August 10, 1989: Darling Stifles Cards in DH Opener

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Date: August 10, 1989
Mets starter: Ron Darling
Mets: 5
Cardinals: 1
Winning pitcher: Ron Darling
Key player(s): Ron Darling, Keith Miller, Kevin McReynolds
Key play: McReynolds’ home run, Miller’s double

The Mets faced the Cardinals in a doubleheader on a Thursday evening at Shea Stadium. In the opener of the twinbill, Ron Darling took the mound for the home team. Darling pitched a complete game as the Mets defeated St. Louis, 5-1.

Following a scoreless first inning, Darling shut down the Redbirds again in the top of the second. Kevin McReynolds hit a home run to lead off the bottom half. Dave Magadan singled and Mackey Sasser flied out to right fielder Tom Brunansky. Kevin Elster drew a walk and Darling singled to load the bases. Keith Miller hit a double to drive home Magadan and Elster for a 3-0 Mets lead. Juan Samuel was hit by a pitch and Howard Johnson popped out to shortstop Ozzie Smith. Cardinals’ starter Jose DeLeon then retired Darryl Strawberry on a fly ball to center fielder Milt Thompson to end the inning.

To begin the top of the third, Tony Pena reached on an error by second baseman Miller. A sacrifice bunt by DeLeon moved Pena to second base and Vince Coleman grounded out to shortstop Elster. Smith hit a double to score Pena with the Cards’ first run of the game. Darling got Thompson on a ground ball to Elster that closed out the inning. DeLeon then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Consecutive single by Pedro Guerrero and Terry Pendleton opened the top of the fourth. Jose Oquendo flied out to center fielder Samuel and a strikeout of Brunansky followed. Darling retired Pena on a fly ball to right fielder Strawberry for the inning’s third out. DeLeon set down the Mets in order in the bottom half and began the top of the fifth with a single to left field. Coleman hit a force play grounder to first baseman Magadan and advanced to second on a balk. Smith flied out to Strawberry for the second out and Thompson was hit by a pitch. Darling got Guerrero to fly out to Strawberry and end the inning. DeLeon then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Oquendo and Brunansky got back-to-back singles with one out in the top of the sixth inning. Darling fanned pinch-hitter Denny Walling and retired DeLeon on a ground ball back to the mound for the final out. DeLeon set down the Mets 1-2-3 in the bottom half and Darling pitched a perfect top of the seventh. To begin the bottom of the inning, Elster drew a walk and moved to second base on Darling’s sacrifice bunt. DeLeon then got Miller to pop out to Smith and fanned Samuel for the third out.

Darling held the Cardinals to a single by Guerrero in the top of the eighth. Johnson doubled to lead off the bottom half. Strawberry’s ground out to second baseman Oquendo moved Johnson to third and McReynolds drew a walk. Against St. Louis reliever Ken Dayley, pinch-hitter Tim Teufel hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Johnson. With pinch-hitter Gary Carter at the plate against the Redbirds’ Dan Quisenberry, McReynolds stole second. Carter followed with a single that brought home McReynolds with the Mets’ fifth run. Quisenberry then retired Elster on a line drive to Thompson to end the inning.

Tom Pagnozzi grounded out to third baseman Johnson to start the top of the ninth. John Morris was retired on a pop-up to Miller. Darling then got Coleman to line out to Samuel and end the game. The Mets had a victory on Ron’s complete game to begin the doubleheader.