July 29, 1986: Darling Blanks Cubs in DH Opener

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Date: July 29, 1986
Mets starter: Ron Darling
Mets: 3
Cubs: 0
Winning pitcher: Ron Darling
Key player(s): Ron Darling, Lenny Dykstra, Tim Teufel
Key play: Dykstra’s single, Teufel’s double

The Mets faced the Cubs in a doubleheader on a Tuesday evening at Shea Stadium. The teams played a two-hour and twenty-one-minute opener of the twinbill. Ron Darling pitched a shutout in a 3-0 Mets win over Chicago.

Jerry Mumphrey and Ryne Sandberg got back-to-back singles to begin the top of the first inning. With Thad Bosley at bat, Darling caught Mumphrey at second base with a pickoff throw to shortstop Rafael Santana. On Ron’s third strike to Bosley, Sandberg was caught stealing via a throw by catcher Gary Carter to second baseman Tim Teufel for an inning-ending double play. Keith Hernandez singled against Cubs’ starter Steve Trout with two outs in the bottom half. Carter and Darryl Strawberry drew consecutive walks that loaded the bases. Trout then retired Kevin Mitchell on a ground ball to shortstop Shawon Dunston to close out the inning.

After scoreless second and third innings, Darling set down the side in order in the top of the fourth. Ray Knight hit a single to open the bottom half. Santana drew a walk and Darling’s sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third base. Lenny Dykstra singled to drive home Knight and Santana for a 2-0 Mets lead. Dykstra stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Teufel hit a double to score Dykstra with the third New York run. Hernandez lined out to right fielder Keith Moreland and an intentional walk to Carter followed. Trout then got Strawberry to ground out to second baseman Sandberg and finish off the inning.

Darling hurled a perfect top of the fifth. Trout set down the Mets in order in the bottom half and pinch-hitter Terry Francona got a one-out double in the top of the sixth. Mumphrey singled to send Francona to third base. Sandberg grounded out to first baseman Hernandez, who followed up with a throw to Carter for an out at home on Francona and a double play to end the inning. Chicago reliever George Frazier then retired the side 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Darling and Frazier each hurled a perfect seventh. Ron yielded only a triple to Dunston in the top of the eighth and Cubs’ reliever Dave Gumpert pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning. Mumphrey was called out on strikes to begin the top of the ninth. Sandberg also took a called third strike. Darling then fanned Bosley for the game’s final out. The Mets had a victory on Ron’s shutout to start the doubleheader.