April 28, 1985: Mets Win in 18 Innings

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Date: April 28, 1985
Mets starter: Roger McDowell
Mets: 5
Pirates: 4
Winning pitcher: Tom Gorman
Key player(s): Darryl Strawberry, Tom Gorman, Clint Hurdle
Key play: Strawberry's grand slam, Carter's throw to Orosco, Thompson's error

The Mets and Pirates faced each other on a Sunday afternoon at Shea Stadium. It was a 5-hour and 21-minute battle that featured a lot of action. In the end, the Mets came out with a 5-4 win in 18 innings.

In the top of the first, Mets' starter Roger McDowell picked off Pittsburgh's Johnny Ray for the last out of the inning. In the bottom half, Howard Johnson singled before Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter drew walks from Pirate starter Mike Bielecki to load the bases. Darryl Strawberry followed up with a grand slam to give the Mets a 4-0 lead.

George Hendrick homered off McDowell in the top of the second inning. Roger then kept the Pirates hitless from the third to the fifth. Meanwhile, the Mets were also held without a hit by Bielecki and Pittsburgh reliever Al Holland.

In the top of the sixth, Bill Madlock and Jason Thompson got back-to-back doubles off McDowell with one out to score a run. Reliever Calvin Schiraldi struck out Hendrick, but then gave up a two-run homer to Tony Pena to tie the game, 4-4. After two more Pirate hits, Schiraldi retired Jim Morrison to end the inning.

Relievers Joe Sambito and Doug Sisk shut down the Pirates in the seventh and eighth innings. Pittsburgh's Rod Scurry retired the Mets with two innings of perfect relief. In the bottom of the eighth, the Mets loaded the bases on three walks before John Candelaria got pinch-hitter Kelvin Chapman on a fly ball for the final out of the inning.

The Pirates had the bases loaded with none out in the top of the ninth. Sisk was then relieved by Jesse Orosco, who struck out Ray and got Madlock to line out to shortstop Rafael Santana. With Thompson at the plate, Orosco threw a pitch that got past catcher Carter. As Rafael Belliard came running from third base, Gary grabbed the ball and threw to Orosco covering home. Jesse tagged Belliard for the final out of the inning. Candelaria then pitched a hitless bottom half to send the game to extra innings.

In the tenth, the Pirates had runners on first and second base with two out. Pinch-hitter Bill Almon singled to left field. Hendrick tried to score on the hit, but was thrown out at home by Clint Hurdle. Pirates' reliever Cecilio Guante then retired the Mets in order, keeping them without a hit for the ninth straight inning.

Orosco and Guante each pitched a perfect 11th. Tom Gorman came in to pitch for the Mets and retired Pittsburgh with no runs in the 12th. In the inning, Rusty Staub came into the game to play right field, but switched positions with left fielder Hurdle. This action would happen continuously for the rest of the game.

Hitless for the previous ten innings, the Mets got a leadoff single from Santana in the bottom of the 12th. Staub followed with a double and Wally Backman walked to load the bases with none out. Guante then got Ray Knight to hit a ground ball to shortstop Almon, who threw home for a force out on Santana. Catcher Pena threw to first base to double up Knight. Following an intentional walk to Hernandez, Carter lined out to Almon to end the inning.

After a scoreless 13th, the Pirates put runners on first and third with one out against Gorman in the top of the 14th. Madlock hit a ground ball to third baseman Knight, who threw to Carter for an out at home on Doug Froebel. After a wild pitch and a walk to Thompson, Gorman got Hendrick to hit a foul pop-up. Reaching into the seats, Carter made the catch to end the inning. Gary also put an end to a Pittsburgh scoring chance by throwing out Pena stealing in the top of the 15th.

Both teams were held hitless in the 16th and 17th innings. In the 18th, Gorman completed his seventh scoreless inning. The final out was recorded when the Pirates' Rick Rhoden (a pitcher who was pinch-hitting) hit an opposite field fly ball on which Staub made a running catch in right field. It was a noteworthy play by the 41-year-old Rusty, who manager Davey Johnson kept having switch with Hurdle between left and right field (depending on the handedness of the batter) in an effort to keep him from having to chase batted balls.

Pirates' reliever Lee Tunnell walked Carter to open the bottom of the 18th inning. Strawberry followed with a single to move pinch-runner Mookie Wilson to third base. Hurdle then hit a ball to first base that got past Thompson for an error. Wilson came home to score the winning run. The Mets had a victory after a long day.