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The Pirates Massacre

The series that took place September 8-10 1978 between the Mets and Pirates at Shea that weekend is one of the most amazing in club history. It is also one of the most ignored series' for two reasons.

a) There was a newspaper strike.

b) It happened the same weekend as the famous "Boston Massacre" in which the Yankees swept the Red Sox four straight games at Fenway Park.

In all three games in this series, the Mets won in "walk-up" fashion, scoring the winning runs in the bottom of the eighth. I must say, that's a lot more interesting than winning 15-3, 13-2, 7-0, 7-4.

In the series opener, Willie Montanez snapped a 2-2 tie with an RBI double against Bert Blyleven.

In the second game, Mets starter Kevin Kobel pitched a gem, retiring 18 straight in one stretch. Willie Stargell snapped that with the Pirates second, and last, hit of the game, a home run that tied the score, 1-1 in the top of the eighth.

Undaunted, Doug Flynn put the Mets back ahead with a two-run triple in the home half, and Kobel padded his lead by singling in Flynn, who finished the day 3-for-3 with two runs scored. Kobel finished with a complete game, 4-1 win, his best big league effort.

The series finale was one of those fascinating, high-scoring affairs, in which the team that's supposed to win, never does. The Pirates scored nine times and had 18 base hits. The problem was that they stranded 13 baserunners and made five errors.

The Pirates had an 8-7 lead in the seventh and couldn't hold it, as RBI by John Stearns and Tim Foli put the Mets ahead. Stargell's RBI single (you can see why he won co-MVP the next year) tied the game in the top of the eighth, but his error on a Gil Fores sacrifice in the home half paved the way for the Mets to score twice, with Elliott Maddox getting the go-ahead hit.

Mets reliever Mardie Cornejo then notched the third and final save of his one-year career, getting future hitting coach Bill Robinson to ground out with two men on to end the game. That got Dwight Bernard his first major league win. Final score, Mets 11, Pirates 9.

The 1978 Pirates lost the NL East race by 1 1/2 games.

Methinks they'd like to have the games of September 8-10 back.

True Metrates know...The 1978 Mets also had two walk-off wins, and a "walk-up" win against the NL East champions that season, the Phillies.

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