June 17, 1985: Darling Shuts Out Cubs

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Date: June 17, 1985
Mets starter: Ron Darling
Mets: 2
Cubs: 0
Winning pitcher: Ron Darling
Key player(s): Ron Darling, Gary Carter, Danny Heep
Key play: Carter’s home run, Heep’s double

The Mets faced the Cubs on a Monday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a four-game series. Ron Darling pitched a shutout in a 2-0 Mets win over Chicago.

Darling and the Cubs’ Rick Sutcliffe each hurled two-hit scoreless ball from the first inning to the third. Keith Moreland and Leon Durham drew back-to-back walks to begin the top of the fourth. Jody Davis hit a ground ball to third baseman Howard Johnson for a double play and Ron Cey drew a walk. With Chris Speier at bat, Moreland got caught in a rundown between third base and home and was tagged out by Johnson to end the inning. Leading off the bottom half, Gary Carter homered for a 1-0 Mets lead. George Foster flied out to center fielder Darrin Jackson and a walk to Clint Hurdle ensued. Sutcliffe then retired Johnson on a fly ball to Jackson and got Rafael Santana on a pop-up to second baseman Ryne Sandberg for the inning’s third out.

Darling set down the side in order in the top of the fifth. Wally Backman hit a single with one out in the bottom half. Danny Heep doubled to drive home Backman with the Mets’ second run of the game. Keith Hernandez was retired on a ground ball to first baseman Durham. Carter popped out catcher Davis to finish off the inning and Dave Lopes got a leadoff single in the top of the sixth. With Sandberg at the plate, Lopes was caught by Darling’s pickoff throw and tagged out by first baseman Hernandez. Sandberg went down on strikes and Moreland drew a walk. Durham grounded out to Hernandez to end the inning. Sutcliffe then struck out the side in order in the bottom half.

Darling retired the Cubs 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Backman walked and stole second base. Sutcliffe retired Heep on a fly ball to right fielder Moreland to close out the inning and singled with one out in the top of the eighth. Darling retired Lopes on a fly ball to center fielder Heep and got Sandberg on a grounder back to the mound to end the inning. Chicago reliever George Frazier pitched a perfect bottom half and Moreland hit a double to begin the top of the ninth. Durham flied out to center fielder Mookie Wilson and a strikeout of Davis ensued. Darling then retired Cey on a fly ball to Wilson for the final out of the game. The Mets had a series-opening victory on Ron’s shutout.