June 5, 1987: Gooden Returns with Win

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Date: June 5, 1987
Mets starter: Dwight Gooden
Mets: 5
Pirates: 1
Winning pitcher: Dwight Gooden
Key player(s): Dwight Gooden, Mookie Wilson
Key play: Wilson's catch in 3rd, Strawberry's throw in 7th, Hernandez's triple

After two months in drug rehabilitation, Dwight Gooden made his first start of the season for the Mets. The Shea Stadium crowd of 51,402 cheered Doctor K as he pitched four-hit ball into the seventh inning. The Mets defeated the Pirates, 5-1, as Gooden got credit for the win.

In the top of the first, Gooden struck out Barry Bonds to start the game. Dwight then retired the next two Pirate hitters to end a perfect inning. The fans cheered Doctor K as he walked back to the dugout.

The Mets scored twice in the bottom of the first without a hit. Facing Pittsburgh's Mike Dunne in his major league debut, Wally Backman drew a one-out walk and Keith Hernandez reached on an error by third baseman Jim Morrison. Dunne walked Gary Carter to load the bases and Darryl Strawberry hit a ground ball that shortstop Rafael Belliard mishandled to let Backman come home. Hernandez then crossed the plate on a force play grounder by Mookie Wilson.

In the third, the Pirates loaded the bases against Gooden with one out. Johnny Ray then hit a fly ball to center fielder Len Dykstra on which Belliard scored. Sid Bream followed by hitting a drive to left-center field. In pursuit of the ball, Wilson's and Dykstra's faces collided with each other. The outfielders fell to the ground, but Wilson made the catch for the final out of the inning.

It was still a 2-1 Met lead as the game entered the bottom of the sixth. Carter singled and Strawberry doubled off Dunne to start the inning. Wilson then hit a ground ball to first on which Carter was caught in a rundown and tagged out. Strawberry later scored the Mets' third run on Lee Mazzilli's sacrifice fly.

In the top of the seventh, Gooden struck out R. J. Reynolds before allowing a single to Mike LaValliere. Bobby Bonilla followed with a pinch-hit double to right field on which Strawberry threw out LaValliere trying to score. After walking John Cangelosi, Gooden was replaced by Jesse Orosco, who struck out Bonds to end the inning.

Tim Teufel got a one-out single off Pirates' reliever John Smiley in the bottom of the seventh. Hernandez followed with a triple to score Teufel from first base. Carter then singled to bring home Hernandez and increase the Mets' lead to four runs. The Pirates got two singles off Orosco in the eighth, but left the runners stranded.

Orosco closed out the game with a scoreless ninth inning. The Mets had a victory for Gooden in his long-awaited first game of the year. The fans at Shea went home happy, knowing the Doc was back.