Jun 21, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Fans try to catch a home run off the bat of Chicago Cubs right fielder Scott Hairston (not pictured) during the sixth inning against the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Amazin’ Look Back, July 1, 1973: Mets Split Twin Bill with Cubs

The Mets rang in July by splitting a Wrigley Field doubleheader, taking down the Cubs 6-5 in the first matchup and blowing a late lead to lose by the same score in the second. Jerry Koosman beat Fergie Jenkins in the first game, with Tug McGraw earning his 10th save of the year, while McGraw was on the losing end opposite Jack Aker in the second.

New York got an early home run from John Milner to go up 1-0 and retook the lead on a three-run shot by Wayne Garrett in the fourth inning. But Ron Santo and Carmen Fanzone provided the offense to tie it in the bottom of the frame, and the game seesawed back to a 4-4 tie. Felix Millan and Milner got a Met rally going in the sixth with back-to-back singles, and Millan came home on Rusty Staub’s sac fly in the next plate appearance. Ed Kranepool then singled in Milner to give the visitors a cushion they would need. Koosman shut down the Cubs for the final four frames of his eight-inning outing, but McGraw had some trouble picking up the save. Jim Hickman’s two-out sac fly brought Chicago within one, and the team had the tying run on second base. McGraw dug deep, though, and got Cleo James to fly out to left to end the ballgame.

The second game, billed a Harry Parker-Larry Gura matchup, turned into another early offensive explosion. Two straight Cub errors led to two unearned Met runs in the top of the first, but a wild Parker let Chicago take the lead on three walks, two singles, and a wild pitch in the bottom of the frame. Parker was relieved after just two outs in favor of Ray Sadecki, who brilliantly tossed six and two-third shutout innings. The New Yorkers quickly retook the lead in the top of the second on doubles by Sadecki and Don Hahn, a Felix Millan RBI groundout, and wild pitch. Willie Mays’s RBI double in the fourth provided insurance for Sadecki, who lasted into the eighth before Phil Hennigan bailed him out of trouble in that inning. If Met fans had any fingernails left after the day’s previous nail biter, they lost them during the ninth inning of this one: Hennigan led up singles to Jose Cardenal and Ron Santo, necessitating the use of a flimsy McGraw. To his credit, Tug got Paul Bourque to ground into a fielder’s choice and Paul Popovich to fly out, but one needs three outs to end the inning, and Randy Hundley wasn’t about to cooperate. Hundley smashed a three-run home run, and the first-place Chicago Cubs stole one from the floundering New York Mets, who have lost 11 of 16 since winning five straight a couple weeks ago.

The starting lineups for the first game today looked like this:

New York Mets


Chicago Cubs

1 Willie Mays CF 1 Rick Monday CF
2 Felix Millan 2B 2 Glenn Beckert 2B
3 John Milner 1B 3 Billy Williams LF
4 Rusty Staub RF 4 Jose Cardenal RF
5 Ed Kranepool LF 5 Ron Santo 3B
6 Wayne Garrett 3B 6 Carmen Fanzone 1B
7 Ron Hodges C 7 Don Kessinger SS
8 Ted Martinez SS 8 Randy Hundley C
9 Jerry Koosman P 9 Fergie Jenkins P

For the second game they looked like this:

New York Mets


Chicago Cubs

1 Don Hahn LF 1 Rick Monday CF
2 Felix Millan 2B 2 Don Kessinger SS
3 Willie Mays CF 3 Billy Williams LF
4 Rusty Staub RF 4 Jose Cardenal RF
5 George Theodore 1B 5 Ron Santo 3B
6 Jim Fregosi 3B 6 Pat Bourque 1B
7 Duffy Dyer C 7 Paul Popovich 2B
8 Ted Martinez SS 8 Ken Rudolph C
9 Harry Parker P 9 Larry Gura P

As if the Mets’ recent slide wasn’t bad enough, they will now spend the Fourth of July, the quintessential American holiday for 197 years, in Canada, as they take on the Montreal Expos in a weekday series. Come back soon, boys.

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Tags: 1973 Mets Tribute Felix Millan New York Mets Tug McGraw

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