July 24, 1987: Mets Beat Astros in DH Opener

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Date: July 24, 1987
Mets starter: Sid Fernandez
Mets: 5
Astros: 2
Winning pitcher: Sid Fernandez
Key player(s): Sid Fernandez, Bill Almon, Lenny Dykstra, Wally Backman
Key play: Backman’s and Dykstra’s singles, Astros’ errors in 8th

The Mets faced the Astros in a doubleheader on a Friday evening at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener in front of 44,370 fans on hand. The Mets got the twinbill started with a 5-2 win over Houston.

Sid Fernandez and the Astros’ Nolan Ryan each pitched a perfect first inning. To begin the top of the second, Glenn Davis homered for a 1-0 Houston lead. Kevin Bass flied out to left fielder Lee Mazzilli and a single by Ken Caminiti ensued. Fernandez retired Robbie Wine on a foul pop-up to catcher Gary Carter and fanned Craig Reynolds for the inning’s third out. Mazzilli drew a one-out walk in the bottom half. Lee stole second base and advanced to third on Carter’s fly out to left fielder Billy Hatcher. Ryan then got Howard Johnson to fly out to right fielder Bass and end the inning.

Fernandez set down the Astros in order in the top of the third. Ryan issued a walk to Bill Almon to open the bottom half. Almon moved to second base on Fernandez’s sacrifice bunt and to third on Lenny Dykstra’s ground out to first baseman Davis. Wally Backman singled to drive home Almon with the tying run. Keith Hernandez grounded out to Davis to finish off the inning and Fernandez set down all three Houston batters in the top of the fourth. To begin the bottom half, Darryl Strawberry singled and stole second. Mazzilli went down on strikes and Strawberry was caught on a steal attempt via a throw by catcher Wine to third baseman Caminiti. Ryan then struck out Carter to end the inning.

Fernandez held the Astros to a double by Wine in the top of the fifth. With one out in the bottom half, Almon singled to center field. A sacrifice bunt by Fernandez moved Almon to second base. Bill came around to score on a single by Dykstra for a 2-1 Mets lead. Backman was retired on a fly ball to Bass that closed out the inning and Fernandez set down the Astros in order on three outfield flies in the top of the sixth. Hernandez and Strawberry drew back-to-back walks against Ryan to open the bottom half. Houston reliever Dave Meads walked Mazzilli to load the bases. Charlie Kerfeld came in to pitch for the Astros and struck out Carter. Kerfeld then got Johnson to hit a ground ball to second baseman Bill Doran for an inning-ending double play.

Following a scoreless seventh, Fernandez hurled a scoreless top of the eighth. Hernandez singled against Houston reliever Larry Andersen to lead off the bottom of the inning. Strawberry doubled to right field and Mazzilli reached on an error by Davis that brought home Hernandez. Carter got on base via an error by shortstop Doran (who had shifted from second) on which Strawberry scored and Mazzilli moved to third. Lee scored the Mets’ fifth run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Johnson. Andersen then retired Almon and Fernandez on consecutive infield grounders to close out the inning.

Gerald Young and Doran got back-to-back singles against Fernandez to begin the top of the ninth. Davis singled off Mets’ reliever Roger McDowell to load the bases. Bass followed with a sacrifice fly to drive home Young with the Astros’ second run. Caminiti hit a force play ground ball to first baseman Hernandez. McDowell then got pinch-hitter Alan Ashby to ground out to second baseman Backman and end the game. The Mets had a victory to start the doubleheader.