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A Win, and a Chance to Remember '69. What could be better?

And you thought Wednesday night's game was weird.

Shea Stadium has seen weirder. Though it's been awhile.

The only other time the Mets scored AT LEAST 8 runs while getting 5 hits OR FEWER at home was on May 14, 1969, against the Braves.

But this was not a garden-variety 9-run, 5-hit effort in a 9-3 walk-up victory (for newcomers: that means a game won in the bottom of the 8th, rather than 9th). This was one of those games that made the season particularly Metmorable, and the account from the New York Times is particularly entertaining.

The matchup was one pitting a pair of future Hall of Famers- Tom Seaver and Phil Niekro, and for six innings, the knuckleballer was the better of the two. Not only did the Mets trail 3-0 heading to the home seventh, they were a team without a hit. Niekro retired the first 13 batters and had allowed no damage until Ken Boswell's triple started the seventh. Boswell would score on a groundout by Cleon Jones, but Niekro was still up, 3-1, heading to the home eighth.

That's when the game got a bit goofy. Amos Otis commenced the madness by striking out, but reached base safely when the strikeout pitch (a knuckler) got away from catcher Bob Didier. Bud Harrelson followed with the Mets second hit, a single that sent Otis to third base. Art Shamsky then grounded meekly back to the mound, but Braves shortstop Sonny Jackson muffed Niekro's throw (a knuckler?) and all were safe. That set up Tommie Agee's game-tying double, which evened things at three.

It got worse for the Braves after the bases were reloaded on an intentional walk. George Stone, in relief of Niekro, had the misfortune of hitting Ken Boswell (apparently an Utley-esque HBP that the Braves disputed without success). Feeling rather grand, with a 4-3 lead, Jones then clubbed a grand slam, making the score 8-3. The Mets would tack on another run on a triple by J.C. Martin, followed by a wild pitch. Final tally for the inning, a club-record tying eight runs, four hits, and one error. Final tally for the game NINE runs, FIVE hits, and a 9-3 win.

There is one other instance in which the Mets scored at least eight runs with only five hits, but that story doesn't interest me as much at the moment, as it's merely a tale of some 1962 bizarreness in which the victorious Mets drew 16 walks. Perhaps another time.

True Metcreants know...The Mets are now 26-6 when their batters reach base via error at least four times in a game (thank you Baseball-Reference). They've won their last 13 such games and haven't lost one since July 19, 1983 at Atlanta. They've only lost one such game at Shea Stadium- 11-5 to the Pirates on September 26, 1974.


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