June 30, 1987: Santana and Johnson Come Through

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Date: June 30, 1987
Mets starter: Dwight Gooden
Mets: 3
Cardinals: 2
Winning pitcher: Dwight Gooden
Key player(s): Dwight Gooden, Rafael Santana, Howard Johnson
Key play: Santana’s and Johnson’s RBI singles

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played in front of 49,416 fans on hand. Rafael Santana and Howard Johnson came through with clutch singles that gave the Mets a 3-2 win over St. Louis.

Dwight Gooden and the Cards’ Greg Mathews each started the game with two scoreless innings pitched. Curt Ford hit a single to lead off the top of the third. Tony Pena reached on a fielder’s choice ground ball and Mathews drew a walk to load the bases. Vince Coleman followed with a double play ground ball to shortstop Santana on which Ford came home with the first run of the game. Gooden retired Ozzie Smith on a grounder to third baseman Johnson that ended the inning. Mathews then gave up only a single to Mookie Wilson in the bottom half.

After scoreless fourth and fifth innings, Smith got a one-out single in the top of the sixth. Tommy Herr singled to advance Smith to third base. Jack Clark hit a sacrifice fly to score Smith for a 2-0 St. Louis lead. Willie McGee hit a single and Gooden retired Terry Pendleton on an inning-ending pop-up to Santana. Mathews then set down the Mets in order in the bottom half.

Ford and Pena got back-to-back singles to begin the top of the seventh. With Mathews at bat, Ford got caught by catcher Gary Carter’s throw to Santana and was tagged out by Johnson. Howard threw back to Santana for an out on Pena and a double play. Gooden fanned Mathews to close out the inning and Lee Mazzilli singled with two outs in the bottom half. Johnson hit a double to send Mazzilli to third base. Santana singled to drive home Mazzilli and Johnson, tying the game at 2-2. Mathews then got Gooden on a foul fly ball to left fielder Ford for the inning’s third out.

Gooden struck out the side in a scoreless top of the eighth. Mathews pitched a perfect bottom half and Dwight set down the Redbirds 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth. Carter drew a walk against Mathews to open the bottom of the inning. Against Cards’ reliever Bill Dawley, Kevin McReynolds put down a sacrifice bunt to advance pinch-runner Lenny Dykstra to second base. St. Louis’s Ricky Horton issued an intentional walk to Mazzilli. Johnson came to bat and delivered a single that plated Dykstra with the winning run. The Mets had an exciting victory.