Amazin’ Look Back, 1973 NLCS Game 1: Reds Tip Mets, 2-1

By Rich Sparago

Sep 6, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA;

Johnny Bench

(5) of the Big Red Machine takes the field after the Reds 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets began their quest for National League pennant today in Cincinnati, after winning their division with a spirited September run. For a while, the game was playing out exactly as the Mets wanted it to, with Tom Seaver mowing down the vaunted Reds’ lineup. The Mets were clinging to a skinny 1-0 lead, provided by Seaver himself in the top of the second inning. Bud Harrelson walked with two outs, and Seaver drilled a run-scoring double off Reds’ starter Jack Billingham. Seaver had given up just 4 hits going into the bottom of the eighth, when Pete Rose hit a game-tying home run with one out. With the game tied at 1 in the bottom of the ninth, Seaver surrendered the game-winning home run to Johnny Bench with one out. The Reds now have a 1 game to none lead in the best-of-five League Championship Series.

Although he took a hard-luck loss, what more can be said about Seaver, who went 19-10 during the regular season? He struck out 13 Reds today, and did not allow a walk. The Mets offense was stymied by the combination of Billingham, Tom Hall, and Pedro Borbon. The Mets mustered just three hits on the day, and will have to find a way to scratch out some runs if they intend to win this series. Tomorrow, the Mets will send Jon Matlack to the mound here in Cincinnati, against the Reds’ Don Gullet.

Here are the starting lineups from today’s game:


Wayne Garrett 3B

Felix Millan 2B

Rusty Staub RF

John Milner 1B

Cleon Jones LF

Jerry Grote C

Don Hahn CF

Bud Harrelson SS

Tom Seaver P


Pete Rose LF

Joe Morgan 2B

Dan Dreissen 3B

Tony Perez 1B

Johnny Bench C

Ken Griffey RF

Cesar Geronimo CF

Darrel Chaney SS

Jack Billingham P

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