June 15, 1986: Mets Defeat Bucs in DH Opener

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Date: June 15, 1986
Mets starter: Bob Ojeda
Mets: 4
Pirates: 1
Winning pitcher: Bob Ojeda
Key player(s): Keith Hernandez, Lenny Dykstra, Wally Backman
Key play: Hernandez’s double, Mets’ walks in 6th

The Mets faced the Pirates in a doubleheader on a Sunday afternoon. In the opener of the Father’s Day twinbill at Shea Stadium, the teams played a two-hour and 38-minute game. The Mets came out with a 4-1 win over Pittsburgh.

In the top of the first inning, Rafael Belliard got a one-out single against Mets’ starter Bob Ojeda. Belliard advanced to second base on a balk and Mike Brown followed with a ground ball to shortstop Rafael Santana. Belliard was out on Santana’s throw to third baseman Ray Knight and an ensuing single by Jim Morrison sent Brown to third. Ojeda struck out Mike Diaz to end the inning and Lenny Dykstra singled to open the bottom half. Wally Backman hit a double play grounder back to Bucs’ starter Bob Walk and a walk to Keith Hernandez ensued. Darryl Strawberry hit a double to right field. On the play, Hernandez was caught in a rundown and tagged by first baseman Diaz for the inning’s final out.

Following scoreless second and third innings, Ojeda shut down the Pirates again in the top of the fourth. Backman singled to lead off the bottom half. Hernandez doubled to drive home Backman and advanced to third base on a throw. Strawberry was retired on a ground ball to Diaz. On Gary Carter’s ensuing grounder, Hernandez was caught between bases and tagged out by shortstop Sam Khalifa. Walk retired Danny Heep on a fly ball to right fielder Brown to close out the inning and Ojeda hurled a scoreless top of the fifth. Walk then set down the Mets in order in the bottom half.

Ojeda pitched a perfect top of the sixth. To begin the bottom of the inning, Dykstra hit a triple and Backman drew a walk. Pat Clements came in to pitch for Pittsburgh and got Hernandez on a ground ball back to the mound. Strawberry drew a walk to load the bases and Bucs’ reliever Jim Winn issued a walk to Carter that forced home Dykstra. Heep drew a walk to bring home Backman with the Mets’ third run of the game. Knight followed with a ground ball on which third baseman Morrison threw to catcher Tony Pena for an out at home on pinch-runner Kevin Mitchell. Winn then got Santana on a force play grounder to Khalifa that ended the inning.

Ojeda retired the Pirates 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh. With one out in the bottom half, Dykstra singled and stole second base. Backman drew a walk and Hernandez was struck out. Mitchell doubled to score Dykstra for a 4-0 Mets lead. On the hit, Backman was out at home via a relay throw by Khalifa to Pena to finish off the inning. Ojeda held the Bucs to a bunt single by Belliard in the top of the eighth. Winn then shut down then Mets in the bottom half.

Morrison hit a double to open the top of the ninth inning. Pinch-hitter Lee Mazzilli went down on strikes and a double by Pena brought home Morrison. Ojeda then struck out Bill Almon and got Khalifa on a fly ball to right fielder Mitchell to end the game. The Mets had begun the Father’s Day doubleheader with a victory.