June 29, 1988: Hojo and the Big Macs Come Through

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Date: June 29, 1988
Mets starter: David Cone
Mets: 8
Pirates: 7
Winning pitcher: Roger McDowell
Key player(s): Howard Johnson, Roger McDowell, Kevin McReynolds
Key play: Johnson’s home run, McDowell’s double, McReynolds single in 11th

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. The teams played the finale of a three-game series at Three Rivers Stadium. Howard Johnson and Kevin McReynolds came through with big hits and Roger McDowell provided clutch relief (and a key hit of his own) as the Mets emerged with an 8-7 win in 11 innings.

Following a scoreless first inning, Bucs’ starter Bob Walk pitched a perfect top of the second. Bobby Bonilla homered against the Mets’ David Cone to lead off the bottom half. Darnell Coles grounded out to shortstop Kevin Elster and a single by Sid Bream ensued. Cone then got Mike LaValliere to hit a ground ball to first baseman Dave Magadan for a double play that ended the inning.

Magadan drew a walk to begin the top of the third. Elster homered for a 2-1 Mets lead and Cone singled to center field. Lenny Dykstra flied out to center fielder Andy Van Slyke and a single by Wally Backman advanced Cone to second base. David moved to third on McReynolds’ force play ground ball to third baseman Bonilla. Walk got Darryl Strawberry to pop out to Bonilla and finish off the inning. Cone then shut down the Pirates in the bottom half.

With two outs in the top of the fourth, Magadan hit a single to center field. Elster followed with a double to drive home Magadan and went to third base on a throw to the plate. Cone grounded out to second baseman Jose Lind to end the inning and set down all three Pittsburgh batters in the bottom half. To open the top of the fifth, Dykstra doubled to left field. Lenny advanced to third on Backman’s sacrifice bunt and scored the Mets’ fourth run on a single by McReynolds. Walk was replaced on the mound by Bucs’ reliever Dave Rucker, who got Strawberry to hit a force play grounder to Lind. Rucker then retired Johnson on a ground ball to shortstop Rafael Belliard for the inning’s final out.

Belliard got a one-out single in the bottom of the fifth inning. Pinch-hitter Orestes Destrade singled and Barry Bonds’ ground out to Magadan advanced the runners to second and third base. Lind hit a single to bring home Belliard and Destrade. Van Slyke followed with a two-run homer that put the Pirates ahead, 5-4. Cone then issued a walk to Bonilla and got Coles to line out to left fielder McReynolds to end the inning.

Gary Carter singled against Pittsburgh reliever Barry Jones to lead off the top of the sixth. Magadan and Elster drew back-to-back walks to load the bases and pinch-hitter Mackey Sasser hit a sacrifice fly to drive home pinch-runner Keith Miller with the tying run. Dykstra drew a walk to reload the bases and Backman followed with a sacrifice fly against the Bucs’ Jeff Robinson to plate Magadan for a 6-5 Mets lead. McReynolds drew a walk to load the bases once again. Robinson then fanned Strawberry to close out the inning.

LaValliere hit a one-out double against Mets’ reliever Terry Leach in the bottom of the sixth. Belliard drew a walk and R. J. Reynolds went down on strikes. Bonds drew a walk to load the bases. Lind followed with a single that scored LaValliere and Belliard, giving the Pirates a 7-6 lead. Randy Myers then came in to pitch for New York and struck out Van Slyke to end the inning.

Robinson and Myers each hurled a scoreless seventh. The Mets were shut down by Robinson again in the top of the eighth and New York’s Gene Walter pitched a scoreless bottom half. Pittsburgh reliever Jim Gott retired McReynolds on a fly ball to Van Slyke to begin the top of the ninth inning. Strawberry flied out to left fielder John Cangelosi. With the Mets only an out away from defeat, Johnson slugged a home run to tie the game. Gott then fanned Tim Teufel for the third out of the inning.

Van Slyke and Bonilla drew consecutive walks to open the bottom of the ninth. McDowell came in to pitch for the Mets and got Cangelosi to bunt into a force play. Bream singled to load the bases and LaValliere followed with a grounder on which third baseman Johnson threw to catcher Sasser for an out at home on Bonilla. McDowell then retired Belliard on a ground ball to second baseman Teufel to send the game onward.

Gott set down the Mets in order in the top of the 10th inning. McDowell pitched a scoreless bottom half and hit a double against Pirates’ reliever Bob Kipper with one out in the top of the 11th. McReynolds followed with a single to drive home McDowell and put the Mets ahead by a run. On his own hit, McReynolds moved to second base via an error by Cangelosi. Strawberry drew a walk and Johnson flied out to Van Slyke. Kipper then got Teufel on a fly ball to right fielder Reynolds to finish off the inning.

Bonilla grounded out to Magadan to lead off the bottom of the 11th. McDowell followed up by issuing a walk to Cangelosi. Roger then got Bream to hit a ground ball to Teufel for a game-ending double play. The Mets had a come-from-behind victory in extra innings.