The division-leading Cardinals scored three runs each in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings to salvage a split with the suddenly-steamy Mets, 7-4. Eddie Fisher was on the winning side for the host Redbirds, while Buzz Capra took the loss for the visiting New Yorkers, and Diego Segui earned his 16th save of the year.
St. Louis got on the board early as Ted Simmons singled in Lou Brock off the Mets’ Jon Matlack in the first. Matlack and Rick Wise then settled in for a pitchers’ duel that lasted until the fifth inning. Wayne Garrett led off with a walk in the top of the frame, and light-hitting Felix Millan went yard for his third home run of 1973. The offense didn’t stop there for the Good Guys, as Rusty Staub cracked a one-out single, went to second on Wise’s wild pitch, then came home on Jerry Grote’s two-out triple. Don Hahn’s single immediately brought home Grote, chased Wise, and gave the Mets a 4-1 lead as they looked to steal a series from the Cards at Busch Stadium.
Fate was to be unkind to the Mets in the sixth and seventh, however, as Matlack served up a solo home run to Ken Reitz, then surrendered two more singles and was relieved by Buzz Capra. After nearly getting out of it, Tim McCarver tied the score with a two-run single. The story was more of the same in the next frame, as Mike Tyson and Ted Sizemore got to Capra for singles that combined to drive in three runs, and all of a sudden what had been a 4-1 Mets lead was a 7-4 Redbird romp. New York couldn’t muster the offense in the eighth and ninth against the veteran Segui and had to settle for a 2-2 split against their NL East rivals.
The starting lineups for the Sunday afternoon affair consisted of:
New York Mets
|1||Wayne Garrett||3B||1||Lou Brock||LF|
|2||Felix Millan||2B||2||Ted Sizemore||2B|
|3||Cleon Jones||LF||3||Tim McCarver||1B|
|4||Rusty Staub||RF||4||Ted Simmons||C|
|5||Ed Kranepool||1B||5||Luis Melendez||CF|
|6||Jerry Grote||C||6||Ken Reitz||3B|
|7||Don Hahn||CF||7||Bernie Carbo||RF|
|8||Bud Harrelson||SS||8||Mike Tyson||SS|
|9||Jon Matlack||P||9||Rick Wise||P|
The result was a disappointing end to what turned out to be a very good week for the Amazin’s, who went 5-2 and pulled within 5.5 games of first place in the desperately weak Eastern Division. The Mets look to make up more ground this week as they return home to host the Philadelphia Phillies in tomorrow’s Labor Day doubleheader.