Game 1: New York 2 St. Louis 4
When you are facing Bob Gibson, you know runs and hits will be far apart. Then the dreaded question who's starting today coach, all the mets pitchers turn away as no one wants to face Gibby. Then a young 21 year old kid gets up coach give me that ball today. Jerry to his Met teammates. You gotta believe just like the Ryan Express does. Top of the first Jones singles and Charles sacrifice bunts him to 2nd. Grote picks up his bat and says to team, this ones for the kid you gotta believe and hits a single scoring Jones. All is quiet until the 4th when Boswell leads off with a triple. Stahl grounds out scoring Boswell. After 4 the Mets are up 2-0. In the bottom of the 5th Ryan runs into trouble walking Maxvill and Gibson sacrifice bunts him to 2nd. Brock flies out but then the bottom falls out as Ryan walks the next 3 batters scoring Maxvill, but McCarver grounds out. Leaving the Mets up 2-1 after 5. In the bottom of the 6th Ryan continued to struggle as Shannon, Javier and Maxvill all singled, Shannon scored and Bob Gibson sacrificed to get runners on 2nd and 3rd. Brock singled scoring Javier and Flood was walked to load them up. Ryan then walked Maris scoring Maxvill. Ryan was pulled and Short came in and struck out the next two but St. Louis was up 4-2. From that point on Gibby shut down the Mets and Short shut down the Cards. The Cards won 4-2 Bob Gibson was Game MVP going the distance for the win allowing 6 hits with 10 Ks and 0 walks. Meanwhile back in the Mets locker room the loosing pitcher held his head down disappointed with his performance (6-2/3 inning 7 hits, 8 walks 6 strikeouts) when Jerry piped up, "Listen up. It took the kid to show us the Cards need not be feared we may not have won today but if we follow his example and believe tomorrow will be better"
Game 2: New York 4 St. Louis 1
Tom Seaver took to the mound facing Nelson Briles. In the 3rd with one out he singled and scored on a "You guessed it a Jerry Grote single" Cleon Jones scored on a Ken Boswell single. In the 4th The Cards struck back with 2 out and Roger Maris on first Tim McCarver and Mike Shannon singled with Maris scoring but stranded 2 on base. In the 5th Jones singled again and Ed "The Glider" Charles blasted it over the fence making it 4-1. From that point on Seaver and his defense settled down and kept the Cards off the board. Tom Seaver was Game MVP going 9 innings allowing 7 hits with 7 Ks. Briles took the loss and lasted 4 1/3 innings allowing 11 hits.
Jerry Koosman took to the mound facing "Lefty" Steve Carlton. In the 2nd Shannon walked and McCarver singled, Dal Maxvill doubled scoring Shannon. Swoboda got up and Jerry yelled "Believe" and he smacked a 350 foot blast over the left field fence.Boswell doubled , Agee bunted him to 3rd and Greg Goosen bunted him home on a squeeze. In the 6th Jones walked, Charles singled to left and Grote walked. Carlton was in trouble. Swoboda singled scoring 2 Boswell grounded out. Carlton was pulled and Torres took over after walking Shamsky hoping for a double play that didn't materialize the Mets scored 1 more making it 5-1. Bobby Tolan came in as a pinch hitter and lofted one 343 feet out over the right field fence. In the 8th the Cards continued to claw Lou Brock singled, Curt Flood singled scoring Brock, Orlando Cepeda doubled Flood to 3rd. The Mets bullpen got up Shannon was walked in hopes of a double play but McCarver flew out to right and Flood scored with 2 out Koosman faced Tolan again with 1st base open and the relievers ready. Instead coach Chisholm let Kooman pitch and he struck out Tolan. Staying with Kooman in the 9th it was 3 up and 3 down and the Mets won behind the pitching of Jerry Kooman who went 9 innings allowing 9 hits 2 walks and 8 strikeouts. Carlton lasted 5 1/3 innings 5 hits, 2 walks and 6 strikeouts but 5 runs. The Game MVP was Ron Swoboda 2 for 4 with 3 RBIs and 1 home run. The Mets win 5-4 and take the lead 2 games to 1.
Jim McAndrew started for the Mets expecting to face Gibson but instead Ray Washburn came to the mound for the Cardinals in the must win game. Brock singled and moved to 2nd on a fielders choice. He scored on a Maris single. After 1 Cards were up 1-0. In the Mets 2nd Boswell was walked which came back to haunt the Cards with 1 out and Boswell on 2nd Buddy Harrelson singled to right center scoring Boswell. St.Louis never saw the lead again. In the 3rd the Mets would take the lead with Jones singling advancing to 2nd on a hit and run, Jerry Grote you have to believe singled scoring Jones. That would be the GWRBI. In the 4th Agee lead off with a solo home run 348 feet down the left field line. Ed Kranepool doubled and would score when Jones doubled off the wall. It was now 4-1 Mets. In the 5th Grote singled. With 2 out Agee blasts a 383 foot shot over left. The Mets up 6-1 after 5. In the 7th the Cards threatened comeback with 1 out Maxvill and Tolan singled and Brock advanced them with a flyout. McAndrew gave Flood a free pass to load them up to face Roger Maris who would ground out to end the side. In the 8th they would try again with one out McCarver doubled knowing McAndrew was tiring and having not used a relief pitcher yet this series the Mets did not want any chance of a St. Louis comeback to force a 5th and deciding game. Cal Koonce was called in he grounded out Shannon and struck out Julian Javier. In the ninth he got Maxvill and Joe Hague to groundout, Brock then singled to left and Flood grounded out. McAndrew went 7 1/3 innings allowing 9 hits 2 strikeouts and 1 walk for the win, Washburn went 4 2/3 innings with 9 hits 1 strikeout and 1 walk for the loss. The Game MVP was Tommy Agee with 2 home runs and 3 RBIs and Jerry Grote was 3 for 4 on the day and 7 for 15 in the series. The Mets win the series 3 games to 1.
Afterwards facing the press the Cardinals Manager faced the Mets manager and said "Couldn't get those timely hits...the 68 Cards relied on pitching which I didn't get this series. No power hitters so when I got behind that was not good. You got both great pitching and timely hits, especially from Grote."
Thanks to Erik for the great series, it was a close series the difference as he said timely hitting and pitching. St. Louis left 37 runners on base where as the New York Mets left only 19. Hits were even with 33 for the Cardinals and 35 for the Mets.
--submitted by Robert Chisholm--