Remembering Mets History (1973) Mets Sweep Twin Bill from Pirates

Wednesday August 1st, 1973:
On this night a rain out from May 10th was rescheduled making it a classic twi-night double header. 27,189 fans came out to Shea on this August evening as Yogi Berra's Mets (46-57) were still eleven games under .500, dead last in the NL East. They were coming off a four-game losing streak that dropped them to 10.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals. They had also dropped the opener of this series to Danny Murtaugh's Pittsburgh Pirates (51-53). 

In the first game of this twin-bill Tom Seaver (12-5) entered the game with an ERA under two (1.96) & was going for his fifth straight win as he went up against a struggling Steve Blass (3-6). 

Trivia: Steve Blass had been one of the league's top pitchers from 1968-1972, helping his team win the 1971 World Series, as he is still the last NL pitcher to throw a complete Game #7 victory in a Fall Classic.

In the top of the 1st inning, Seaver allowed a double to Al Oliver, but other than that started out the game striking out three Pirates batters.

In the home 1st, Steve Blass gave up a leadoff walk to Wayne Garrett. He was moved over on Felix Millan's bunt then scored advanced on a wild pitch. Rusty Staub brought Garrett hoe on a sac fly to Willie Stargell in left.

In the top of the 2nd, Seaver struck out two more Pirates keeping it 1-0. In the bottom of the 2nd, John Milner drew a leadoff walk. 

After Blass recorded the next two outs, he ran into more control problems then walked both Bud Harrelson & Seaver at the bottom of the order to load the bases. Next, he walked Wayne Garrett & hit Felix Millan with a pitch making a 3-0 game. 

In the crazy inning, Steve Blass walked four batters & hit one with a pitch. Blass sudden career downfall that year was labeled "the Steve Blass disease" by writer Roger Angell. After a fine career his MLB career was over the next season.

In the top of the 3rd, Seaver hit Dave Parker with a pitch, then retired six in a row. In the 5th he gave up a single to the weak hitting short stop Dal Maxvill then retired 13 in a row to get to the 9th inning. In the top of the 9th Willie Stargell collected a two out double but Seaver got the final out when Richie Hebner "the grave digger" grounded out to John Milner at first base.

The win got Seaver to 13-5 with a 1.87 ERA on his way to a second Cy Young season.

In the night cap, the Mets had George Stone go up against Nelson Briles. George Stone was a pleasant surprise for the Mets, he had won five of his last six & would not lose another game all season going 12-3 with a 2.80 ERA.

Trivia: Briles an accomplished singer, would sing the National Anthem at Shea Stadium prior to the start of Game #4 of the 1973 World Series.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the 4th inning, as Rusty Staub led off with a base hit & John Milner drew a walk. After Ed Kranepool failed on a sacrifice attempt, Ken Boswell singled to rightfield scoring Staub. Rookie catcher Ron Hodges hit a sac fly to right bringing home Milner with the Mets second run.

In the bottom of the 6th, John Milner the first of his two solo HRs on the night. This one off of Nelson Briles the other came in the 8th inning off Dave Giusti. The HRs gave Milner a club leading 18 on the season.

After the Milner HR, Ed Kranepool doubled & was driven in by Ken Boswell who singled to left field giving the Mets a 5-0 lead.

George Stone shutout the Pirates until the 9th inning. But a sing then a pair of doubles by Rennie Stennett & Dal Maxvill made it a 5-2 game. Harry Parker came on to close it out getting the final out retiring Dave Cash on a flyball.

The Mets had dropped their last two double headers & had split four others up to this point of the season. This sweep was certainly welcomed.


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