July 3, 1986: Strawberry and Knight Homer in the 10th

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Date: July 3,1986
Mets starter: Ron Darling
Mets: 6
Astros: 5
Winning pitcher: Jesse Orosco
Key player(s): Darryl Strawberry, Ray Knight
Key play: Strawberry’s & Knight’s 10th inning home runs

The night before the Fourth of July, the fireworks came out at Shea Stadium. The Mets and Astros battled to a draw before Darryl Strawberry and Ray Knight homered to give the Mets a dramatic 6-5 victory in ten innings. The win increased the Mets’ lead in the National League East Division to twelve and one-half games.

The Astros got off to a fast 2-0 lead against Ron Darling. Bill Doran led off the first inning with a double and scored on Ty Gainey’s single. Gainey then stole second base and later scored on a single by Glenn Davis. The Mets got a run back in the second on a home run by Ed Hearn off Houston starter Jim Deshaies.

In the fourth, the Astros got another run off Darling when Jose Cruz hit a sacrifice fly to score Denny Walling. Ron then retired the next 13 Houston hitters, striking out six of them. Meanwhile, the Mets tied the game on Strawberry’s two-run homer after Deshaies had walked Kevin Mitchell with two out in the bottom of the fifth.

Darling shut down the Astros in the ninth after Gainey got a leadoff double. Jesse Orosco pitched the tenth and retired the first two batters. Jesse then walked Jim Pankovits and gave up a home run to pinch-hitter Phil Garner that put Houston ahead, 5-3.

Len Dykstra led off the bottom of the tenth with a walk. Strawberry came up next and sent a pitch from reliever Frank DiPino over the center field wall for his second game-tying home run of the night. DiPino got the next two batters out before Knight stepped up to the plate. Ray, who had struck out in his four previous at bats, hit one over the left field wall for a game-winning home run. It was the Mets’ fourth homer of the game, accounting for all six of their runs.