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Cubbie Hole

The first time that the Mets and Cubs convened in 1969 came at the end of April and didn't exactly serve as a foreshadowing for what was to come that season. The Mets opened the weekend four-game series with a pedestrian 6-8 mark, while the Cubs held first place with a surprising 11-5 start.

The Cubs won the first two games of the series as Ferguson Jenkins edged Tom Seaver, 3-1, and Bill Hands followed by going the distance in a 9-3 pasting of Don Cardwell.

A Sunday doubleheader concluded the matchup and in the first game, the Mets got off to a quick start and led 6-3 in the 8th inning. Chicago scored once in the 8th and with the aid of two errors and a subsequent Randy Hundley home run, struck four times in what the Chicago Tribune described as the "ludicrous" 9th. The Mets went down rather meekly in their half as Phil Regan struck out the side, including Cleon Jones to end the game.

So through three of the four games in this series, we knew this much: The Cubs were both good and lucky. The way that things broke, it looked like this was going to be a special year in Chicago. There was no reason to believe that anything special was going to happen for the floundering Mets.

Game 2 of this double dip pitted two pitchers who didn't start too often- Jim McAndrew for the hosts and Rich Nye for the guests. Through five innings, this unlikely duo provided a nice pitchers duel, with neither yielding an inch (or a run).

The Cubs threatened immediately in the 6th as Nye reached on an error and went to third on a Don Kessinger single. Kessinger than went to second base on a passed ball. With the count 3-2 on Glenn Beckert, a rather serendepitous stroke of luck occurred. A blister on McAndrew's finger necessitated his departure and the appearance of Tug McGraw in relief.

McGraw coaxed a comebacker from Beckert and the runners held. He then induced a shallow flyout by Billy Williams and got Ron Santo to strike out, ending the Cubs best threat of the nightcap by retiring their best hitters.

McGraw stayed in all the way through the 9th, dancing through trouble twice more to keep the game tied.

In the final frame of regulation, the Mets basically pulled a reversal of what the Cubs did in Game 1 (similar in nature to the reversal over fortunes in the last 2 days of this Mets-Astros series). Williams muffed Rod Gaspar's line drive to open the inning, giving the Mets a leadoff baserunner in scoring position, 180 feet from home. Nye had pitched valiantly to that point, so Cubs manager Leo Durocher left him in to work through the trouble and after intentionally walking Ken Boswell, Nye got Ed Charles to pop out.

This brought up Jones, whose whiff concluded Game 1, but whose torrid start made him a feared hitter at this juncture of the season. He finished off this contest as well, only in a much more positive manner, with a 3-run walk-off home run that raised his batting average to .443.

The win gave the Mets a little bit of satisfaction, though the Cubs still left Flushing smiling, with a 14-6 mark. It didn't strike anyone at the time that Chicago had just beaten the rival who would become most important to them within a few short months.

True Metbleheaders know...This is the only time in Mets history that the Met who ended Game 1 of a doubleheader by making the final out, got the walk-off hit that ended Game 2 of the doubleheader.


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