April 26, 1988: Hernandez Drives in Seven Runs

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Date: April 26, 1988
Mets starter: Dwight Gooden
Mets: 13
Braves: 4
Winning pitcher: Dwight Gooden
Key player(s): Keith Hernandez, Kevin Elster, Mookie Wilson
Key play: Wilson’s double, Hernandez’s two home runs

The Mets faced the Braves on a Tuesday night in Atlanta. The teams began a two-game series before a crowd of 10,405 at Fulton-County Stadium. Keith Hernandez drove in seven runs to lead the Mets to a 13-4 win.

Braves’ starter Tom Glavine retired the Mets in order in the top of the first inning. With one out in the bottom half, right fielder Darryl Strawberry made an error that allowed Ron Gant to get all the way to third base. An ensuing double by Dale Murphy scored Gant for a 1-0 Atlanta lead. Mets’ starter Dwight Gooden retired the next two batters on ground balls to end the inning. The Mets tied the game on Gary Carter’s home run with two outs in the top of the second. Gooden then shut down the Braves in the bottom half.

Glavine pitched a scoreless top of the third inning despite a leadoff single by Kevin Elster. Gooden walked Dion James to begin the bottom half. Gant followed with a single and Murphy hit a grounder to shortstop Elster for a force play at second. Ken Griffey doubled to bring home James and Murphy and put the Braves ahead, 3-1. Gooden got Gerald Perry on a line drive to second baseman Tim Teufel. Griffey was caught off second and doubled up on Teufel’s throw to Elster for the third out.

Kevin McReynolds hit a one-out double in the top of the fourth inning. Carter drew a walk and Howard Johnson flied out to center fielder James. Elster doubled to plate McReynolds from second base. Carter tried to score from first on the hit, but was out at home on right fielder Murphy’s throw to catcher Bruce Benedict. A double by Paul Runge scored Ken Oberkfell for the fourth Atlanta run with one out in the bottom half. Glavine got an infield single to move Runge to third. Gooden then got James to hit a ground ball to Teufel for an inning-ending double play.

Glavine walked Mookie Wilson with one out in the top of the fifth inning. Teufel grounded out and Hernandez hit a home run to tie the game at 4-4. Strawberry hit a grounder to second baseman Gant for the third out. Gooden set down the Braves 1-2-3 in the bottom half. Atlanta reliever Jim Acker pitched a perfect top of the sixth. Dwight then retired the Braves in order again in the bottom of the inning.

Elster singled off Acker to begin the top of the seventh. Kevin advanced to second base on Gooden’s sacrifice bunt. Wilson hit a double to score Elster and give the Mets a 5-4 lead. Teufel singled to move Wilson to third and Paul Assenmacher came in to pitch for Atlanta. Hernandez hit a force play grounder to Gant that scored Wilson for the Mets’ sixth run. Assenmacher retired Strawberry on an inning-ending line drive to James. Gooden then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Braves’ reliever Gary Eave walked McReynolds to start the top of the eighth inning. Carter followed with a single and Johnson singled to score McReynolds from second. Elster got a single for his fourth hit of the game to bring home Carter for an 8-4 Mets lead. Eave was replaced on the mound by Charlie Puleo, who fielded Gooden’s bunt for a force out on Johnson at third. Wilson drew a walk to load the bases. Puleo then issued a walk to Teufel that forced home Elster with the Mets’ ninth run.

Hernandez hit a grand slam to make it a seven-run inning for the Mets. The slam gave Keith seven RBIs in the game and 1,000 for his career. Puleo retired Strawberry and McReynolds on consecutive outfield flies for the last two outs if the inning. The Braves failed to score against Gooden despite singles by Murphy and Perry in the bottom half. Atlanta reliever Kevin Coffman then pitched a perfect top of the ninth.

Runge and Ted Simmons hit back-to-back singles off Gooden to open the bottom of the ninth inning. James hit into a force play and Gant lined out to center fielder Wilson. On Murphy’s ground ball, third baseman Johnson threw to Teufel for a force out on James that ended the game. The Mets had a solid victory with Hernandez leading the way.