August 16, 1988: Nine Runs in First Inning

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Date: August 16, 1988
Mets starter: Dwight Gooden
Mets: 13
Giants: 6
Winning pitcher: Dwight Gooden
Key player(s): Mookie Wilson, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden
Key play: Mets’ 9 runs in first inning

The Mets began a west coast road trip on a Tuesday night in San Francisco. The team faced the Giants for the first of three games at Candlestick Park. The Mets scored nine runs in the first inning and came away with a 13-6 win.

Mookie Wilson led off the game with a single and went to second base on a balk by San Francisco starter Atlee Hammaker. With one out, Keith Hernandez singled to score Wilson. Darryl Strawberry singled and advanced to second on an error by Giants’ right fielder Candy Maldonado. An intentional walk to Kevin McReynolds loaded the bases and Gary Carter’s single brought home Hernandez with Strawberry crossing the plate on left fielder Kevin Mitchell’s error. Singles by Howard Johnson and Kevin Elster scored McReynolds and Carter, respectively, for a 5-0 Mets lead. Hammaker was then replaced on the mound by Joe Price.

After striking out Dwight Gooden, Price gave up a single to Wilson that plated Johnson. An ensuing double by Tim Teufel drove in Elster and Wilson for the Mets’ seventh and eighth runs. Teufel came home when second baseman Robby Thompson mishandled Hernandez’s grounder for the third San Francisco error of the inning. Strawberry flied out to center fielder Brett Butler for the third out. Gooden then retired the Giants in order in the bottom of the inning.

Giants’ reliever Ron Davis pitched a scoreless top of the second. Mitchell led off the bottom half with a double and scored on Maldonado’s single. Bob Melvin grounded into a double play and Gooden struck out Matt Williams to end the inning. Davis and Gooden then pitched perfectly in the third.

Strawberry hit a single to open the top of the fourth inning. McReynolds followed with a home run to extend the Mets’ lead to 11-1. Davis set down the next three batters and Mitchell hit a sacrifice fly to score Thompson in the bottom half. Gooden retired the next two San Francisco batters to close out the inning and neither team scored in the fifth.

For the Giants, Jeff Brantley pitched a scoreless top of the sixth inning. Gooden set down San Francisco 1-2-3 in the bottom half. The Mets were retired in order by Brantley in the top of the seventh. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Gooden yielded singles to Melvin and Williams. Dwight then got pinch-hitter Will Clark on a called third strike for the third out.

Teufel singled off reliever Craig Lefferts to start the top of the eighth inning. Lee Mazzilli flied out and Strawberry homered to make the score 13-2. Lefferts retired McReynolds and Barry Lyons on outfield flies to end the inning. Bob McClure then came in to pitch for the Mets in the bottom half.

Ernest Riles singled to lead off the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Chris Speier hit a double on which Riles went to third base. Mike Aldrete’s ground out to first baseman Mazzilli brought home Riles and an ensuing single by Mitchell scored Speier. Maldonado followed with a home run for the Giants’ fifth and sixth runs. McClure then struck out Melvin to end the inning.

Lefferts shut down the Mets in the top of the ninth. In the bottom half, reliever Edwin Nunez retired the first two San Francisco batters. Riles hit a single and went to second on center fielder Wilson’s error. Nunez then got Donell Nixon on a fly ball to left fielder McReynolds for the game’s final out. The Mets had a decisive victory on the strength of a nine-run first inning.