August 27, 1986: The Not-So-Routine Double Play

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Date: August 27, 1986
Mets starter: Dwight Gooden
Mets: 6
Padres: 5
Winning pitcher: Doug Sisk
Key player(s): Darryl Strawberry, Len Dykstra
Key play: Strawberry's home run, Hernandez's sacrifice fly, Mets' double play in 11th

The Mets concluded a West Coast trip on a Wednesday night in San Diego. The Padres came from behind to tie the game in the eighth and send it into extra innings. However, the Mets came away with a 6-5 victory on an unusual double play in the bottom of the 11th.

In the top of the first, the Mets scored three times against San Diego starter Ed Whitson. Len Dykstra led off with a walk and moved to second on Wally Backman's single. Keith Hernandez walked to loaded the bases and Darryl Strawberry singled to score Dykstra and Backman. Hernandez later scored when Ray Knight's grounder was misplayed by Whitson.

Hernandez reached first base on an error by Padres' shortstop Garry Templeton with one out in the third. Strawberry followed with a long home run off Whitson to extend the Mets' lead to 5-0. It was the 100th home run for Strawberry in his career.

Dwight Gooden allowed only three San Diego hits in the first five innings. In the sixth, Tony Gwynn led off with a single, but was picked off first base by Dwight. John Kruk followed with a double and scored on another double by Steve Garvey. Gooden then struck out Graig Nettles to end the inning.

The Mets failed to score in the seventh after loading the bases against Padres' reliever Andy Hawkins. In the eighth, Roger McDowell came in to relieve Gooden for the Mets. Singles by Gwynn and Kruk started the inning and a walk to Kevin McReynolds loaded the bases for San Diego. An error by Backman allowed Gwynn and Kruk to score. McDowell was then replaced by Jesse Orosco.

Orosco struck out Bruce Bochy, but then gave up a single to Carmelo Martinez that scored McReynolds. Templeton followed with another single to bring home Garvey with the tying run. Jesse retired the next two Padre hitters to finally end the inning.

San Diego's Rich Gossage set down the Mets in the ninth and tenth. Orosco and reliever Doug Sisk each retired the Padres with a perfect inning. The Mets then scored in the top of the eleventh on a sacrifice fly by Hernandez that brought home Dykstra.

Templeton doubled off Sisk to start the bottom of the 11th for San Diego. Doug then struck out pinch-hitter Craig Lefferts. Tim Flannery followed with a single to center field on which Templeton tried to score. Dykstra fielded the ball and threw home, where catcher John Gibbons made the tag on Templeton as he was knocked down. Flannery had advanced to second on the throw to the plate and then took off for third. Gibbons got to his feet and threw to Howard Johnson for the out on Flannery, completing a wild double play to end the game.

In the television broadcast booth, Mets' announcer Tim McCarver came up with a sarcastic call to describe the final outs. He said to the viewing audience, ''What a double play! Just your routine double play!" Routine or not, the Mets had a sweep of the three-game series and finished their road trip with eight wins in nine games.