Apr 1, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets former player Rusty Staub throws out the ceremonial first pitch before the start of a MLB opening day game between the New York Mets and the San Diego Padres at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Amazin' Look Back - May 9th, 1973: Mets Hit Braves Early, Koosman Sails to 5-0 Record in 8-1 Win

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The Mets won for the second time in the past three games to get back to .500 today, beating the Atlanta Braves 8-1. Jerry Koosman went the distance for the fourth time in his past five starts, limiting the Braves to a single run on five hits, three walks, and a hit by pitch. The run came in the top of the seventh, on a walk to Dusty Baker and a double to third baseman Darrell Evans.

Atlanta pitching, on the other hand, struggled mightily against the Mets. Following one-out singles by Felix Millan and Wayne Garrett, right fielder Rusty Staub beat out a potential double play to plate the first run of the game. The Amazin’s then opened the bottom of the second with three straight singles, after which a Jerry Koosman sacrifice bunt and Ted Martinez RBI groundout would end Carl Morton‘s day. His final line: six hits, four earned runs against only five outs.

Knuckleballer Phil Niekro pitched well in relief, giving up four runs (two earned) in 4.2 innings. Tom House and Tom Kelley would pitch the final inning and two thirds, allowing an inherited runner to score and a walk. With the way Koosman was pitching, however, the damage had already been done.

The Mets put up individual runs in the third, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings. The run in the third was unearned, with Staub taking the base on balls, advancing to third on a passed ball and a groundout before scoring on another passed ball. Staub would score the next Met as well, hitting a solo home run, his fourth of the season, with two outs in the fifth.

Jim Gosger would lead off the sixth with a walk, only to be brought in by Man-of-the-Night Jerry Koosman, who laced an RBI single to left field. In the seventh, Gosger would close scoring with a sacrifice fly that scored Wayne Garrett.

The Mets would get a walk in the eighth but Bud Harrelson would eventually be stranded at third. The Braves would mount almost-rallies in the eighth and ninth innings by getting a pair of runners on base in each, but Koosman stranded them all to keep them from crawling back late.

Starting Lineups

In two starts vs. Atlanta this season, Koosman has thrown a pair of complete games, giving up only a single run on nine hits and four walks against ten strikeouts. He improved to 5-0 in six starts, rebounding from a no decision against Houston in his previous outing.
The Mets are off tomorrow to travel to Pittsburgh for a three-game series against the Pirates. Five of the Mets’ next seven games will come against Pittsburgh – they’ll make one day stops in Chicago and Montreal before playing two against Bill Virdon‘s ball club back at Shea. First pitch Friday night is scheduled for 8:05PM, with Harry Parker going up against Doc Ellis.
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