The beat rolls on for the suddenly Amazin’ New York Mets, who swept the San Diego Padres this afternoon with a 3-1 win that extends their winning streak to five games. The pitchers of record were winner George Stone and loser Bill Greif, while Tug McGraw finished it off for his ninth save.
After Felix Millan scored on an error in the first inning, the game turned into a staring contest between the starters Stone and Greif. Despite chances by the Mets in the second and fifth and a second-and-third, none-out threat by the Friars in the fourth, neither man would blink through six innings.
San Diego eventually made Stone flinch in the seventh on back-to-back singles by Nate Colbert and Cito Gaston. After the sac bunt by Fred Kendall, Dave Roberts’ RBI groundout evened the game at 1-1. But New York catcher Ron Hodges wasn’t about to let his pitcher’s hard work go to waste: in the bottom of the inning he made Bill say “Good Greif” by crushing a solo home run to bring the 32,641 Shea Faithful to their feet and the Mets to another one-run lead.
Stone was relieved in the eighth after 7.1 innings of one-run, four-hit, four-walk, five-strikeout ball that dropped his ERA down to 1.83. Phil Hennigan finished off that frame, and after Wayne Garrett’s RBI single plated insurance run Ed Kranepool in the bottom of the inning, Hennigan got into some trouble in the ninth, putting runners on first and second with just one out.
The embattled Tug McGraw was brought on to save it for Stone and company, but a wild pitch to advance both runners into scoring position did not make things look promising. But McGraw believed in himself, dug deep, struck out pinch-hitter Ivan Murrell, and got Gene Locklear to fly out harmlessly to left to secure the win and break out the brooms.
Today’s starting lineups looked something like this:
New York Mets
|1||Gene Locklear||LF||1||Don Hahn||CF|
|2||Jerry Morales||CF||2||Felix Millan||2B|
|3||Dwain Anderson||SS||3||Rusty Staub||RF|
|4||Nate Colbert||1B||4||John Milner||1B|
|5||Cito Gaston||RF||5||Ed Kranepool||LF|
|6||Fred Kendall||C||6||Wayne Garrett||3B|
|7||Dave Roberts||3B||7||Jim Fregosi||SS|
|8||Derrel Thomas||2B||8||Ron Hodges||C|
|9||Bill Greif||P||9||George Stone||P|
The suddenly hot Mets are now sitting just one game under .500 at 28-29, seven games back of the NL East-leading Chicago Cubs. Yogi Berra and the boys will look to add fuel to the fire at the expense of the embattled Philadelphia Phillies as they travel to Veterans Stadium this week.