April 22, 1988: Darling Blanks Redbirds

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Date: April 22, 1988
Mets starter: Ron Darling
Mets: 4
Cardinals: 0
Winning pitcher: Ron Darling
Key player(s): Ron Darling, Kevin McReynolds, Howard Johnson
Key play: McReynolds’ single, Johnson’s home run

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Friday night in St. Louis. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Ron Darling pitched a shutout in a 4-0 Mets win over the Redbirds.

After a scoreless first inning, Darryl Strawberry doubled against Cards’ starter Jose DeLeon to lead off the top of the second. Kevin McReynolds hit a single to drive home Strawberry for a 1-0 Mets lead. On his own hit, McReynolds was out on a relay throw by third baseman Terry Pendleton to second baseman Tommy Herr. Gary Carter went down on strikes and Howard Johnson drew a walk. DeLeon retired Kevin Elster on a foul pop-up to catcher Tony Pena for the third out of the inning. Darling then gave up only a single to Jose Oquendo in the bottom half.

Darling and Lenny Dykstra got back-to-back singles to begin the top of the third. Tim Teufel fouled out to first baseman Bob Horner and strikeouts of Keith Hernandez and Darryl Strawberry ended the inning. Darling set down the Cardinals on three straight ground balls to second baseman Teufel in the bottom half and DeLeon hurled a perfect top of the fourth. Herr drew a walk to open the bottom of the inning. Pendleton grounded to shortstop Elster for a double play and Horner singled to left field. Darling then got Oquendo to fly out to left fielder McReynolds and finish off the inning.

DeLeon yielded only a double to Dykstra in the top of the fifth. Vince Coleman hit a single with two outs in the bottom half. Coleman went to second base on a balk and stole third. Ozzie Smith drew a walk and stole second. Darling retired Willie McGee on a fly ball to McReynolds for the inning’s final out and DeLeon set down the Mets in order in the top of the sixth. Ron pitched a perfect bottom half and Elster got a two-out single in the top of the seventh. Darling grounded out to DeLeon to end the inning and a bunt single by Oquendo opened the bottom half. Pena grounded to third baseman Johnson for a double play. Darling then threw a called third strike past DeLeon to close out the inning.

DeLeon retired the Mets 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. Darling held the Redbirds to a double by Coleman in the bottom half and Strawberry doubled against DeLeon to lead off the top of the ninth. McReynolds grounded out to Pendleton and an intentional walk to Carter ensued. Johnson slugged a homer against St. Louis reliever Todd Worrell to increase the Mets’ lead to four runs. Elster was retired on a fly ball to right fielder Curt Ford. Worrell then threw a called third strike past Darling to end the inning.

Pendleton was called out on strikes to begin the bottom of the ninth. Horner flied out to right fielder Strawberry. Darling then got Oquendo to line out to center fielder Dykstra and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a victory on Ron’s shutout.