July 20, 1989: Strawberry and Aguilera Stymie Braves
|Date: July 20, 1989|
|Mets starter: Bob Ojeda|
|Winning pitcher: Bob Ojeda|
|Key player(s): Darryl Strawberry, Rick Aguilera|
|Key play: Strawberry's double & homer, Aguilera's strikeout of Gregg in 6th|
The Mets and Braves began a four-game series at Shea Stadium on a Thursday night. Bob Ojeda and Rick Aguilera combined for a two-hitter in leading the Mets to victory. Aguilera retired all ten batters he faced and Darryl Strawberry drove in three runs for a 4-1 New York win.
Ojeda retired the side in order in the top of the first inning. Juan Samuel began the bottom half with a double off Atlanta starter Derek Lilliquist. Dave Magadan grounded out and Howard Johnson doubled to score Samuel. Strawberry followed with the third Met double of the inning to bring home Johnson for a 2-0 lead. Lilliquist set down the next two batters to end the inning.
Andres Thomas singled to lead off the top of the second inning. Ojeda followed up by getting Dale Murphy for a double play grounder. Bobby retired Darrell Evans on a fly ball to center fielder Samuel to end the inning. Lilliquist then shut down the Mets in the bottom half.
In the top of the third, Ojeda kept the Braves scoreless after a leadoff walk to Ed Whited. Magadan singled and went to second base on center fielder Oddibe McDowell's error to start the bottom of the inning. Johnson flied out to McDowell before Strawberry homered for a 4-0 Mets lead. Lilliquist then retired Kevin McReynolds and Gregg Jefferies for the final outs of the inning.
Ojeda and Lilliquist each pitched hitless ball in the fourth and fifth innings. In the top of the sixth, Ojeda walked Lonnie Smith with two outs. Smith stole second base and scored on Thomas's second single of the game. Bob issued walks to Murphy and Evans to load the bases and was replaced by Aguilera. Rick struck out pinch-hitter Tommy Gregg to end the inning and prevent further scoring.
Lilliquist pitched a perfect bottom of the sixth inning for Atlanta. In the seventh, Aguilera struck out John Russell and McDowell in retiring the Braves in order. Atlanta's Mark Eichhorn pitched a 1-2-3 bottom half of the inning. Aguilera then struck out all three Braves hitters in the top of the eighth.
The Mets had runners on first and third base with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning. Strawberry struck out and Johnson stole second base. Eichhorn then got McReynolds on a ground ball to shortstop Thomas to end the inning.
To begin the ninth, Aguilera retired Murphy on a grounder to shortstop Kevin Elster. He got Evans on strikes for the second out of the inning. Rick then got Gregg on a fly ball to Samuel, ending the game. The Mets had solid win on Strawberry's timely hitting and Aguilera's perfect pitching that featured seven strikeouts.