koosman (5-5) went up against Mike Cauldwell (3-8).

Koosman was the NL Pitcher of the Month in April going 4-0 with a 1.06 ERA. He pitched four complete games with14 strike outs seven walks in in 34 innings. But he then lost five straight decisions up this game, but he was still coming in with just a 2.69 ERA.


In the bottom of the 1st, Felix Millan & Rusty Staub collected one singles. The Mets leading HR

hitter, John Milner "the Hammer" then hit a three run HR, his eighth HR of the year giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.

The Padres came back with two runs off Koosman in the bottom of the inning. Koosman would not allow another Padre hit until the 7th inning. On day he gave up just the two runs on five hits as he walked two & struck out a season high nine batters.

In the bottom of the 3rd, Felix Millan led off with a base hit, he was erased on a force play on a Rusty Staub grounder. 

John Milner reached on an error at first base & then Mike Cauldwell intentionally walked Jim Fregosi to get to the "Stork" George Theodore. Theodore hit a grounder to short where Dwain Anderson made an error allowing Rusty Staub to score.

In the bottom of the 4th, the Mets sent eight men to the plate & went thru three Padre pitchers. The first two batters reached on Padre errors; the Willie Mays was walked loading the bases. Felix Millan singled scoring Duffy Dyer giving the Mets a 5-2 lead. 

Padre pitcher, Mike Corkins then threw a wild pitch allowing Jerry Koosman to score making it 6-2 Mets. Rusty Staub hit a sac fly scoring Willie Mays making it 7-2 Mets. 

In the bottom of the 6th inning, Willie Mays hit his 657th career HR, third on the All-Time HR list. It was his 2nd HR of the season, delighting the Shea crowd. Three more Mets singles from Felix Millan, Rusty Staub & Jim Fregosi made it a 9-2 Mets lead. 

Felix Millan would collect four hits on the day with an RBI & two runs scored. He would have four - four hit games on the year.

They added a run in the 8th on Rusty Staub's double, his third hit of the game & an error by Derrel Thomas at second base. 


Sunday Father's Day June 17th, 1973: Yogi Berra's Mets were going for the series sweep on
this Father's Day matinee. They had swept a two-game series to start the season & took a three-game set with the Pirates earlier in the season. 

The Mets sent George Stone (1-2) to the mound to face Bill Grief (4-8). George Stone had come over from the Atlanta Braves with Felix Millan before the season, both were key contributors to the Mets pennant season. Although Stone came into the game 1-2 he would go 11-1 the rest of the season posting a 2.80 ERA.

In the bottom of the 1st, Felix Millan & Rusty Staub both collected base hits. A John Milner double play ball was booted by Dave Roberts at third base leading to the Mets first run. 

After a leadoff single, George Stone would retire nine straight batters. He held the Padres scoreless until the 7th inning clinging to a one run lead. A pair of base hits, a sacrifice & a ground out led to the Padres tying the game at one.

In the bottom of the 7th, Ron Hodges hit his first career HR, the only HR he would hit in the 1973 season, giving the Mets a 2-1 lead. 

George Stone would pitch into the 8th inning, after getting Gene Locklear to ground out, he walked Jerry Morales. Yogi Berra came on & relieved him with Phil Hennigan. Hennigan gave up a base hit then retired Nate Colbert & Cito Gaston, the Padres biggest hitters to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 8th, the Mets got Padre's reliever Rich Troedson for three base hits, including an RBI single by Wayne Garrett his 16th of the season. The Mets took a 3-1 lead to the top of the 9th.

In the 9th, the Padres Fred Kendall led off with a base hit. With one out, Hennigan walked Derrel Thomas putting the tying runs on base. Yogi Berra went to the bullpen & got his lefty, Tug McGraw. 

McGraw who was having control problems threw a wild pitch advancing the runners into scoring position. He then struck out pinch hitter Ivan Murrell for the second out. He then got Gene Locklear to fly out to end the game giving the Mets a series sweep & their fifth straight win.


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