April 7, 1988: Four-Run 5th Beats Expos

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Date: April 7, 1988
Mets starter: Bob Ojeda
Mets: 8
Expos: 5
Winning pitcher: Bob Ojeda
Key player(s): Keith Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Carter
Key play: Hernandez’s singles, Strawberry’s and Carter’s home runs

The Mets faced the Expos on a Thursday night in Montreal. The teams played the finale of a season-opening three-game series. The Mets scored four runs in the fifth inning for an 8-5 win.

Mookie Wilson tripled against Expos’ starter Neal Heaton to lead off the top of the first. Lee Mazzilli fouled out to catcher Mike Fitzgerald and a single by Keith Hernandez drove home Wilson. Darryl Strawberry drew a walk and Gary Carter flied out to right fielder Hubie Brooks. Howard Johnson drew a walk to load the bases and Tim Teufel walked to force home Hernandez. Kevin Elster got an infield single to bring home Strawberry for a 3-0 Mets lead. On the play, Teufel got caught off base and was tagged out by second baseman Casey Candaele to end the inning. Mets’ starter Bob Ojeda then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Heaton gave up only a single to Ojeda in the top of the second. Tim Wallach singled to begin the bottom of the inning. Andres Galarraga went down on strikes and Fitzgerald drew a walk. Luis Rivera took a called third strike and Candaele walked to load the bases. Heaton hit a single to score Wallach and Fitzgerald, cutting the Mets’ lead to 3-2. Tim Raines then grounded back to Ojeda for the inning’s third out.

Carter homered for the Mets’ fourth run with two outs in the top of the third. Howard Johnson flied out to left fielder Raines to end the inning and Ojeda yielded just a single to Mitch Webster in the bottom half. Heaton set down the side in order in the top of the fourth and Fitzgerald reached on shortstop Elster’s error with one out in the bottom of the inning. Rivera followed with a double to drive home Fitzgerald. Candaele singled to plate Rivera and tie the game at 4-4. Heaton laid down a bunt on which first baseman Hernandez threw to Elster for an out at second base on Candaele. Ojeda then retired Raines on a fly ball to center fielder Wilson to close out the inning.

Wilson drew a walk to open the top of the fifth. Mookie advanced to second base on Mazzilli’s ground out to third baseman Wallach and scored the go-ahead run on Hernandez’s single. Strawberry slugged a two-run homer and Heaton was replaced on the mound by Montreal reliever Andy McGaffigan. Carter greeted McGaffigan with his second homer of the game for an 8-4 Mets lead. Howard Johnson was struck out and McGaffigan got Teufel on an inning-ending ground ball to Wallach. Ojeda then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

McGaffigan yielded only a single to Ojeda in the top of the sixth. Bob surrendered just a walk to Fitzgerald in the bottom of the inning and the Mets failed to score after loading the bases against Expos’ reliever Jeff Parrett in the top of the seventh. Ojeda retired all three batters in the bottom half and Parrett gave up just a walk to Mazzilli in the top of the eighth. New York’s Roger McDowell pitched a perfect bottom of the inning and Strawberry singled against Montreal’s Randy St. Claire to lead off the top of the ninth. Carter popped out to shortstop Rivera and a called third strike was thrown past Howard Johnson. Strawberry moved to second base on a balk and Teufel drew a walk. St. Claire then fanned Elster for the third out of the inning.

Rivera drew a walk to begin the bottom of the ninth. Candaele reached on a fielder’s choice ground ball and pinch-hitter Wallace Johnson reached on McDowell’s error to load the bases. Raines hit a force play grounder to third baseman Howard Johnson to bring home Rivera with the Expos’ fifth run. Raines stole second base and Webster fouled out to catcher Carter. McDowell then retired Brooks on a pop-up to Elster that ended the game. The Mets had a victory to finish off the first series of the season.