August 25, 1981: Mookie Hits Winning Homer in 8th

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Date: August 25, 1981
Mets starter: Greg Harris
Mets: 2
Astros: 1
Winning pitcher: Mike Marshall
Key player(s): Mookie Wilson
Key play: Wilson’s home run

The Mets faced the Astros on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams began a three-game series with a two-hour and 32-minute game. Mookie Wilson hit a home run to break an eighth-inning tie and give the Mets a 2-1 win over Houston.

Greg Harris and Astros’ starter Nolan Ryan each pitched a perfect first inning. In the top of the second, Jose Cruz led off with a single and went to second base on a balk. Harris struck out Cesar Cedeno and retired Art Howe on a fly ball to center fielder Wilson. Alan Ashby walked and a single by Joe Pittman scored Cruz. Ryan then took a called third strike to end the inning and shut down the Mets in the bottom half.

The Astros failed to score against Harris after loading the bases in the top of the third. Ryan pitched a perfect bottom of the inning and neither team scored in the fourth. Harris fanned Denny Walling and Cruz to end a 1-2-3 top of the fifth. Dave Kingman led off the bottom half with a walk and advanced to third when Ellis Valentine reached on shortstop Craig Reynolds’ error. Following an out, John Stearns hit a single to bring home Kingman. Ryan then retired Doug Flynn and pinch-hitter Mike Cubbage for the final outs of the inning.

Mets’ reliever Ray Searage pitched a scoreless top of the sixth. Ryan retired the Mets in order in the bottom of the inning and began the top of the seventh with a single to right field. Searage struck out Tony Scott and set down the next two Houston batters on infield line drives. Lee Mazzilli drew a two-out walk in the bottom half and Stearns singled. Pinch-hitter Rusty Staub walked to load the bases. Ryan then struck out pinch-hitter Mike Jorgensen to end the inning.

For the Mets in the top of the eighth, Mike Marshall pitched a perfect inning. Wilson started the bottom half with a home run off the Astros’ Joe Sambito to put New York ahead. Frank Taveras grounded out to Reynolds and Hubie Brooks singled. Kingman struck out and Valentine reached on an error by Reynolds for the second time in the game. Sambito then fanned Mazzilli for the third out.

Ashby grounded out to shortstop Taveras to begin the top of the ninth inning. Pittman hit a grounder to first baseman Kingman on which Marshall took the throw for the second out. Pinch-hitter Harry Spilman then flied out to right fielder Valentine to end the game. The Mets had a victory to start the series.