Today at Shea Stadium, in front of 50,323 delirious fans, the Mets topped the Reds in the winner take all Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. With the win, the Mets punched their ticket to the World Series – the second time in five years the club has reached the Fall Classic.
After Tom Seaver kept the Reds off the board in the top of the first, the Mets struck for 2 runs against Cincinnati starter Jack Billingham in the bottom half of the frame. With one out and the bases loaded, Ed Kranepool stroked a single to left field to drive in Felix Millan and Cleon Jones.
With Tom Seaver on the mound, it wasn’t crazy to think those 2 runs would stand up. However, Seaver allowed single runs in the third and the fifth as the Reds evened things at 2.
In the bottom of the fifth, though, the Mets erupted for 4 runs to take a commanding 6-2 lead. With one out and a runner at third, Cleon Jones gave the Mets the lead with an RBI double. After a walk, Willie Mays singled to left field to drive in Felix Millan and give the Mets a 4-2 advantage. Before the inning was over, a Don Han RBI ground out and a run scoring single off the bat of Bud Harrelson expanded New York’s lead to 6-2 and put them 12 defensive outs away from the World Series.
Tom Seaver took it from there, retiring 9 of the next 10 batters to put the Mets on the cusp of the Pennant. In the meantime, New York added another run in the sixth as their lead ballooned to 7-2.
In the ninth, with Shea Stadium ready to erupt, Seaver loaded the bases with one out. However, he retired Joe Morgan on a pop out and Dan Driessen on a ground ball to seal the victory and vault the Mets to the World Series.
Here’s the box score and starting lineups from the game:
New York Mets
|1. Wayne Garrett, 3B||1. Pete Rose, LF|
|2. Felix Millan, 2B||2. Joe Morgan, 2B|
|3. Cleon Jones, RF||3. Dan Driessen, 3B|
|4. John Milner, 1B||4. Tony Perez, 1B|
|5. Ed Kranepool, LF||5. Johnny Bench, C|
|6. Jerry Grote, C||6. Ken Griffey, RF|
|7. Don Hahn, CF||7. Cesar Geronimo, CF|
|8. Bud Harrelson, SS||8. Darrel Chaney, SS|
|9. Tom Seaver, P||9. Jack Billingham, P|
The Mets will have two days off. They’ll then head to Oakland to open the World Series against the Athletics.