July 27, 1984: Mets Defeat Cubs in Crucial Matchup
|Date: July 27, 1984|
|Mets starter: Dwight Gooden|
|Winning pitcher: Dwight Gooden|
|Key player(s): George Foster, Wally Backman|
|Key play: Foster’s and Backman’s RBI singles|
The Mets and the Cubs began a critical four-game series on a Friday night at Shea Stadium. The National League Eastern Division’s top two teams played in front of 51,102 excited fans on hand. The Mets increased their divisional lead to four and one-half games with a 2-1 win over Chicago.
Bob Dernier drew a walk to lead off the top of the first inning. Dernier stole second base and moved to third on Ryne Sandberg’s ground out to second baseman Wally Backman. Gary Matthews singled to score Dernier with the game’s first run and Mets’ starter Dwight Gooden followed up with strikeouts of both Leon Durham and Keith Moreland to end the inning. Keith Hernandez singled with two outs in the bottom half. Darryl Strawberry drew a walk and a single by George Foster drove home Hernandez to tie the game at 1-1. Cubs’ starter Dick Ruthven then retired Hubie Brooks on a fly ball to left fielder Matthews for the final out of the inning.
Gooden and Ruthven each pitched scoreless ball from the second inning to the sixth. Dernier hit a one-out double in the top of the seventh. Sandberg grounded out to third baseman Brooks and a walk to Matthews ensued. Gooden got Durham on an inning-ending ground ball to shortstop Rafael Santana, who drew a walk against Ruthven to begin the bottom half. Santana advanced to second base on Gooden’s sacrifice bunt and came home on a single by Backman for a one-run Mets lead. With Chicago reliever Tim Stoddard on the mound facing Mookie Wilson, Backman was caught stealing on catcher Jody Davis’s throw to shortstop Larry Bowa. Wilson reached first base on a wild pitch third strike. With Hernandez at bat, Mookie was caught stealing on a throw by Davis to Bowa to close out the inning.
Gooden recorded his seventh and eighth strikeouts of the game in hurling a perfect top of the eighth. The Mets failed to score after loading the bases against Stoddard in the bottom half. To open the top of the ninth inning, Mets’ reliever Jesse Orosco retired pinch-hitter Henry Cotto on a pop-up to Backman. Pinch-hitter Gary Woods flied out to center fielder Wilson. Orosco then got Dernier to line out to first baseman Hernandez and end the game. The Mets had started the crucial weekend series with a victory.