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Win Like Flynn

I don't really have a specific reason for writing about the Mets walk-off win over the Dodgers on June 5, 1978, but I wanted the challenge of picking a game, almost at random, and seeing if I could make it interesting for readership.

The thing is, the game that day does a pretty good job, without my creative interpretation. So we'll simply tell you that this was a pretty unlikely walk-off, one in which the Mets trailed 8-2 after 3 1/2 innings on a Monday night at Shea Stadium.

The bullpen combo of Paul Siebert, Dale Murray, and Skip Lockwood did its job that day, setting down the last 16 Dodgers as the Mets chipped away at the lead, scoring once in the fourth, twice in the fifth and once in the sixth. They didn't score in the seventh or eighth though, and trailed by two runs against Dodgers lefty Terry Forster going into the ninth.

But in their usual Metsian way, they made things a little exciting for everyone, dragging out this comeback win. With one out, Willie Montanez doubled, but Tom Grieve's ensuing groundout left the team with just one out remaining. John Stearns coaxed a walk putting the tying runs on base. That left things up to shortstop Tim Foli, who as it turned out was hitless in his prior 13 at bats.

Foli got a little lucky though, smashing a double just past diving third baseman Ron Cey, bringing home both runs to tie the game. The next batter was the No. 8 hitter, Doug Flynn and he too was in a funk, one of 2-for-22. Flynn hit a grounder in the hole between short and third, where Bill Russell made the play, but subsequently fired the ball over the head of Steve Garvey for an error. Foli came in with the winning run and the Mets had an improbable triumph.

For the Dodgers, it was their fifth straight defeat and left the teams in similar positions. The Mets were six games behind the first-place Cubs and the Dodgers were 5 1/2 back of the NL West leading Giants.

The teams split the next two games in this particular series, but whenLos Angeles returned to Shea Stadium in late August, the Mets were 22 games under .500. The Dodgers turned the tables on them in that series finale, coming back from two runs down with a three-run ninth inning rally. That showed how their fortunes had changed, as Los Angeles went on to win the NL West, again.

True Metsenheimers know...Our initial check shows that Doug Flynn had the most hits for the Mets, among players who never had a walk-off hit for them, with 500.

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