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Mets Knock Giants Out of First Place

May 15, 1964 - The Amazin’ Mets went 3,000 miles to work today and casually knocked the Giants out of first place, 4-2. Jim Hickman, a last-minute sub in the lineup, crashed a homer for the first two runs.

After Frisco had knotted it, Charley Smith singled home the other two off reliever Don Larsen in the eighth, and Philly, who beat Houston today, 4-0, at Colt Stadium, moved to the top of the National League standings.

The game was spiced by knockdown and brushback pitches. First, Tracy Stallard decked Willie Mays, then Frisco reliever Bob Bolin mildly clipped Stallard with a pitch. That seemed to balance things to everyone’s satisfaction, and there were no fights, no harsh words, not even an umpirical warning.

The long-awaited Stallard-Duke Snider confrontation occurred with one out in the fifth and Giants on first and third. When Duke was sold to the Giants, there were harsh words in the press — with Stallard accusing Snider of not having hustled for the Mets.

Now, for the first time, they faced each other — but not for long. Snider rifled the first pitch into right for an RBI single, and the score became 2-2 as José Pagan scored on Chuck Hiller’s groundout to first. With Snider on third, Mays flied to deep center for the third out.

The victory went to Larry Bearnarth for one inning of relief. He went out for a pinch hitter during the Mets’ winning inning, and young Bill Wakefield provided protection for the final two frames.

“It was quite a thrill pitching to Mays, Cepeda, and McCovey,” said Wakefield afterward. “The breaks were going my way in getting them out.” He ended the game with a flourish, fanning Matty Alou. “I’ll remember Candlestick in my dreams,” he added with a smile.

Manager Casey Stengel, approaching 74, did a happy dance as he walked off the field with his third straight victory. “We hit and they didn’t,” he said. “I thought we should have had more runs — about six more.”

Told his club had knocked the Giants out of first place, the old man said: “I guess we’ll take over — if we can win about 20 more in a row.”

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