June 21, 1988: Darling Shuts Out Pirates

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Date: June 21, 1988
Mets starter: Ron Darling
Mets: 9
Pirates: 0
Winning pitcher: Ron Darling
Key player(s): Ron Darling, Kevin McReynolds
Key play: McReynolds’ grand slam

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played in front of 45,225 fans on hand. Ron Darling pitched a shutout in a 9-0 Mets win over Pittsburgh.

Darling and the Bucs’ Doug Drabek each started the game with five scoreless innings pitched. Ron shut down the Pirates again in the top of the sixth and Lenny Dykstra singled to lead off the bottom half. Wally Backman got a bunt single and Dave Magadan’s fly out to center fielder Andy Van Slyke advanced Dykstra from second to third base. Darryl Strawberry was given an intentional walk that loaded the bases. Kevin McReynolds followed with a grand slam for a 4-0 Mets lead. Drabek then retired both Gary Carter and Howard Johnson on fly balls to Van Slyke for the inning’s final outs.

Darling set down the side in order in the top of the seventh. Drabek hurled a perfect bottom half and Ron retired all three Pittsburgh batters in the top of the eighth. Backman doubled against Pirates’ reliever Dave Rucker to open the bottom of the inning. Magadan hit a double to score Backman and a fly ball by Strawberry was caught by left fielder Barry Bonds. McReynolds singled to drive home Magadan and came around to score on a double by Carter. Johnson singled to plate Carter and increase the Mets’ lead to 8-0. Kevin Elster popped out to first baseman Sid Bream and a triple by Darling brought home Johnson with the Mets’ ninth run. Rucker then got Dykstra to fly out to right fielder Darnell Coles and finish off the inning.

Darling struck out Bonds to begin the top of the ninth. Jose Lind reached on an error by third baseman Johnson and a single by Van Slyke ensued. Bobby Bonilla was retired on a fly ball to left fielder McReynolds. Darling then got Coles to fly out to center fielder Dykstra and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a victory on Ron’s shutout.