Flushing’s Nine welcomed the Los Angeles Dodgers to Shea Stadium this evening. Ray Sadecki climbed the mound for the first of a three game series, opposed by L.A.’s Don Sutton. Both hurlers kept their respective bullpens idle, with each pitcher going the distance.
The teams exchanged zeroes through four innings. The Dodgers then received a jolt from an unexpected power source, shortstop Bill Russell, who hit only his third home run of the season off Sedecki in the fifth inning, giving L.A. the game’s first run.
In what turned out to be a marvelous performance, Ray Sedecki pitched nine full, allowing the one run on only four hits. He walked no batters and struck out four.
The Mets finally got to Sutton in the bottom of the eighth. John Milner led-off the frame by drawing a walk, and Ed Kranepool followed with a single. After Jerry Grote laid down a successful sacrifice bunt, Don Hahn lofted a sac-fly to center fielder Willie Davis, deep enough to score Milner from third to tie the game at one.
Don Sutton returned to the mound for the ninth inning. He issued a one out walk to Wayne Garrett, and with two outs, intentionally walked Rusty Staub. That brought up The Hammer, John Milner who promptly singled up the middle, scoring Garrett for the game winning run. The Mets take the opener by a 2-1 final.
Don Sutton lasted 8.2 innings, allowed two earned runs on five hits. He walked three batters on the night, and struck out four before walking off the mound in defeat. With fifteen wins to his credit, the Mets handed him his eighth loss of the season. Ray Sedecki improved his record to 3-2 and lowered his ERA to a 3.30 mark.
|Los Angeles Dodgers||New York Mets|
|1||Davey Lopes||2B||1||Wayne Garrett||3B|
|2||Manny Mota||LF||2||Felix Millan||2B|
|3||Willie Davis||CF||3||Rusty Staub||RF|
|4||Joe Ferguson||C||4||John Milner||LF|
|5||Steve Garvey||1B||5||Ed Kranepool||1B|
|6||Ron Cey||3B||6||Jerry Grote||C|
|7||Willie Crawford||RF||7||Don Hahn||CF|
|8||Bill Russell||SS||8||Ted Martinez||SS|
|9||Don Sutton||P||9||Ray Sadecki||P|
The victory puts the Mets a game over .500 for the home stand with a 3-2 record. For the season, the Mets are now 56-67, eleven games below the .500 mark. However, no team seems willing to run away with the National League East. While the Mets still reside in last place, they are only six games out now, behind the division leading St. Louis Cardinals, who themselves only own a 63-62 record. The last time the Mets were within six games of first was on June 1st, when they resided in third place with a 21-23 record. The Chicago Cubs were the lead club at the time. It just goes to show this division race is still evolving.
Game Two between the Mets and Dodgers is scheduled for tomorrow, and will feature Andy Messersmith on the mound for L.A. He will be opposed by George Stone, who will bring an impressive 2.90 ERA into the game.