July 4, 1985: The Rainy Night in Georgia
|Date: July 4, 1985|
|Mets starter: Dwight Gooden|
|Winning pitcher: Tom Gorman|
|Key player(s): Keith Hernandez, Howard Johnson, Danny Heep|
|Key play: Hernandez's cycle, Extra-inning homers, Heep's single in 19th|
The Mets and Braves had quite an experience on a rainy Fourth of July in Atlanta. The start of the game was delayed 90 minutes and another delay of 41 minutes occurred in the third inning. Puddled grounds plagued the players all night through a wild 19 innings. The game ended at 3:55 AM with the Mets coming out the winner, 16-13.
The faulty ground conditions took effect in the first inning. Keith Hernandez got a two-out double and Gary Carter followed with a single that landed in a puddle and stopped. Hernandez scored easily on the play. The Braves tied it in the bottom half when Claudell Washington tripled and scored on a ground out.
In the bottom of the third, Atlanta's Ken Oberkfell hit a two-run double off Roger McDowell, who replaced Dwight Gooden after the rain delay. The Mets came back in the fourth on Wally Backman's puddle-landing RBI single, a two-run triple by Hernandez (on which Washington slipped on the wet grass) and Carter's single to score Keith. The Mets had a 5-3 lead helped greatly by the conditions.
Each team had added a run before the Mets came to bat in the eighth inning. Hernandez led off with a home run off Braves' reliever Steve Shields. The Braves came back with four runs in the bottom of the inning on a bases-loaded walk and Dale Murphy's three-run triple off Doug Sisk. It was an 8-7 Atlanta lead heading into the ninth.
The Mets tied the game on Len Dykstra's single off Bruce Sutter that scored Howard Johnson. Sisk held the Braves in the bottom half, sending the game into extra innings. From the tenth to the twelfth, Doug allowed only two Atlanta hits in three scoreless innings. Also, Hernandez's single in the 12th gave him the cycle.
In the 13th, Howard Johnson and the Braves' Terry Harper each hit two-run homers to make it a 10-10 game. Tom Gorman then held the Braves to two hits over the next four innings. Meanwhile, Braves' relievers Gene Garber and Rick Camp also pitched shutout ball.
In the top of the 17th, Darryl Strawberry was called out on strikes by home plate umpire Terry Tata. Strawberry questioned the call and Tata claimed that it was a strike simply because it was so late at night. Darryl and manager Davey Johnson argued with Tata intensely and were ejected.
The Mets took an 11-10 lead on Dykstra's sacrifice fly that brought home Johnson in the top of the 18th. Gorman then retired the first two Braves' hitters in the bottom half. One out away from the end of the game, Camp hit a home run off Gorman to retie it for Atlanta and send it to another inning.
Camp's moment was short-lived. The Mets tagged him with five runs in the top of the 19th. Ray Knight doubled to score Carter to put the Mets ahead. Later, Danny Heep singled with the bases loaded to bring home Rusty Staub and Knight with Johnson also scoring on an error by Washington. Heep came home on Backman's single before the inning ended for a 16-11 Met lead.
The Braves got two runs off Ron Darling in the bottom of the 19th on Harper's bases-loaded single. Camp then stepped up to the plate as the tying run for Atlanta. Ron struck out Camp to finally end the game. The Mets had a win after six hours and ten minutes of game time, two hours and eleven minutes worth of rain delays and getting through it in less-than-adequate field conditions.
- The Mets set a team record with 28 hits in the game.
- Darling's appearance was his first ever as a reliever.
- Camp's home run was the only one of his career.
- Despite the late ending, a scheduled fireworks show still went on at Fulton-County Stadium.