June 26, 1990: Johnson's Double in 11th Beats Cards

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Date: June 26, 1990
Mets starter: Ron Darling
Mets: 8
Cardinals: 6
Winning pitcher: Alejandro Pena
Key player(s): Kevin Elster, Todd Zeile, Howard Johnson
Key play: Elster’s inside-the-park homer, Zeile’s home run, Johnson’s double

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Tuesday night in St. Louis. The teams played an extra-inning game that lasted four hours and nineteen minutes. In the 11th, Howard Johnson hit a two-run double to give the Mets an 8-6 win over the Redbirds.

Keith Miller drew a walk against Cards’ starter Bryn Smith to lead off the top of the first. Miller advanced to third base on Dave Magadan’s single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Johnson. Bryn Smith got Darryl Strawberry to hit a ground ball to first baseman Pedro Guerrero for an inning-ending double play. For the Mets, Ron Darling pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Daryl Boston singled with one out in the top of the second. Boston went to third base on a single by Mackey Sasser and came home on Kevin Elster’s single to right field. Bryn Smith struck out both Darling and Miller to end the inning and Todd Zeile reached on shortstop Elster’s error to begin the bottom half. Terry Pendleton hit a single and Milt Thompson’s ground out to first baseman Magadan advanced the runners to second and third. Zeile scored on a wild pitch and a walk to Ozzie Smith followed. Jose Oquendo singled to bring home Pendleton and tie the game at 2-2. Bryn Smith’s sacrifice bunt sent Oquendo to second. Vince Coleman then grounded back to Darling for the inning’s third out.

Magadan drew a leadoff walk in the top of the third. Johnson hit a force play ground ball to third baseman Pendleton and stole second base. Strawberry singled to drive home Johnson and put the Mets ahead by a run. Kevin McReynolds grounded to shortstop Ozzie Smith for the final out of the inning. With one out in the bottom half, Guerrero singled and Zeile drew a walk. Pendleton followed with a double that plated Guerrero and Zeile for a 4-3 St. Louis lead. Thompson singled and Ozzie Smith was called out on strikes. Darling then got Oquendo on a grounder to second baseman Miller to finish off the inning.

With two outs in the top of the fourth, Elster hit an inside-the-park home run to retie the game. Bryn Smith threw a called third strike past Darling to close out the inning and pinch-hitter Tim Jones singled to open the bottom half. With Coleman at bat, Jones was caught stealing on catcher Sasser’s throw to Miller. Coleman fouled out to third baseman Johnson and a single by McGee ensued. Guerrero lined out to left fielder McReynolds to end the inning and Cardinals’ reliever Ricky Horton hurled a scoreless top of the fifth. Darling then shut down the Redbirds in the bottom half.

Boston got a bunt single against Horton to begin the top of the sixth. Sasser singled and Elster drew a walk to load the bases. St. Louis reliever Scott Terry got pinch-hitter Mike Marshall to line out to Ozzie Smith. Miller hit a sacrifice fly to score Boston and send Sasser to third. A balk by Cards’ reliever Frank DiPino brought home Sasser for a 6-4 Mets lead. DiPino struck out Magadan to end the inning. New York relievers Jeff Musselman and Jeff Innis then combined for a scoreless bottom half.

DiPino pitched a scoreless top of the seventh. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Pendleton singled and advanced to second base on a balk. Pendleton went to third on Thompson’s infield single and came home on a sacrifice fly by Ozzie Smith. Thompson stole second and pinch-hitter Denny Walling drew a walk. Innis got Rex Hudler on a force play ground ball to Johnson that ended the inning and the Cards’ Tom Niedenfuer set down the side in order in the top of the eighth. Mets’ reliever John Franco then gave up just a single to McGee in the bottom half.

Magadan singled against Niedenfuer to lead off the top of the ninth. St. Louis reliever Ken Dayley got Johnson to hit a double play grounder to Ozzie Smith and retired Strawberry on an inning-ending ground ball to second baseman Hudler. To begin the bottom half, Zeile homered to tie the game at 6-6. Pendleton hit a single and went to second base on Thompson’s sacrifice bunt. Ozzie Smith popped out to Magadan and a walk to pinch-hitter Craig Wilson ensued. Hudler reached on a wild pitch third strike to load the bases. Franco then retired Coleman on a foul pop-up to Miller that closed out the inning and sent the game onward.

Dayley set down the side in order in the top of the 10th. Mets’ reliever Alejandro Pena pitched a perfect bottom half and Miller hit a two-out single in the top of the 11th. Magadan followed with a single to send Miller to third base. Johnson came to bat and delivered a double that plated both Miller and Magadan, putting the Mets ahead by two runs. On his own hit, Howard got caught between bases and was tagged out by Hudler to finish off the inning.

Pendleton singled to begin the bottom of the 11th. Thompson grounded out to Miller and a fly ball by Ozzie Smith was caught by McReynolds. Pena then struck out Wilson to end the game. The Mets had a victory in extra innings.