July 17, 1986: Mets Break Through for 13 Runs

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Date: July 17, 1986
Mets starter: Bob Ojeda
Mets: 13
Astros: 2
Winning pitcher: Bob Ojeda
Key player(s): Lenny Dykstra, Wally Backman, Darryl Strawberry
Key play: Dykstra’s and Backman’s singles, Strawberry’s three-run double

The Mets faced the Astros on a Thursday night in Houston. Each team played its first game following the All-Star Break. The Mets erupted for thirteen runs in the last three innings for a 13-2 win.

Astros’ starter Nolan Ryan pitched a scoreless top of the first. Leading off the bottom half, Bill Doran reached on an error by shortstop Rafael Santana. Billy Hatcher grounded out to Santana (moving Doran to second base) and Phil Garner flied out to right fielder Darryl Strawberry. A single by Glenn Davis scored Doran for a 1-0 Houston lead. Mets’ starter Bob Ojeda then retired Kevin Bass on a fly ball to left fielder Danny Heep to end the inning.

Ryan and Ojeda each hurled three-hit scoreless ball from the second inning to the sixth. With two outs in the top of the seventh, three consecutive walks loaded the bases for the Mets. Lenny Dykstra singled to drive home Ray Knight and Howard Johnson and advanced to second base on a throw. A single by Wally Backman against Astros’ reliever Frank DiPino plated Mookie Wilson and Dykstra. Keith Hernandez reached on an error by third baseman Garner and Houston reliever Charlie Kerfeld walked Gary Carter to load the bases. Strawberry doubled to score Backman, Hernandez and Carter for a 7-1 Mets lead. Kerfeld retired Heep on an inning-ending ground ball to Garner. Mets’ reliever Roger McDowell then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Knight drew a walk to open the top of the eighth inning. Johnson singled and Wilson drew a walk to load the bases. Dykstra hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Knight. Backman singled to score Johnson and Astros’ reliever Aurelio Lopez issued a walk to Hernandez that reloaded the bases. Carter followed with a sacrifice fly to drive home Wilson with the Mets’ tenth run of the game. Lopez then got Strawberry to ground out to first baseman Davis and end the inning.

McDowell issued a two-out walk to Ty Gainey in the bottom of the eighth. Gainey stole second base and Doran followed with a walk. Hatcher was hit by a pitch to load the bases and pinch-hitter Denny Walling drew a walk to force home Gainey. McDowell then got Davis on a force play ground ball to third baseman Knight to close out the inning.

Craig Reynolds (the Astros’ regular shortstop) came on to pitch in the top of the ninth. He started off by yielding an infield single to McDowell on which Roger advanced to second base via an error by second baseman Doran. Knight singled to score McDowell, increasing the Mets’ lead to 11-2. Reynolds threw a called third strike past Johnson and followed up with a wild pitch that moved Knight to second. Wilson and Dykstra drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Backman hit a single to drive home Knight and Wilson. Pinch-hitter Kevin Mitchell hit a force play grounder to third baseman Walling. Reynolds then retired Ed Hearn on an inning-ending fly ball to left fielder Gainey.

Bass singled against Mets’ reliever Randy Myers to begin the bottom of the ninth inning. Pinch-hitter Jim Pankovits hit a ground ball to Knight for a double play and Alan Ashby followed with a double. Myers then got Dickie Thon to ground out to Knight and end the game. The Mets had their sixtieth win of the year to start the unofficial second half of the regular season.