July 4, 1990: Darryl and Hojo Blast Astros

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Date: July 4, 1990
Mets starter: Dwight Gooden
Mets: 7
Astros: 4
Winning pitcher: Dwight Gooden
Key player(s): Darryl Strawberry, Mike Marshall, Howard Johnson
Key play: Strawberry’s and Johnson’s home runs, Marshall’s sacrifice fly

The Mets faced the Astros on a Wednesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the latter half of a two-game series. Darryl Strawberry and Howard Johnson drove in three runs apiece to lead the Mets to a 7-4 win over Houston.

Mets’ starter Dwight Gooden pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. Dave Magadan drew a walk against the Astros’ Bill Gullickson with one out in the bottom half. Gregg Jefferies walked and Strawberry homered for a 3-0 Mets lead. Gullickson got Kevin McReynolds to pop out to third baseman Ken Oberkfell and retired Daryl Boston on a grounder to first baseman Franklin Stubbs to end the inning. Gooden then set down the side in order in the top of the second.

Kevin Elster got a one-out double in the bottom of the second inning. Gooden went down on strikes and Johnson singled to drive home Elster, increasing the Mets’ lead to 4-0. Magadan hit a single and Jefferies flied out to left fielder Craig Biggio to finish off the inning. Gooden yielded only a double to Rich Gedman in the top of the third and Boston singled with two outs in the bottom half. Gullickson then retired Mackey Sasser on a fly ball to right fielder Eric Anthony for the inning’s third out.

Gooden and Gullickson each hurled scoreless fourth and fifth innings. With one out in the top of the sixth, Eric Yelding singled and advanced to third base on a single by Rafael Ramirez. Anthony followed with a sacrifice fly to drive home Yelding. Stubbs connected for a two-run homer to cut the Mets’ lead to 4-3. Biggio hit a single and was caught stealing on catcher Sasser’s throw to second baseman Jefferies to close out the inning. Houston relievers Dan Schatzeder and Juan Agosto then combined for a scoreless bottom half.

A double by Oberkfell began the top of the seventh. Dave Rohde grounded out to third baseman Johnson to send Oberkfell to third base. Gedman hit a sacrifice fly to score Oberkfell and tie the game at 4-4. Casey Candaele grounded out to first baseman Magadan to end the inning and Jefferies singled to open the bottom half. Strawberry hit a ground ball to Stubbs for a double play. Agosto then got McReynolds to fly out to Anthony and finish off the inning.

Gooden retired all three batters in the top of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Keith Miller singled against Agosto to lead off the bottom half. Sasser bunted to Oberkfell for a force play and moved to third base on a single by Elster. Against Astros’ reliever Larry Andersen, pinch-hitter Mike Marshall hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Sasser and put the Mets ahead, 5-4. Johnson followed with a homer for the sixth and seventh New York runs of the game. Andersen then retired Magadan on a fly ball to left fielder Candaele for the inning’s final out.

Mets’ reliever John Franco threw a called third strike past Stubbs to start the top of the ninth. Glenn Wilson grounded out to Jefferies and a walk to Oberkfell ensued. Franco then got Rohde on a called third strike to bring the game to an end. The Mets had a holiday victory.