Before yesterday’s day off, the Mets wrapped up a successful 3-2 road trip by salvaging their last game in Philadelphia. Back in Flushing by the Bay to open a seven game home-stand, the Mets hosted their ol’ division rival Chicago Cubs. In a match-up between former Cy Young winners, Tom Seaver climbed the hill in search of his third win, opposed by Chicago’s Ferguson Jenkins. The Cubs’ 1971 National League award winner entered today’s contest in pursuit of his first win of 1973, while on a grander scale, is also in pursuit of his seventh consecutive 20-win season. An hour and forty-five minutes after today’s call to Play Ball! – Ferguson Jenkins was left with nineteen more victories to go – a fact not lost on the 14,549 bewildered Mets fans who attended wet and chilly Shea Stadium. While the baseball purists were treated to an old fashioned pitcher’s duel, I’m sure most die hard attendees did not drive off into the late day feeling similarly.
The bittersweet news is that Tom was indeed terrific. He entered the game with an 0.59 ERA after two starts. Seaver pitched all nine innings, limited Chicago to five hits, walked two batters and struck out five. But on this day, Fergie was better. He went the distance as well, limiting skipper Yogi Berra‘s line-up to just two hits. In edging the Metropolitans by a 1-0 score, Jenkins only walked one batter, and matched Seaver’s five strikeouts to gain his first shutout of the season. Tom’s lone mistake was crushed by Cubs center fielder Rick Monday for a home run leading off the fourth inning.
The Mets still managed two scoring opportunities against Chicago’s starter. Early in the first, Bud Harrelson led off with a walk, and was sacrificed over to second by Felix Millan. Jenkins then issued his first and only walk to John Milner. However, Rusty Staub‘s fly to left was too shallow to advance Buddy, and Cleon Jones bounced into a force-out to end the frame. The Mets threatened again in the fourth when a passed ball charged to Randy Hundley allowed Milner to reach third with one out. After Cleon Jones popped up to first baseman Joe Pepitone, Jim Fregosi also failed to drive Milner home. Jenkins improved to 1-1, while Tom Seaver (2-1) was credited with his first loss of the young season.
Bud Harrelson and John Milner were the only Mets batters to muster hits. John Milner also drew a walk against Jenkins as the only Met to reach base twice. The Hammer has hit safely in three consecutive games. Cleon Jones was 0/2 with runners in scoring position.
|Chicago Cubs||New York Mets|
|1||Rick Monday||CF||1||Bud Harrelson||SS|
|2||Jose Cardenal||RF||2||Felix Millan||2B|
|3||Billy Williams||LF||3||John Milner||1B|
|4||Joe Pepitone||1B||4||Rusty Staub||RF|
|5||Ron Santo||3B||5||Cleon Jones||LF|
|6||Glenn Beckert||2B||6||Jim Fregosi||3B|
|7||Randy Hundley||C||7||Rich Chiles||CF|
|8||Don Kessinger||SS||8||Duffy Dyer||C|
|9||Fergie Jenkins||P||9||Tom Seaver||P|
With 5-3 records, the Mets and Cubs ended the day tied for second place behind the 7-1 Pittsburgh Pirates. Game two is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. Jon Matlack is expected to face off against the Cubs Ray Burris.