August 6, 1987: Mets Outlast Cubs in Slugging Battle

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Date: August 6, 1987
Mets starter: Terry Leach
Mets: 7
Cubs: 6
Winning pitcher: Roger McDowell
Key player(s): Darryl Strawberry, Howard Johnson, Kevin McReynolds
Key play: Strawberry’s and Johnson’s home runs, McReynolds’ single in 9th

The Mets faced the Cubs on a Thursday night at Shea Stadium. The teams combined for six home runs in the opener of a four-game series. In the end, the Mets scored in the ninth inning and came away with a 7-6 win over Chicago.

Mets’ starter Terry Leach pitched a perfect top of the first. Keith Hernandez singled against the Cubs’ Les Lancaster with two outs in the bottom half. Darryl Strawberry slugged a two-run homer and Kevin McReynolds flied out to left fielder Jerry Mumphrey to end the inning. Leading off the top of the second, Andre Dawson homered for the first Chicago run of the game. Mumphrey hit a double and moved to third base on Keith Moreland’s ground out to second baseman Wally Backman. Leach then got Jim Sundberg to line out to shortstop Rafael Santana and retired Paul Noce on a ground ball to third baseman Howard Johnson that closed out the inning.

With one out in the bottom of the second, Johnson hit a home run to increase the Mets’ lead to 3-1. Santana went down on strikes and Leach followed with a single to left field. Lenny Dykstra popped out to first baseman Leon Durham to end the inning and Leach set down the Cubs in order in the top of the third. Lancaster hurled a perfect bottom half and Dawson clouted a solo homer with one out in the top of the fourth. Leach got Mumphrey to ground out to Backman and fanned Moreland for the inning’s third out. Lancaster then shut down the Mets in the bottom half.

Lancaster got a two-out single in the top of the fifth. Dave Martinez singled and Ryne Sandberg was retired on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Dykstra, who doubled with two outs in the bottom half. Lenny came home on Backman’s single for a 4-2 Mets lead. Hernandez was called out on strikes to end the inning and Leach pitched a scoreless top of the sixth. To begin the bottom half, Strawberry hit his second homer of the game for the fifth New York run. McReynolds singled and Gary Carter flied out to left fielder Mumphrey. Lancaster then got Johnson to foul out to Durham and retired Santana on a fly ball to right fielder Dawson to close out the inning.

Moreland doubled against Leach to open the top of the seventh. Sundberg hit a single and pinch-hitter Luis Quinones singled to drive home Moreland. Mets’ reliever Jesse Orosco threw a called third strike past pinch-hitter Brian Dayett. Pinch-hitter Bob Dernier hit a single to score Sundberg and advance Quinones to third base. Sandberg was given an intentional walk to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Manny Trillo followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Quinones and tie the game at 5-5. Dawson walked to reload the bases. Orosco then retired Mumphrey on a grounder to Johnson to finish off the inning.

Pinch-hitter Mookie Wilson singled against Chicago reliever Frank DiPino to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Dykstra fouled out to catcher Sundberg and a single by pinch-hitter Tim Teufel sent Wilson to third base. Hernandez reached on DiPino’s error to bring home Wilson and give the Mets a 6-5 lead. On the play, Teufel was out via a throw by DiPino to third baseman Moreland. DiPino then threw a called third strike past Strawberry to close out the inning.

Leading off the top of the eighth, Moreland hit a home run (the sixth of the game) against Mets’ reliever Roger McDowell for a 6-6 tie. Sundberg and Quinones were retired on infield ground balls and Dayett singled to right field. Dernier grounded out to second baseman Teufel to end the inning and Johnson drew a two-out walk against the Cubs’ Jay Baller in the bottom half. Santana singled to advance Johnson to third base and Baller retired Wilson on an inning-ending grounder to Moreland. McDowell then yielded only a single to Trillo in the top of the ninth.

Pinch-hitter Lee Mazzilli drew a walk against Cubs’ reliever Lee Smith to begin the bottom of the ninth. Teufel’s sacrifice bunt moved Mazzilli to second base and Hernandez was given an intentional walk. Strawberry got an infield single to load the bases. McReynolds followed with a single to center field that scored Mazzilli and ended the game. The Mets had a victory in an exciting battle of hitters.