July 31, 1982: Late Lightning Beats Pirates

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Date: July 31, 1982
Mets starter: Charlie Puleo
Mets: 9
Pirates: 4
Winning pitcher: Charlie Puleo
Key player(s): Mike Jorgensen, Joel Youngblood, Wally Backman
Key play: Jorgensen's double, Youngblood's single, Backman's inside-the-park homer

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Saturday night at Shea Stadium. A crowd of 48,358 filled the seats on Sports Bag Night. The fans were treated to a late scoring surge by the Mets that led to a 9-4 win over Pittsburgh.

Over the first three innings, the Mets built a 3-0 lead against Pirates' starter Larry McWilliams. George Foster hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the second and Mookie Wilson came home on an error by Pittsburgh third baseman Bill Madlock in the third. Meanwhile, Mets' starter Charlie Puleo held the Bucs scoreless on two hits.

In the top of the fourth, Mike Easler led off with a single for Pittsburgh. Lee Lacy drew a walk and a one-out single by Dale Berra brought home Easler. With two out, Omar Moreno walked to load the bases and Johnny Ray followed with a triple to score three runs and put the Pirates ahead, 4-3. McWilliams then retired the Mets in order in the bottom half.

Puleo and McWilliams each pitched scoreless fifth and sixth innings. In the top of the seventh, Charlie again shut down Pittsburgh. For the Bucs, Kent Tekulve came in to relieve McWilliams in the bottom of the inning.

With one out in the seventh, Hubie Brooks singled and Tekulve walked Rusty Staub. Batting for Puleo, Mike Jorgensen delivered a double to bring home Brooks and pinch-runner Wally Backman, giving the Mets a 5-4 lead. Later in the inning, Joel Youngblood got a bases-loaded single to score Jorgensen and Wilson for two more New York runs. Mets' reliever Neil Allen then struck out the side in a scoreless top of the eighth.

John Stearns doubled off Pittsburgh's Enrique Romo to begin the bottom of the eighth inning. After an out, Backman came to bat. Wally hit a drive to center field on which he circled the bases for a two-run inside-the-park homer. Romo then retired the next two batters to end the inning.

Allen shut down the Pirates in the top of the ninth inning to end the game. The Mets had a victory with a late-inning offensive burst. The triumph ended a five-game losing streak for the team.