August 31, 1987: Johnson Slugs Padres in 10th

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Date: August 31, 1987
Mets starter: Ron Darling
Mets: 6
Padres: 5
Winning pitcher: Jesse Orosco
Key player(s): Wally Backman, Rafael Santana, Mookie Wilson, Howard Johnson
Key play: Backman’s home run, Santana’s and Wilson’s triples, Johnson’s homer

The Mets faced the Padres on a Monday night in San Diego. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Howard Johnson hit a home run in the 10th inning to give the Mets a 6-5 win.

Ron Darling and the Padres’ Eric Show each started the game with two scoreless innings pitched. With one out in the top of the third, Wally Backman homered for a 1-0 Mets lead. Keith Hernandez went down on strikes to end the inning and Darling set down the side in order in the bottom half. Show hurled a scoreless top of the fourth and Tony Gwynn singled to open the bottom of the inning. Gwynn stole second base and Carmelo Martinez drew a walk. John Kruk hit a force play ground ball to second baseman Backman and stole second. Benito Santiago was walked intentionally to load the bases and Chris Brown followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Gwynn with the tying run. Darling then retired Garry Templeton on a fly ball to left fielder Kevin McReynolds to close out the inning.

Show hurled a perfect top of the fifth. Tim Flannery drew a walk to open the bottom half. Show reached on Darling’s error and a sacrifice bunt by Marvelle Wynne advanced the runners to second and third base. Gwynn was given an intentional walk that loaded the bases and Martinez singled to bring home Flannery. Kruk followed with a walk that forced home Show with the Padres’ third run of the game. Santiago doubled to drive home Gwynn and Martinez, increasing the San Diego lead to 5-1. Darling then struck out Brown and got Templeton on a foul pop-up to third baseman Johnson to finish off the inning.

Show yielded only a single to Darryl Strawberry in the top of the sixth. Darling held the Padres to a single by Show in the bottom half and pinch-hitter Mookie Wilson drew a two-out walk in the top of the seventh. Lenny Dykstra singled and a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third base. Backman walked to load the bases and San Diego reliever Mark Davis retired Hernandez on an inning-ending line drive to second baseman Flannery. For the Mets, relievers Randy Myers and Doug Sisk combined for a scoreless bottom half.

McReynolds reached on third baseman Brown’s error with one out in the top of the eighth. Gary Carter flied out to center fielder Shane Mack and a single by Johnson ensued. Rafael Santana followed with a triple that brought home McReynolds and Johnson. Wilson tripled to plate Santana and reduce the Padres’ lead to 5-4. Davis was replaced on the mound by San Diego reliever Lance McCullers, who made an error on pinch-hitter Lee Mazzilli’s grounder that allowed Wilson to score the tying run. Backman drew a walk and McCullers retired Hernandez on a line drive to first baseman Kruk to finish off the inning. Mets’ reliever Jesse Orosco then pitched a perfect bottom half.

McCullers set down the Mets in order in the top of the ninth. Orosco retired all three batters in the bottom of the inning to send the game onward. Leading off the top of the 10th, Johnson slugged a homer against Padres’ reliever Keith Comstock for a one-run Mets lead. Comstock struck out the next three hitters to end the inning and Orosco retired Mack on a ground ball to Backman to open the bottom half. Jesse followed up with a strikeout of Kruk. Mets’ reliever Roger McDowell then got Santiago to ground out to shortstop Santana and bring the game to an end. The Mets had come from behind for an extra-inning victory.