April 21, 1986: Mets Come Back for Win Over Pirates

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Date: April 21, 1986
Mets starter: Rick Aguilera
Mets: 6
Pirates: 5
Winning pitcher: Roger McDowell
Key player(s): Gary Carter, Ray Knight, Tim Teufel
Key play: Carter’s homer and RBI single, Knight’s home run, Teufel’s double in 9th

The Mets and Pirates faced each other on a Monday night. The teams played the opener of a series at Shea Stadium. The Mets came from behind three times for a 6-5 win over Pittsburgh.

Leading off the top of the first inning, R. J. Reynolds doubled against Mets’ starter Rick Aguilera. Joe Orsulak flied out to right fielder Darryl Strawberry and a single by Johnny Ray brought home Reynolds with the first run of the game. Aguilera retired Sid Bream on a fly ball to left fielder George Foster and got Mike Brown with a called third strike to end the inning. The Mets had the bases loaded with one out against the Bucs’ Larry McWilliams in the bottom half. McWilliams then struck out Strawberry and got Foster on a force play grounder to third baseman Jim Morrison for the inning’s final out.

Aguilera fanned Tony Pena to begin the top of the second. Morrison followed with a home run and Sam Khalifa went down on strikes. McWilliams lined out to third baseman Ray Knight to end the inning and set down the Mets in order in the bottom half. Ray got a two-out single in the top of the third. Trying to score on Bream’s ensuing double, Ray was out at home via a throw by Strawberry to catcher Gary Carter to finish off the inning.

McWilliams retired Kevin Mitchell and Tim Teufel on foul pop-ups to first baseman Bream to open the bottom of the third. Keith Hernandez was hit by a pitch and Carter homered to tie the game at 2-2. Strawberry hit a ground ball to second baseman Ray for the third out. Aguilera and McWilliams then pitched one-hit scoreless ball in the fourth and fifth innings.

Ray singled to begin the top of the sixth. Aguilera struck out Bream and yielded a two-run homer to Brown. Pena hit a double and Morrison popped out to shortstop Rafael Santana. Khalifa grounded out to Santana to end the inning. McWilliams then shut down the Mets in the bottom half.

Mets’ reliever Randy Niemann set down the Pirates in order in the top of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Wally Backman singled with one out in the bottom of the inning. Mitchell hit a force play grounder back to McWilliams and advanced to third base on a double by Teufel. McWilliams got Hernandez on an inning-ending ground ball to Ray. For New York, Terry Leach pitched a scoreless top of the eighth.

Foster drew a two-out walk against Pittsburgh reliever Cecilio Guante in the bottom of the eighth inning. Knight followed with a two-run homer to tie the game. Guante got Santana on a grounder to shortstop Khalifa to end the inning and Mets’ reliever Roger McDowell issued a walk to pinch-hitter Lee Mazzilli leading off the top of the ninth. Mazzilli moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Bill Almon and to third on Reynolds’ ground out to second baseman Teufel. Orsulak singled to score Mazzilli and put the Pirates ahead, 5-4. McDowell then fanned Ray for the inning’s final out.

Lenny Dykstra singled against Bucs’ reliever Pat Clements to begin the bottom of the ninth. A sacrifice bunt by Mitchell advanced Dykstra to second base. Teufel followed with his second double of the game, scoring Dykstra with the tying run. Hernandez drew a walk and Jim Winn replaced Clements on the mound for Pittsburgh. Carter greeted Winn with a single that drove home Teufel and ended the game. The Mets had an exciting come-from-behind victory.