April 12, 1988: Darling Shuts Out Expos in Home Opener

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Date: April 12, 1988
Mets starter: Ron Darling
Mets: 3
Expos: 0
Winning pitcher: Ron Darling
Key player(s): Ron Darling, Darryl Strawberry, Howard Johnson
Key play: Strawberry's home run, Johnson's two-run single

A crowd of 48,719 was on hand at Shea Stadium for the Mets' first home game of the season. Ron Darling made the fans happy by pitching a five-hit shutout. The Mets defeated the Expos, 3-0.

In the top of the first inning, Tim Raines led off with a single for Montreal. Darling followed up with a strikeout of Mitch Webster and got Hubie Brooks to hit into a double play. Ron shut down the Expos in the second inning, yielding only a double to Andres Galarraga. The Mets then scored three times against Montreal starter Pascual Perez on Darryl Strawberry's home run and a single by Howard Johnson on which Kevin McReynolds and Gary Carter came home in the bottom of the second.

In the top of the third, Darling got Brooks for an inning-ending force play grounder after allowing two singles. Ron walked Tim Wallach to begin the fourth and retired the next three batters. Darling then kept the Expos hitless from the fifth to the seventh, issuing only a walk to Webster.

For the Mets, Len Dykstra and Keith Hernandez singled in the bottom of the seventh inning. With one out, Montreal reliever Bob McClure retired Strawberry on a liner to right field, which advanced Dykstra to third base. McReynolds came up next against Andy McGaffigan and popped out to shortstop, ending the scoring chance. Darling then held down the Expos in the top of the eighth, allowing only a single to pinch-hitter Herm Winningham.

In the ninth, Darling kept the Expos scoreless to end the game. Ron had a complete game shutout victory in the Mets' home opener. It would be the first of four shutouts for Darling on the season.