Amazin’ Look Back: May 29, 1973 – In The Land Of Giants, Tom Seaver Was A Titan; Fans Sixteen In 5-2 Win


The New York Mets spent the previous five days of this road trip getting their division standing subducted under the West Coast fault extending from Dodger Stadium through Candlestick Park.  They entered this evening’s action losers of their last four games in a row, and six of their last seven, and were particularly fresh from falling a run short yesterday, against the Dominican Dandy Juan Marichal, which dropped them one game below .500 again.  Since arriving in Los Angeles on May 24th just 2.5 games out of first, the Metropolitans have clearly been California dreamin’ of being some place else, as their second place standing in the N.L. East since then has slipped to 5.5 games back of the high scoring Chicago Cubs.

June 18, 2012; Flushing, NY, USA; New York Mets former pitcher Tom Seaver in the dugout before the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Three thousand miles away, Mets fans back home just wanted their team to show a little legitimacy against the former Manhattan ball club.  They got it.  The unsuspecting 7,289 muted spectators in attendance at Candlestick for game two this evening came through loud and clear on New York area TV sets, as the locals sat in that wacky Bay Area chill, for two hours and twenty-one minutes, dismayed.

In the land of Giants, George Thomas Seaver was a titan.  Wielding a Louisville Slugger in one hand while hurling fire with the other, the California native known back in Flushing as The Franchise ascended the mound in San Francisco, and for nine full innings laid siege to the mighty leaders of the National League West.

Over the first two innings, Tom Seaver allowed a double, walked one, and fanned five.  He retired the side in order in the third and fourth innings, accumulating three more strikeouts.

In the top of the fifth inning, following Bud Harrelson‘s fly ball to Gary Matthews in left, Tom Seaver stepped to the plate against San Francisco’s starting pitcher Jim Barr, and connected on his first home run of the season, giving himself and the Mets a 1-0 lead.  In the bottom of the frame, Gary Matthews drew a lead-off walk, but was stranded, as Seaver collected two more strikeouts to reach ten.

After fanning Bobby Bonds to lead-off the sixth, second baseman Tito Fuentes doubled to left.  Then after retiring Garry Maddox, big Willie McCovey stepped in with two outs, and took the Mets ace deep for his tenth home run of the season to give the Giants a 2-1 lead.

Undeterred, Tom Seaver got right back at the Giants, retiring them in order in the seventh and eighth innings, fanning three more batters along the way.  The effort Giants starter Jim Barr put into this game should not go under-spoken however.  After all, he lasted eight full innings and faced one batter in the ninth before being removed.  He allowed eight hits, walked three and fanned two before leaving a runner on base for reliever by Randy Moffitt.

Starting Lineups

Pinch hitter Ken Boswell drew a ninth inning lead off walk against Barr.  Bud Harrelson then singled to right, and Tom Seaver followed, reaching safely on a bunt single to load the bases.  Moffitt then issued another walk to Wayne Garrett, sending Boswell home with the game tying run.  Felix Millan was next, and singled home Seaver and Harrelson to give the Mets a 4-2 lead.  That signaled the end of Moffitt’s stint, and in came Sam McDowell to pitch against John Milner, who drew yet another base on balls to reload the bases.  A sac-fly struck to center field by George Theodore capped the Mets rally at four runs, and gave Tom Seaver a 5-2 lead heading into the bottom half of the final frame.

Facing the heart of the Giants line-up, Tom Seaver struck out Garry Maddox and Willie McCovey for the third time, then induced Ed Goodson into a game ending ground ball out – scored first baseman to the pitcher.  Yes, Tom Seaver did it all.

Tom Seaver was 2 for 3 at the plate, with a home run, two runs scored, and executed two successful sacrifice bunts.  On the mound, he completed nine full innings, allowed two runs on McCovey’s home run, but otherwise only allowed three hits all game.  Seaver walked two batters and struck out sixteen Giants – his new season high.  He previously struck out thirteen Reds on May 2nd.  This was Tom’s fourth consecutive win in May, improving his season record to 6-3, with a lowered 1.71 earned run average.

The win got the Mets back to .500, with a 21-21 record.  Tomorrow’s rubber game and series finale will feature Jon Matlack facing off against San Francisco’s Tom Bradley.

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