Remembering Mets History (1973) Mets Split Big Two Game Series with First Place Pirates
In the wacky NL Eastern division of 1973, the Pirates had fallen eleven games back in early July, they improved to six games back by August 1st & were tied for first place with the St. Louis Cardinals by September 1st, just one game above .500 at 66-65.
They lost three of four to the Cardinals in early September, falling three games out but then won seven of nine to regain first place but never going up more than 1.5 games thanks to the surging Mets.
Monday September 17th, 1973: The Pirates took the series opener 10-3 as they roughed up Tom Seaver in one of his worst outings of the year. He allowed five runs, for the second time on the season giving up seven hits including HRs to league leader Willie Stargell (40) & Richie Hebner (23). The Mets fell to 3.5 back.
Tuesday September 18th, 1973: Tonight just 12,336 came out to Three Rivers Stadium as the Pirates Bob Moose (11-11) took on the Mets Jon Matlack (13-15) both pitchers came into the game on personal four game win streaks.
Ray Sadecki came on in the 4th inning & gave the Mets three scoreless innings, allowing just a hit with one walk. Tug McGraw came on to give them two more scoreless innings, earning the victory his second in three days. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the 9th inning.
Bob Moose held the Mets to a run into the 7th inning, allowing just four hits but walking six while striking out two. In the 7th the Mets loaded the bases with singles from Wayne Garrett, Felix Millan & Rusty Staub. But reliever Ramon Hernandez got John Milner to ground out into a double play to end the inning.
Now the managers wheels were rolling inside their heads, Mets manager Yogi Berra put Duffy Dyer in to pinch hit. As Dyer was announced, Pirate skipper Danny Murtaugh brought in Dave Giusti to pitch. Berra then brought Ron Hodges in to pinch hit.
The Rookie Hodges delivered with a base hit to right scoring Millian with the tying run. It was 4-4. New York sent ten men to the plate scoring five runs on five hits with the help of two walks as well.
Next pinch hitter Don Hahn delivered a base hit up the middle bringing in Martinez & Staub with was to be the games winning runs.
Berra told Buzz Capra to intentionally walk slugger Willie Stargell. Capra then walked Richie Zisk to load the bases. But Capra got Manny Sanguillen to end the game, flying out to Cleon Jones in left field. Buzz earned his fourth save of the year.
It didn't come easy, but the Mets grinded out a very important win with the help of some rookies & secondary players. They were now 74-77 back to 2.5 games behind the Pirates.