April 29, 1986: Mets Come Back to Defeat Braves

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Date: April 29, 1986
Mets starter: Ron Darling
Mets: 10
Braves: 5
Winning pitcher: Bruce Berenyi
Key player(s): Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, Wally Backman
Key play: Strawberry’s home run, Hernandez’s RBI double

The Mets faced the Braves on a Tuesday night in Atlanta. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. After falling behind, the Mets rebounded and came away with a 10-5 win.

Wally Backman singled against Braves’ starter Rick Mahler with one out in the top of the first inning. Backman advanced to third base on Keith Hernandez’s single and came home on Darryl Strawberry’s ground out to Mahler. Gary Carter grounded to third baseman Ken Oberkfell for the third out and Claudell Washington drew a walk to open the bottom half. Washington stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Rafael Ramirez grounded out to second baseman Backman to score Washington and tie the game at 1-1. Mets’ starter Ron Darling then retired both Dale Murphy and Bob Horner on fly balls to left fielder George Foster to close out the inning.

Foster drew a walk to begin the top of the second. Ray Knight flied out to center fielder Murphy and a fly ball by Howard Johnson was caught by right fielder Washington. Darling and Lenny Dykstra drew consecutive walks to load the bases and Backman singled to drive home Foster for a 2-1 Mets lead. On Wally’s hit, Darling was out at home via a throw by left fielder Terry Harper to catcher Ozzie Virgil to end the inning. Ron then shut down the Braves in the bottom half.

Mahler pitched a perfect top of the third. Leading off the bottom of the inning, Washington hit a home run to retie the game. Ramirez doubled and advanced to third base as Omar Moreno reached on a wild pitch third strike. Horner grounded out to shortstop Johnson to bring home Ramirez and put the Braves ahead, 3-2. Harper was retired on a fly ball to right fielder Strawberry, who then threw to third baseman Knight for an out on Moreno and an inning-ending double play.

Mahler hurled a scoreless top of the fourth. Oberkfell drew a walk against Darling to open the bottom half. Virgil flied out to Strawberry and a strikeout of Glenn Hubbard ensued. Mahler hit a double to score Oberkfell and moved to third base on catcher Carter’s passed ball. Washington walked and Ramirez singled to drive home Mahler for a 5-2 Atlanta lead. Mets’ reliever Bruce Berenyi then struck out Moreno to finish off the inning.

Backman got a bunt single against Mahler to begin the top of the fifth. Hernandez doubled to score Backman and went to third base on Strawberry’s ground out to second baseman Hubbard. Carter followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Hernandez and reduce the Braves’ lead to 5-4. Foster singled and advanced to third on a single by Knight. Atlanta reliever Craig McMurtry struck out Johnson to end the inning. Berenyi then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Backman got a two-out single in the top of the sixth. Hernandez drew a walk and Strawberry slugged a three-run homer to give the Mets a 7-5 lead. McMurtry retired Carter on a pop-up to shortstop Ramirez for the inning’s third out and Virgil singled against Mets’ reliever Terry Leach to lead off the bottom half. Hubbard and pinch-hitter Chris Chambliss were retired on fly balls to Foster and a walk to Washington followed. Leach then got Ramirez to fly out to Strawberry and finish off the inning.

Knight hit a double against Braves’ reliever Duane Ward to begin the top of the seventh. Johnson doubled to drive home Knight and a strikeout of pinch-hitter Danny Heep ensued. Dykstra hit a single to score Johnson and extend the Mets’ lead to 9-5. Lenny stole second base and Ward retired Backman on an inning-ending ground ball to Ramirez. Mets’ reliever Roger McDowell then set down the side in order in the bottom half.

Hernandez doubled against Atlanta reliever Paul Assenmacher to open the top of the eighth. Strawberry grounded out to Assenmacher, who followed up with a strikeout of Carter. Hernandez moved to third base on a balk and came home with the Mets’ tenth run as Foster reached on an error by Oberkfell. Assenmacher got Knight to hit a force play grounder to Oberkfell and close out the inning. McDowell then retired all three batters on infield ground balls in the bottom half.

Braves’ reliever Gene Garber hurled a scoreless top of the ninth. Billy Sample went down on strikes to lead off the bottom of the inning. McDowell then fanned Washington and got Ramirez on a fly ball to Strawberry that ended the game. The Mets had a comeback victory to start the series.