Amazin’ Look Back: June 5, 1973 – Johnny Bench Powers Big Red Machine to 6-5, 10 Inning Victory Over Mets

By Michael Lecolant

An Amazingly disastrous road trip is finally over, but not before suffering one last deflating loss against the Cincinnati Reds.  The teams needed extra innings to decide a winner at Riverfront Stadium, and with three runs in the top of the tenth, the New Yorkers appeared to have this game won.  Manager Sparky Anderson had other ideas however, and cranked up his Big Red Machine to exact last licks upon the Mets bullpen.

June 05, 2011; Flushing, NY, USA; The New York Mets logo behind home plate before a game against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. The Mets defeated the Braves 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Andrew B. Fielding-USA TODAY Sports

The visiting Mets and Reds dueled to a 2-2 stalemate through nine innings.  New York opened the scoring in the first with Willie Mays drawing a two out walk and scoring on Rusty Staub‘s double to left.  In the bottom of the frame, four hits by Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez and Dave Concepcion netted the Reds a pair of runs.  Felix Millan then led off the sixth inning with a double, and scored the game tying run on Jim Fregosi‘s single up the middle.

Jerry Koosman started for the Mets, opposed by Ross Grimsley.  Koosman lasted eight full innings, allowing two earned runs on eight hits.  He walked two and struck out one before walking off the mound with just his second no-decision of the season.  For Cincinnati, Ross Grimsley pitched seven innings and allowed two earned runs on five hits.  He walked one batter and struck out three before handing the game over to the bullpen.

In the top of the tenth inning, the Mets struck for three runs off reliever Don Gullett.  Felix Millan led off the frame with his third hit of the game.  After Willie Mays and Rusty Staub made out, Gullett issued an intentional walk to Jim Fregosi, then a second consecutive walk to John Milner.  That brought up catcher Duffy Dyer, who smacked a bases clearing triple to right field.

In the bottom of the tenth, Tug McGraw climbed the hill for his second inning of work.  Richie Scheinblum stepped in as a pinch hitter for Don Gullett, and quickly reached base with a walk.  Pete Rose then singled, as Scheinblum advanced to third on a misplay by Rusty Staub in right.  With Joe Morgan up, Tug McGraw unleashed a wild pitch, allowing Scheinblum to score from third to make it a 5-3 game.  Joe Morgan then drew yet another walk off McGraw, which instigated coach Yogi Berra‘s move to bring in Phil Hennigan to face the Reds slugging catcher, Johnny Bench.  Yogi’s plan backfired however, as Bench struck a walk-off three run home run to give the Reds a 6-5 final victory.

Starting Lineups

The Mets ended their miserable road trip 3-9, and now have a 22-26 record for the season.  They have fallen to fifth place in the N.L. East for the first time this season, 7.5 games behind the first place Chicago Cubs.  Yogi’s weary road warriors will get some needed time off before resuming play against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Shea Stadium.

While Cleon Jones has been out of the line-up, again, since May 28th,  the Mets finally got Willie Mays back on the field after last playing on May 6th.  Willie drew a walk and scored once in five trips to the plate.  Jim Fregosi started in left this time in place of Jones.  Fregosi raised his average from .194 to a .197 mark – still below the Mendoza Line.  He was 1 for 4, with a walk, and one run batted in – his ninth.  Why GM Bob Scheffing keeps him on the roster is ponderous!

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