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Tripling Over Themselves

Maybe this hitting triples thing isn't the best of ideas.

The Mets have now tripled in four consecutive games. They've lost three of those games.

The club record for consecutive games with a triple is 5, set in 1969.

I'm going to reminisce about the first of those games, because I think we all need something fun to read right about now.

The 1969 Mets started slow. They were 2-5, 7-10, 10-13, and then 15-18 heading into their May 16 matchup with the Reds.

This one is interesting for a number of reasons, first for its pitching matchup as the Mets went with usual reliever Tug McGraw against ex-Met Jack Fisher. Both got jostled a bit: McGraw charhed for five runs in five innings, Fisher for two runs and six hits in 1 1/3 innings on what was a soggy day. Tempers flared a bit, with Ed Kranepool and the Reds first base coach getting into what the papers described as a wrestling match, though none were ejected.

The Mets left six on base through six (sound familiar) but led 4-3 heading into the bottom of the sixth. McGraw got into trouble and was replaced by Ron Taylor, which didn't stop pinch-hitter Jimmy Stewart from smacking a three-run homer, his first home run in five years, to put the Reds ahead, 6-4.

The Mets staged the winning rally in the seventh and it's the kind of comeback that the club could use 40 years later. It appeared rather harmless at first, as nothing was doing with two outs and a runner on second.

But then Art Shamsky, who struck out looking to end the fifth singled. Ed Kranepool then batted in a run, and J.C. Martin did as well. The last of six straight hits was a triple by Tommie Agee that would both start the historic streak and knock in two runs, putting the Mets up 10-6.

Rain threatened in the bottom of the seventh, and the game was stopped 21 minutes. A Reds rally cut the lead to 10-9, but the Mets prevailed, with a reliever coming through when needed. Cal Koonce got Johnny Bench to ground out with two men on to end the game.

The most notable stat from this win: How about the Mets going 9-for-20 with runners in scoring position?

The Mets announced within the last couple of days that they'll be honoring the 1969 club later this season. They could honor their memories a little better if they'd hit like that in the clutch.

True Metples know...The Mets record for most triples in a season is 47, set in 1978 and 1996. The club record for fewest home runs in a non-strike season is 61, set in 1980.


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