The Mets rebounded from yesterday’s loss to top the Expos 3-0 in a thrilling, unlikely 13-hit shutout. George Stone picked up the W for the visitors from New York, while Balor Moore was the loser for the Montreal hosts, and workhorse Tug McGraw nailed down his 18th save of the year.
Stone was hit early and often, as he gave up six singles in the first four innings, but ol’ George stood steadfast in the face of adversity and kept the Expos from the plate. His effort was rewarded in the top of the fifth as Bud Harrelson’s hard bases-loaded groundball was mishandled by shortstop Tim Foli. Both Don Hahn and Ted Martinez scampered home to put the Mets up 2-0 and give Stone the breathing room he would continue to need.
He failed to record a 1-2-3 inning all afternoon and only faced the minimum once (a double play in the sixth got him out of that particular trouble), but George Stone got out of jam after jam, time after time, and finished the day with seven and two-thirds shutout innings, allowing 11 hits (10 singles) and a walk to go along with two strikeouts, dropping his ERA down to 2.70, a number that makes us say “Hey, how did he get so good?”
Felix Millan’s RBI double in the seventh gave the Mets some insurance, but after loading the bases with two outs in the eighth, Tug McGraw was called on to do some cleanup work. Cleanup he did, as he forced Mike Jorgensen to ground out to end the threat. The ninth inning saw similar danger, but Pepe Frias’s leadoff single was erased by Felipe Alou’s double play. Then, after Bob Bailey’s double, Montreal’s 13th hit of the day but their only one to go for extra bases, McGraw struck out Hal Breeden to secure New York’s impressive road victory.
The starting lineups for today’s game looked like this:
New York Mets
|1||Bud Harrelson||SS||1||Ron Hunt||2B|
|2||Felix Millan||2B||2||Felipe Alou||LF|
|3||Willie Mays||1B||3||Bob Bailey||3B|
|4||Cleon Jones||LF||4||Hal Breeden||1B|
|5||Rusty Staub||RF||5||Ken Singleton||RF|
|6||Jerry Grote||C||6||Ron Woods||CF|
|7||Don Hahn||CF||7||Tim Foli||SS|
|8||Ted Martinez||3B||8||Terry Humphrey||C|
|9||George Stone||P||9||Balor Moore||P|
Tug McGraw doesn’t just have the Mets saying “Ya Gotta Believe,” he’s got them believing it, too: the win caps a 6-2 week for the increasingly-Amazin’s, making them 11-4 in the past two weeks and propelling them right back into the swing of things in the NL East: despite being five games under .500 at 69-74, New York is three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the top of the division. The chase resumes Tuesday night at Veterans Stadium against the also-seemingly-in-it Philadelphia Phillies.