April 19, 1990: Hojo's Double Lifts Mets Over Cubs

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Date: April 19, 1990
Mets starter: Dwight Gooden
Mets: 4
Cubs: 1
Winning pitcher: Dwight Gooden
Key player(s): Dwight Gooden, Howard Johnson, John Franco
Key play: Johnson’s double

The Mets faced the Cubs on a Thursday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. Howard Johnson hit a tie-breaking, two-run double in a 4-1 Mets win over Chicago.

Dwight Gooden and the Cubs’ Mike Harkey each pitched one-hit scoreless ball from the first inning to the third. Gooden hurled a scoreless top of the fourth and Keith Miller drew a walk to open the bottom half. Johnson grounded out to first baseman Mark Grace and Darryl Strawberry was given an intentional walk. Mark Carreon was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Dave Magadan followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Miller for a 1-0 Mets lead. Barry Lyons walked to reload the bases and Harkey got Kevin Elster on a force play ground ball to second baseman Ryne Sandberg for the inning’s third out.

To begin the top of the fifth, Joe Girardi was hit by a pitch and stole second base. Girardi advanced to third on Harkey’s sacrifice bunt and scored the tying run on a single by Jerome Walton. With Sandberg at bat, Walton stole second and advanced to third on Gooden’s errant pickoff throw. Gooden then retired Sandberg on a grounder to first baseman Magadan and threw a called third strike past Dwight Smith to end the inning.

Gregg Jefferies got a one-out single against Harkey in the bottom of the fifth. Jefferies went to second base on catcher Girardi’s passed ball and Miller drew a walk. Johnson connected for a double to bring home Jefferies and Miller for a 3-1 Mets lead. Chicago reliever Paul Assenmacher retired Strawberry on a ground ball to shortstop Shawon Dunston and struck out Carreon to finish off the inning. Gooden yielded only a single to Grace in the top of the sixth. Assenmacher then set down the side in order in the bottom half.

Gooden retired the Cubs 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh. Assenmacher struck out the side in order in the bottom of the inning and Mets’ reliever John Franco surrendered just a walk to Grace in the top of the eighth. Strawberry drew a walk against Chicago’s Jeff Pico with one out in the bottom half. Carreon reached second base on Dunston’s error and an intentional walk to Magadan loaded the bases. With Lyons at the plate, Strawberry came home on a wild pitch for the Mets’ fourth run of the game. Pico then got Lyons to pop out to Grace and threw a called third strike past Elster to end the inning.

Domingo Ramos took a called third strike to begin the top of the ninth. Dunston also went down on strikes. Franco then retired Girardi on a line drive to right fielder Strawberry to bring the game to an end. The Mets had a series-closing victory.