July 27, 1986: Three Consecutive Homers Bury Braves

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Date: July 27, 1986
Mets starter: Rick Aguilera
Mets: 5
Braves: 1
Winning pitcher: Rick Aguilera
Key player(s): Gary Carter, Darryl Strawberry, Kevin Mitchell
Key play: Mets’ three home runs in 3rd

The Mets faced the Braves on a Sunday afternoon in Atlanta. The teams played the finale of a three-game weekend series. Three straight homers in the third inning produced a 5-1 Mets win.

After two scoreless innings, Lenny Dykstra doubled to lead off the top of the third. Dykstra advanced to third base on Wally Backman’s sacrifice bunt and Keith Hernandez drew a walk. Gary Carter followed with a home run for a 3-0 Mets lead. Darryl Strawberry homered and Kevin Mitchell came to bat. Mitchell connected for the Mets’ third consecutive homer to extend the New York lead to five runs. Ray Knight grounded out to third baseman Ken Oberkfell and a single by Rafael Santana ensued. Braves’ starter Rick Mahler struck out Rick Aguilera to end the inning. Aguilera then set down all three Atlanta batters in the bottom half.

Mahler and Aguilera each pitched a scoreless fourth inning. To begin the top of the fifth, Strawberry singled and moved to second base on an error by right fielder Omar Moreno. With Mitchell at bat, Strawberry was caught stealing via a throw by catcher Ozzie Virgil to Oberkfell. Mitchell drew a walk and Knight lined out to center fielder Dale Murphy. Santana singled and Aguilera grounded back to Mahler for the inning’s final out. To open the bottom half, Bob Horner hit a single and went to third on a double by Ken Griffey. Andres Thomas followed with a sacrifice fly to drive home Horner. Aguilera then fanned both Virgil and Glenn Hubbard to close out the inning.

Atlanta reliever Ed Olwine hurled a scoreless top of the sixth. Oberkfell and Murphy got back-to-back singles with two outs in the bottom half. Aguilera retired Horner on a ground ball to third baseman Knight for the inning’s third out and the Braves’ Jeff Dedmon pitched a perfect top of the seventh. Aguilera yielded just a single to Thomas in the bottom half and Dedmon retired the Mets in order again in the top of the eighth. With two outs in the bottom half, Moreno doubled to left field. Aguilera then got Oberkfell to ground out to Knight and end the inning.

The Mets failed to score against Braves’ reliever Paul Assenmacher in the top of the ninth. Murphy grounded out to Knight to begin the bottom half. Horner was retired on a grounder to shortstop Santana. Aguilera then got Griffey to fly out to Dykstra and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a series-closing victory on the strength of three consecutive home runs.