April 8, 1986: Opening Day Win in Pittsburgh

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Date: April 8, 1986
Mets starter: Dwight Gooden
Mets: 4
Pirates: 2
Winning pitcher: Dwight Gooden
Key player(s): Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez
Key play: Hernandez's double in first, Strawberry's & Foster's doubles in 6th

The Mets started the season on a sunny Tuesday afternoon in Pittsburgh. Dwight Gooden pitched a six-hit complete game over the Pirates. The Mets won by a score of 4-2.

In the first inning, the Mets got two runs off Pittsburgh starter Rick Reuschel. Len Dykstra led off with a walk and scored on Keith Hernandez's double with one out. Hernandez advanced to third base on the throw home and scored on a sacrifice fly by Gary Carter. For the Pirates, R. J. Reynolds homered off Gooden in the bottom of the inning to make it a 2-1 game.

Gooden and Reuschel kept the teams scoreless from the second inning to the fifth. In the top of the sixth, Darryl Strawberry and George Foster led off with back-to-back doubles for another Mets run. Reynolds then led off the bottom half with a double and came around to score on two ground outs.

Hernandez singled off Pirate reliever Pat Clements to score Dykstra in the seventh inning. Gooden then retired the side in order and did so again in the eighth. In the bottom of the ninth, Pittsburgh had runners on second and third base with one out when Gooden struck out Steve Kemp and got Tony Pena on a comeback grounder to end the game. Dwight and the Mets began the season with a victory.

Other Notes: The game was the Major League managing debut for Pittsburgh's Jim Leyland. The ballpark organist frequently played "Hava Nagila" to entertain the crowd.