After strong pitching from both sides, the Mets dropped their series finale 3-1 to the Reds, settling for a series split in Cincinnati. Ross Grimsley was on the winning side for the home team, while John Matlack picked up the tap for the loss.
Aside from Willie Mays’s solo home run in the seventh inning, New York could get nothing going against Grimsley, who didn’t walk anyone and allowed only three additional hits in his complete-game victory. The efficient Grimsley struck out a pair of Mets in a quick two-hour, six-minute affair.
The Big Red Machine’s “big” inning against Matlack came in the fourth when Joe Morgan and Dave Concepcion led off with a walk and a double. Johnny Bench plated Morgan with a single to left, but Concepcion stayed put, only getting to third on Andy Kosco’s sac bunt. His hesitation did not cost Cincy anything, as Bobby Tolan’s sac fly still made it 2-0 for the Riverfronters.
Aside from the fourth, Matlack was solid in his seven innings of work, allowing no more runs. Jim McAndrew, on the hand, had much more trouble in his eighth inning, walking Concepcion and seeing him steal second and advancing to third on a passed ball. Larry Stahl’s single got the run home and Grimsley shut down the orange and blue 1-2-3 in the ninth, assuring the 35,121 fans at Riverfront Stadium would go home happy on a brilliant Sunday afternoon.
The starting lineups for the finale were as follows:
New York Mets
|1||Wayne Garrett||3B||1||Pete Rose||LF|
|2||Felix Millan||2B||2||Joe Morgan||2B|
|3||Willie Mays||CF||3||Dave Concepcion||SS|
|4||Cleon Jones||LF||4||Johnny Bench||1B|
|5||Jim Beauchamp||1B||5||Andy Kosco||RF|
|6||Don Hahn||RF||6||Bobby Tolan||CF|
|7||Jerry Grote||C||7||Denis Menke||3B|
|8||Bud Harrelson||SS||8||Bill Plummer||C|
|9||Jon Matlack||P||9||Ross Grimsley||P|
The Mets drop to 38-49 on the season and remain in the cellar of the NL East with a week to go before the All-Star Break. Before certain Amazin’s turn their focus to Kansas City, however, the team continues its extended road trip in Atlanta and Houston.