Amazin’ Look Back, August 26, 1973: Mays Falters, Giants Hold Back Mets

By Will DeBoer

Ron Bryant notched another W at the expense of the floundering Mets, as New York’s late comeback came up short in a 5-4 loss to the Giants. The aforementioned Bryant was on the long side of the decision, while Ray Sadecki was the losing party, and Elias Sosa picked up his 14th save of the year for the visitors from San Francisco.

October 31, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants former center fielder Willie Mays waves to the crowd while riding in a car during the World Series victory parade at Market Street. The Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers in a four-game sweep to win the 2012 World Series. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Bryant’s dominance of the Mets continued, as he beat the not-so-Amazin’s for the third time in 1973 and the second time in two weeks, this time for his 20th win of the season. His final numbers, while not as good as his previous efforts against the New Yorkers (four runs on eight hits in 8.1 innings), were propped up by his teams five runs in six frames against Ray Sadecki.

Four of those Giant runs came off the bat of young slugger Dave Kingman, who notched a two-run single in the fourth inning to plate Garry Maddox and Bobby Bonds and later went yard with his 12th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the sixth that made it 5-0.

New York’s comeback started in the bottom of the sixth with Jerry Grote’s two-run single to score Felix Millan and Cleon Jones. A single by Don Hahn and double by Ted Martinez in the bottom of the ninth chased Bryant with one out, and Ken Boswell singled both home, going to second on an errant Kingman throw. John Milner’s flyout and Millan’s walk brought up Willie Mays, the hero of many a similar situation for the New York/San Francisco Giants of years past. But the Say Hey Kid was only able to say “eh…” as he struck out to end the game and remind fans of both franchises who crammed into Shea Stadium this afternoon that even the mightiest of athletes, even the greatest of ballplayers, must eventually face the music and say, “it’s time to go.”

It doesn’t help that Yogi Berra insists on batting Mays third every time he plays, as he did today in a starting lineup that looked like this:

San Francisco Giants


New York Mets


Gary Matthews


Bud Harrelson


Tito Fuentes


Felix Millan


Garry Maddox


Willie Mays


Bobby Bonds


Cleon Jones


Chris Speier


Rusty Staub


Gary Thomasson


Jerry Grote


Dave Kingman


Don Hahn


Dave Rader


Ted Martinez


Ron Bryant


Ray Sadecki


Just 6.5 games out of first in a wretched NL East but 12 games under .500, the Mets enter the final week of August in pursuit of a miracle unseen since 1969. They look to find that miracle at the expense of Don Zimmer’s San Diego Padres, who at 32.5 games out in the NL West, are a last place team that are probably out of it for good.

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