July 29, 1987: Hojo Homers in 10th to Beat Cardinals

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Date: July 29, 1987
Mets starter: Sid Fernandez
Mets: 6
Cardinals: 4
Winning pitcher: Roger McDowell
Key player(s): Howard Johnson
Key play: Johnson’s homer in 10th

The Mets and Cardinals faced each other on a Wednesday night in St. Louis. The teams played the second game of three at Busch Memorial Stadium. Howard Johnson hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning to give the Mets a 6-4 win over the Redbirds.

Cardinals’ starter Ricky Horton retired the Mets in order in the top of the first inning. In the bottom half, St. Louis loaded the bases with one out against Mets’ starter Sid Fernandez. Willie McGee hit a ground ball to shortstop Rafael Santana for a double play that ended the inning. Darryl Strawberry’s leadoff homer in the top of the second gave the Mets a 1-0 lead. Tony Pena got a one-out single and stole second base in the bottom half. Jose Oquendo flied out to center fielder Mookie Wilson and Horton singled. Trying to score on the hit, Pena was out at home on a throw by Wilson.

Tim Teufel doubled with two outs in the top of the third inning. An ensuing double by Keith Hernandez scored Teufel. Horton threw a wild pitch to move Hernandez to third and walked Strawberry. Kevin McReynolds hit a grounder to shortstop Oquendo for an inning-ending force play. Fernandez then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Back-to-back singles by Gary Carter and Johnson opened the top of the fourth inning. Santana hit a force play grounder that advanced Carter to third base. Fernandez’s sacrifice bunt moved Santana to second. Horton’s second wild pitch of the game brought home Carter and sent Santana to third. Wilson reached on an error by Horton on which Santana scored the Mets’ fourth run. Teufel drew a walk and Hernandez struck out to end the inning. El Sid then set down the Cards in order in the bottom half.

Horton shut down the Mets in the top of the fifth. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Vince Coleman reached on an error by third baseman Johnson. Tommy Herr hit a double to score Coleman. An ensuing single by Terry Pendleton plated Herr to cut the Mets’ lead to 4-2. Steve Lake hit a single and Fernandez struck out McGee. Sid then retired Jim Lindeman on a ground ball to second baseman Teufel for the third out.

Cardinals’ reliever Bill Dawley retired the Mets 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth inning. For New York, Terry Leach pitched a perfect bottom half. Dawley set down three straight batters after a single by Hernandez in the top of the seventh. Herr singled with one out in the bottom half and went to third on Pendleton’s double. Facing reliever Jesse Orosco, pinch-hitter Ozzie Smith grounded out to Teufel to drive home Herr. McGee then fouled out to right fielder Strawberry to end the inning.

Dawley pitched a perfect inning in the top of the eighth. Mets’ reliever Roger McDowell shut down the Redbirds in the bottom half. Wilson led off the top of the ninth with a single and moved to second on Teufel’s sacrifice bunt. Cards’ reliever Pat Perry got Hernandez and Strawberry on infield grounders for the final outs of the inning. Coleman got a one-out single and stole second in the bottom half. Herr singled to score Coleman and tie the game at 4-4. McDowell then retired Pendleton and Smith to send the game to extra innings.

McReynolds got an infield single to lead off the top of the 10th. Carter flied out to left fielder Coleman. Johnson came to bat and homered for a two-run Mets lead. Perry then set down pinch-hitter Bill Almon and McDowell on fly balls to right fielder Oquendo.

McGee reached on Teufel’s error to start the bottom of the 10th. Lindeman hit into a force play and Pena flied out to Wilson. McDowell then retired pinch-hitter Rod Booker on a ground ball to first baseman Hernandez, taking the throw from Keith to end the game. The Mets had an extra-inning victory over the National League East Division leaders.