Sunday April 18, 1971- The Pittsburgh Pirates finished up a ten game road trip with 5 wins and 5 loses- as they split a scheduled Sunday afternoon doubleheader at Shea Stadium against the NY Mets. The Mets won the first game 5 -2 with the Pirates earning the split in game 2- with a 2-1 victory.
- Game 1- 1:05 pm start. Luke Walker 1-0 going for the Pirates with Gary Gentry 0-2 for the Mets. Time of Game: 2 hours 9 minutes.
- Gary Gentry went the distance for the Mets holding the Pirates down to one hit- a Roberto Clemente triple in the 6th inning. The Pirates scored 2 runs in that inning on the one hit. Richie Hebner had walked before Clemente tripled- and Clemente would score on a sacrifice fly by Willie Stargell.
- For the Mets Cleon Jones was the hitting star going 2 for 3 with a home run and 3 RBI’s.
- Pirate starter Luke Walker pitched 7 innings -gave up 3 earned runs- 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 12.
- Game 2- The Pirates bats were still rather quiet but they got a great pitching performance from Bob Johnson who went the distance- giving up 6 hits- walking 5- but gave up one unearned run- striking out 6.
- The two Pirates runs- shortstop Gene Alley hit a home run in the 6th off of Mets starter Jim McAndrew.
- In the Top of the 9th with the score 1-1- with Richie Hebner on second Willie Stargell singled him in with what would be the deciding run in the Pirates 2-1 win.
- Attendance for the doubleheader at Shea Stadium- 41,905. Time of the second game- 2 hours 43 minutes.
A dozen games into the season the Pirates record stands at 7-5 tied for first place. They are off on Monday before starting a 12 game home stand from April 20-May 2 against teams from the Western Division- Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.
- A 7-5 record at this early point in the season actually not all that bad for the Pirates when you consider 10 of their first dozen games were on the road -and as it would turn out in the 1970’s the Pirates were notoriously slow starters- April was rarely a good month for them and as a fan you knew once the weather warmed up that the Pirates would too. The classic example would be in 1979 when they won their last World Series. The Pirates were 7-11 in April and as late as July 7th that year they were just 40-37 and 7 1/2 games out of first place. They would end up 98-64- going 58 and 27 after July 7th in 1979.