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’73 Mets Rally, Beat Yanks 9-8 To Get Back in Series

By Mike Silva ~ October 23rd, 2011. Filed under: 1973 Mets vs. 2009 Yankees.

The ’09 Yankees were a batter away from setting up their bullpen bridge and establishing a commanding 3-0 lead in the best of 7 Strat-O-Matic Sim SeriesJohn Milner had other ideas as he hit a 3-run homer off David Robertson in the sixth to tie the game and erase Yankees leads of 5-0 and 8-4. The teams would exchange zeroes until a Hall of Famer scratched a run, literally, off Mariano Rivera in the 13th to win Game 3, 9-8.

A series that has seen pitching and defense as the headliners through two games, saw offense rule last night as the Yanks jumped all over Jon Matlack for 5 runs in the third inning. The big blow was a two-run double by Jorge Posada with the bases loaded. Nick Swisher added an RBI single two batters later to make it 5-0.

With Andy Pettitte on the mound you figured the lead was safe. The Mets left 14 men on base in Game 2, and had scored only 2 runs through 21 innings. Just like their improbable ’73 pennant, they began an improbable comeback in the bottom half of the third.

Rusty Staub walked with one out to start the rally. The Mets would score a run courtesy of singles by Cleon Jones and John Milner. Jerry Grote added another with a double. The big hit, however, came with 2-outs as George Theodore pinch-hit for Matlack and blooped a double in front of Melky Cabrera to score Milner and Don Hahn, who had walked, and cut the deficit to 5-4.

Yogi Berra had to go to his bullpen early and called on Harry Parker, who was ineffective as the Yanks tacked on 3 more runs to open up a 4-run lead. This is where things got interesting, and even opened up Joe Girardi for a second guess.

With Pettitte well over 100 pitches, Girardi elected to leave him in to pitch to Rusty Staub with 2 runners on and none out. Staub doubled in Wayne Garrett to cut the lead to 8-5. Girardi would bring in David Robertson, who promptly got Cleon Jones to weakly lineout to short, but would serve up a gopher ball to John Milner, which tied the game at 8. Where was Phil Coke or Damaso Marte? Questionable decision to say the least.

Enter the star of the game, Tug McGraw. The Mets closer had yet to see any action, but he would get plenty of it on this night, pitching 5 scoreless innings. He pitched around a one-out double by Jeter in the eighth, a leadoff double by A-Rod in the ninth, and a leadoff single by Teixeira in the 11th. His work was reminiscent of Game 2 of the ’73 Series as he threw 6 innings of relief that afternoon as well.

The game would enter extra innings as Phil HughesPhil Coke, Alfredo Aceves, and Chad Gaudin would keep the game time. Rivera would enter in the 12th and pitch a clean inning. Girardi brought him back out for the 13th and that is where he fell victim to “Mets magic.”

Jerry Grote singled and Rivera would throw late to second on Ken Boswell‘s sacrifice bunt. Rivera would handle the next bunt by Bud Harrelson cleanly, which put runners at second and third with 1-out. Enter the Say Hey Kid, Willie Mays. Berra inserted Mays in centerfield for Hahn in a double-switch earlier in the game. Mays fought off a Rivera cutter and hit it just slow enough to third where Alex Rodriguez‘s throw to the plate was late, resulting in a wild celebration and the victory.

Ray Sadecki would get the win after pitching a scoreless 12th and 13th. Rivera collected the loss. Derek Jeter finished with 4 hits on the night and Cleon Jones had 3 for the Mets. The Mets now trail in the series 2-1.

Game 4 is tonight, and the Mets originally had George Stone on the mound versus CC Sabathia on three-days rest. Berra announced after the game that Tom Seaver will return on short rest to oppose Sabathia in a rematch of Game 1. The Mets manager knows how powerful the Yankees offense is, and after seeing them eat up Matlack, his only chance to win the series is with his ace going three times. He also is faced with a short bullpen, as he said Stone would be the first man out to back Seaver, if necessary. Joe Girardi indicated his bullpen his shot as well, but has Joba Chamberlain and Damaso Marte fresh since they did not see any action in Game 3.

Three straight one run games, two straight extra-inning games, and a series that is shaping up to be a classic. We could only imagine what Game 4 will bring.


Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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1 Response to ’73 Mets Rally, Beat Yanks 9-8 To Get Back in Series

  1. Chuck Johnson

    Any day you get a George “The Stork” Theodore reference, it’s a good one.

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