After sweeping a short two-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies to open the 1973 season, the New York Mets traveled to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals. In the opener, Jerry Koosman took the mound for the Mets and faced starter Reggie Cleveland. The Mets wasted no time getting on the board, scoring two runs on the top of the first inning after Cleveland threw a wild pitch after allowing three straight singles to open the game. After Felix Millan scored on the wild pitch, Rusty Staub hit a single to plate John Milner.
The Mets scored again in the top of the third inning after John Milner connected on a solo homer to extend the Mets lead to three runs. However, the Cardinals got that run back quickly scoring in the bottom of the inning on a throwing error committed by third baseman Jim Fregosi after Jose Cruz lead off the inning with a triple. The Cardinals scored again in the fourth inning as Ken Reitz hit a double off Koosman to drive in Joe Torre, bringing the Cardinals within a run after four innings of play.
The Mets instantly responded as the Mets tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the top of the fifth inning, after Millan hit an RBI triple and later scored on a passed ball. In the sixth inning, Koosman would eventually give up a run on a RBI groundout off the bat of catcher Ted Simmons. Koosman went seven strong innings, allowing only three runs — two earned — on seven hits.
With the Mets ahead 5-3 going into the bottom of the ninth inning, pitcher Tug McGraw was called on to the close out the game, but was ineffective as he allowed an RBI single to Ted Sizemore to bring the Cardinals within a run. With the Mets up 5-4 with two outs and runners on first and second base in the ninth inning, manager Yogi Berra elected to take out McGraw and bring in reliever Phil Hennigan. Hennigan then got pinch-hitter Bernie Carbo to flyout to center field to record the save and secure the 5-4 victory for the New York Mets.
Here’s a look at the boxscore and starting lineups for each respective team that day:
New York Mets
St. Louis Cardinals
|1. Bud Harrelson SS||1. Lou Brock LF|
|2. Felix Milan 2B||2. Ted Sizemore 2B|
|3. John Milner 1B||3. Luis Melendez RF|
|4. Rusty Staub RF||4. Joe Torre 1B|
|5. Cleon Jones LF||5. Ted Simmons C|
|6. Jim Fregosi 3B||6. Ken Reitz 3B|
|7. Rich Chiles CF||7. Jose Cruz CF|
|8. Duffy Dyer C||8. Ray Busse SS|
|9. Jerry Koosman P||9. Reggie Cleveland P|
The Mets play the finale of the series against the Cardinals, as Tom Seaver will take the mound and try to keep the Mets undefeated in the early ’73 season.