April 30, 1988: Disputed Play Gives Mets Win

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Date: April 30, 1988
Mets starter: Bob Ojeda
Mets: 6
Reds: 5
Winning pitcher: Randy Myers
Key player(s): Darryl Strawberry, Mookie Wilson
Key play: Strawberry’s home run, Browning’s balk, Pallone’s call in 9th

The Mets faced the Reds on a Saturday night in Cincinnati. The teams played the second of three games in a series. In controversial fashion, the Mets scored a run in the ninth inning for a 6-5 win.

Reds’ starter Tom Browning pitched a perfect top of the first. The Mets’ Bob Ojeda set down the side in order in the bottom half and Darryl Strawberry doubled to lead off the top of the second. Strawberry advanced to third base after Kevin McReynolds’ fly out to right fielder Paul O’Neill and came home on Gary Carter’s sacrifice fly. Browning retired Howard Johnson on a fly ball to left fielder Lloyd McClendon to end the inning. Ojeda then yielded only a single to Nick Esasky in the bottom half.

Browning set down all three batters in the top of the third. McClendon got a one-out single in the bottom of the inning. Browning followed with a double on which McClendon was out at home via a throw by left fielder McReynolds to catcher Carter. Barry Larkin singled to score Browning with the tying run and went to second base on a balk. Ojeda then threw a called third strike past Chris Sabo to close out the inning.

Tim Teufel hit a single to begin the top of the fourth. Teufel moved around to third base on a pair of infield ground outs and scored on McReynolds’ single for a 2-1 Mets lead. Carter singled and Johnson flied out to center fielder Eric Davis to end the inning. Ojeda retired the Reds 1-2-3 in the bottom half and singled with one out in the top of the fifth. Mookie Wilson grounded to shortstop Larkin for an inning-ending double play and Dave Concepcion hit a leadoff double in the bottom half. Concepcion advanced to third on O’Neill’s single and came home on McClendon’s double play grounder to shortstop Kevin Elster. Ojeda then got Browning to ground out to first baseman Hernandez and finish off the inning.

Teufel singled to open the top of the sixth. Hernandez hit a force play ground ball to first baseman Esasky and a home run by Strawberry put the Mets on top, 4-2. McReynolds was retired on a line drive to McClendon. Carter got hit by a pitch and Johnson popped out to Larkin to end the inning. With two outs in the bottom half, Davis drew a walk against Mets’ reliever Terry Leach. Davis stole second base and Leach fanned Esasky for the inning’s third out.

Wilson hit a two-out triple in the top of the seventh. With Teufel at bat, Browning committed a balk that brought home Wilson for a 5-2 Mets lead. Teufel got hit by a pitch and a bench-clearing brawl erupted, resulting in Browning’s and Strawberry’s ejections from the game. With Hernandez at bat, Teufel got caught by Cincinnati reliever Rob Murphy’s pickoff throw and was tagged by Larkin for the final out of the inning. Leach then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Murphy and Reds’ reliever Jose Rijo combined for a scoreless top of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Dave Collins drew a walk against the Mets’ Roger McDowell to begin the bottom of the inning. Larkin singled and Sabo lined out to center fielder Lenny Dykstra. Davis drew a walk to load the bases and Esasky singled to drive home Collins and Larkin. Against New York’s Randy Myers, pinch-hitter Tracy Jones hit a single that plated Davis and tied the game at 5-5. Myers then got Concepcion on a ground ball to second baseman Teufel for an inning-ending double play.

Johnson drew a walk against Reds’ reliever John Franco to lead off the top of the ninth. Elster’s sacrifice bunt sent Johnson to second base and Barry Lyons went down on strikes. Wilson followed with a grounder on which Larkin made a wide throw to Esasky for an error. Umpire Dave Pallone made a delayed “safe” call from which Johnson was able to score and put the Mets ahead by a run. In an argument over the play, Reds’ manager Pete Rose got poked by Pallone and retaliated by shoving the umpire. With angry Cincinnati fans littering the field in their own frustration, the game was delayed for fourteen minutes. Rose was given an ejection and Pallone also left the field of play. When the game resumed, Wilson was caught stealing on a throw by catcher McClendon (who had shifted from left) to second baseman Concepcion to end the inning.

O’Neill got an infield single to open the bottom of the ninth. McClendon popped out to Teufel and a fly ball by Collins was caught by right fielder Wilson. Myers then retired Larkin on a pop-up to Teufel for the game’s final out. The Mets had come away with a disputed victory.

Notes

  • Rose was suspended 30 games and fined $10,000 for his actions against Pallone.