Amazin’ Look Back – July 16, 1973: Braves beat Mets in ATL, 6-8

By Sam Maxwell

The New York Mets (38-50)  continued their losing ways with an opening game loss to the Atlanta Braves on Monday, July 16, 1973, at Atlanta Stadium. Jerry Koosman (7-9, 3.41 ERA) got the loss, while ATL reliever Jim Panther got the win.

The Braves got going immediately with a leadoff double by RF Ralph Garr. SS Marty Perez grounded out to short, moving Garr over to 3rd. 3B Darrell Evans then hit a sac fly to left field, scoring Ralph for the 1st run of the game.

As starting pitcher Phil Niekro kept the Mets in check, Marty Perez hit a solo shot off Koosy with two out in the 3rd to make it 2-0.

The Mets, though, struck back in the top of the 4th. CF Willie Mays doubled to left field, then LF Cleon Jones singled him home. After 1B John Milner flied out to left, RF Ed Kranepool singled, sending Cleon to 3rd. 2B Davey Johnson then let a ground ball go through his legs, scoring Jones with the tying run.

With a single, a strikeout, a single, a walk and a forceplay, Koosy gave the lead right back in the bottom of the 4th before striking out Niekro for the last out.

With a Felix Millan single and a Cleon Jones home run, the Mets were back on top 4-3 in the top of the 5th.

They built on that lead by 2 in the top of the 6th on a Koosy double and a wild pitch, giving the Mets a 6-3 lead.

By the bottom of the 7th, though, Koosy was gassed. He walked C Chuck Goggin (pinch-hitting for Jim Panther), gave up a single to Garr, and an RBI single to Perez. Darrell Evans was safe on a fielder’s choice that provided the Mets no outs and loaded the bases. Koosy was then replaced by RHP Buzz Capra, who provided no relief whatsoever. He walked Hank Aaron to force in a run, gave up a 2-run double to CF Dusty Baker, before inducing a fly out to Davey. Pinch-hitter Mike Lum was intentionally walked before Capra was replaced with LHP Ray Sadecki. Pinch-hitter Sonny Jackson, however, hit a sac fly, and the Braves had an 8-6 lead, which would prove to be the game.

Starting Lineups

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