April 16, 1988: Carter and Johnson Homer in 8th

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Date: April 16, 1988
Mets starter: Sid Fernandez
Mets: 6
Cardinals: 4
Winning pitcher: David Cone
Key player(s): Gary Carter, Howard Johnson
Key play: Carter’s and Johnson’s home runs

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played a nationally televised game in front of 40,582 fans on hand. Gary Carter and Howard Johnson hit back-to-back homers in the eighth inning to give the Mets a 6-4 win over St. Louis.

Sid Fernandez and the Cards’ Joe Magrane each pitched a perfect first inning. Fernandez shut down the Redbirds again in the top of the second and Darryl Strawberry drew a walk to begin the bottom half. Kevin McReynolds hit a double to left-center field and Carter grounded out to shortstop Ozzie Smith to drive home Strawberry. Johnson was retired on a ground ball to Smith for the second out and Kevin Elster reached on an error by third baseman Terry Pendleton that scored McReynolds. Magrane then walked Fernandez and got Mookie Wilson to ground out to first baseman Bob Horner and end the inning.

Fernandez retired the side in order in the top of the third. Magrane issued a walk to Tim Teufel to begin the bottom half. Against Cardinals’ reliever Scott Arnold, Keith Hernandez grounded out to Horner to move Teufel to second base. Strawberry was given an intentional walk and McReynolds singled to bring home Teufel for a 3-0 Mets lead. McReynolds stole second and Carter drew a walk. Arnold then got Johnson to hit a ground ball to second baseman Tommy Herr for an inning-ending double play.

Smith drew a leadoff walk in the top of the fourth inning. Herr singled and Horner fouled out to first baseman Hernandez. Willie McGee went down on strikes and Pendleton hit a single to load the bases. Jim Lindeman drew a walk to force home Smith with the Cards’ first run. An ensuing pop-up by Steve Lake was dropped by shortstop Elster, allowing Herr and Pendleton to score and tie the game. Fernandez retired pinch-hitter Tony Pena on a fly ball to left fielder McReynolds to close out the inning. St. Louis reliever Larry McWilliams then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

To open the top of the fifth inning, Vince Coleman homered to give the Redbirds a 4-3 lead. Smith took a called third strike and consecutive singles by Herr and Horner followed. Fernandez fanned McGee and Pendleton to end the inning and McWilliams set down the Mets in order in the bottom half. McWilliams and Mets’ reliever David Cone each hurled scoreless ball in the sixth and seventh. Cone then shut down the Cardinals in the top of the eighth inning.

McReynolds singled against St. Louis’s Todd Worrell to begin the bottom of the eighth. Carter hit a two-run homer that put the Mets ahead, 5-4. Johnson followed with another homer to extend the New York lead to two runs. Elster flied out to center fielder McGee and a fly ball by Cone was caught by left fielder Coleman. Worrell then retired Wilson on an inning-ending grounder to Smith.

To start the top of the ninth inning, Jose Oquendo singled to left field. Cone was replaced on the mound by reliever Randy Myers, who got pinch-hitter Tom Pagnozzi to hit a ground ball to second baseman Teufel for a double play. Myers then retired Tom Lawless on a grounder to Elster to end the game. The Mets had a victory with a late comeback.