August 3, 1985: Keith and Hojo Stymie Cubs

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Date: August 3, 1985
Mets starter: Ron Darling
Mets: 5
Cubs: 4
Winning pitcher: Jesse Orosco
Key player(s): Wally Backman, Keith Hernandez, Howard Johnson
Key play: Hernandez’s double, Johnson’s home run

The Mets faced the Cubs on a Saturday afternoon in Chicago. The team played the second of four games in an overlapping weekend series. Keith Hernandez and Howard Johnson came through with some late clutch hitting for a 5-4 Mets win in 10 innings.

Ron Darling and the Cubs’ Dick Ruthven each started the game with two scoreless innings pitched. Darling hit a double to lead off the top of the third. Ron advanced to third base on Lenny Dykstra’s ground out to second baseman Ryne Sandberg and scored on a single by Wally Backman. Hernandez singled and Gary Carter lined out to Sandberg, who threw to shortstop Larry Bowa for an out on Backman and an inning-ending double play. Darling then retired the side in order in the bottom half.

Ruthven hurled a perfect top of the fourth. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Ron Cey reached second base on an error by third baseman Ray Knight. Jody Davis drew a walk and Bowa went down on strikes. Ruthven reached on shortstop Rafael Santana’s error that brought home Cey and moved Davis to third. A wild pitch scored Davis for a 2-1 Chicago lead. Dave Lopes drew a walk and Ruthven was caught stealing on catcher Carter’s throw to Knight for the inning’s final out.

Ruthven yielded just a single to Darling in the top of the fifth. Ron set down the Cubs 1-2-3 in the bottom half and Hernandez singled to open the top of the sixth. Carter was retired on a fly ball to left fielder Gary Matthews. Darryl Strawberry hit a triple to drive home Hernandez and tie the game. George Foster drew a walk and Knight followed with a force play ground ball to Bowa. On Sandberg’s ensuing throw in an attempt for a double play, first baseman Richie Hebner made an error that allowed Strawberry to score for a 3-2 Mets lead. Ruthven retired Santana on an inning-ending grounder to Bowa. Darling then gave up only a single to Hebner in the bottom half.

Darling singled against Ruthven for his third hit of the game to lead off the top of the seventh. Dykstra hit a double play ground ball to Hebner and a single by Backman ensued. With Cubs’ reliever Ron Meridith on the mound facing Hernandez, Backman stole second base. Meridith got Hernandez to ground out to Hebner and finish off the inning. Darling then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Strawberry got a one-out double against Chicago reliever Dave Gumpert in the top of the eighth. Foster was struck out and Johnson was given an intentional walk. Gumpert retired pinch-hitter Rusty Staub on a pop-up to Sandberg to close out the inning and Hebner walked against Darling with one out in the bottom half. Cey hit a single and Davis drew a walk that loaded the bases. Pinch-hitter Chris Speier got a bunt single off the Mets’ Jesse Orosco to bring home Hebner with the tying run. On the play, first baseman Hernandez made an error that allowed Cey to score and put the Cubs ahead, 4-3. Gary Woods lined out to Hernandez, who then stepped on the base for an out on Speier and an inning-ending double play.

Cubs’ reliever Lee Smith retired Danny Heep on a grounder to Sandberg to begin the top of the ninth. Dykstra flied out to center fielder Lopes and a single by Backman kept the Mets’ chances alive. Hernandez hit a double to bring home Backman and tie the game at 4-4. Smith got Carter to fly out to Lopes and end the inning. Orosco then pitched a perfect bottom half to send the game onward.

Chicago reliever George Frazier struck out Strawberry to start the top of the 10th. Pinch-hitter Clint Hurdle was retired on a grounder to Sandberg. Johnson followed with a homer to put the Mets ahead by a run. Frazier got Ron Gardenhire on an inning-ending fly ball to right fielder Keith Moreland. To begin the bottom half, New York’s Roger McDowell got Moreland to ground out to shortstop Gardenhire. McDowell threw two called strikes past Hebner, who argued the calls and was ejected by home plate umpire Harry Wendelstedt. Pinch-hitter Steve Lake was at the plate for the completion of a strikeout charged to Hebner. McDowell then retired Cey on a fly ball to center fielder Dykstra to bring the game to an end. The Mets had a comeback victory in extra innings.