May 17, 1983: Strawberry's First Shea Homer Beats Padres

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Date: May 17, 1983
Mets starter: Tom Seaver
Mets: 6
Padres: 4
Winning pitcher: Tom Seaver
Key player(s): Tom Seaver, Darryl Strawberry, Hubie Brooks
Key play: Strawberry’s throw in 3rd and three-run homer in 5th

The Mets and Padres began a three-game series on a Tuesday night. As the Islanders hockey team was winning its fourth consecutive Stanley Cup championship at the Nassau Coliseum, a notable moment occurred in the game at Shea Stadium. Mets’ prized rookie Darryl Strawberry hit his first Shea home run in a 6-4 win over San Diego.

Mets’ starter Tom Seaver pitched a perfect top of the first inning. With one out in the bottom half, Hubie Brooks singled against the Padres’ Tim Lollar. Strawberry followed with a double and George Foster went down on strikes. Dave Kingman drew a walk to load the bases and a single by Brian Giles brought home Brooks. Ron Hodges drew a walk to force home Strawberry for a 2-0 Mets lead. Lollar then retired Jose Oquendo on a fly ball to right fielder Sixto Lezcano to end the inning.

Seaver set down the Padres in order in the top of the second. Brooks smacked a triple to center field with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Trying to score on the play, Hubie was caught at home via a relay throw by shortstop Garry Templeton to catcher Terry Kennedy for the inning’s third out. In the top of the third, Seaver fanned the first two San Diego batters and issued a walk to Lollar. An ensuing single by Alan Wiggins moved Lollar to second base. Gene Richards doubled to score Lollar for the Padres’ first run of the game. On the hit, right fielder Strawberry threw to catcher Hodges for an inning-ending out at home on Wiggins. The Mets were then retired in order by Lollar in the bottom half.

In the top of the fourth inning, Steve Garvey homered with one out to tie the game. Kennedy was struck out and consecutive singles by Lezcano and Templeton ensued. Seaver got Tim Flannery to fly out to left fielder Foster and end the inning. Lollar hurled a perfect bottom half and Richards hit a two-out triple in the top of the fifth. Juan Bonilla singled to score Richards and give the Padres a 3-2 lead. Garvey then hit a ground ball to shortstop Oquendo for a force play that closed out the inning.

Seaver opened the bottom of the fifth with a single to center field. Mookie Wilson went down on strikes and Brooks followed with a double on which Seaver went to third base. Strawberry slugged a three-run homer (his first round-tripper at Shea) to put the Mets ahead, 5-3. San Diego reliever Mike Couchee retired Foster on a grounder back to the mound. Couchee then got Kingman on a fly ball to left fielder Richards for the inning’s final out.

Seaver retired the side in order in the top of the sixth inning. Giles drew a walk and stole second base to begin the bottom half. Couchee got Hodges to fly out to center fielder Wiggins and struck out Oquendo. Padres’ reliever Gary Lucas got pinch-hitter Rusty Staub on a grounder to second baseman Bonilla to end the inning. For the Mets, reliever Jesse Orosco pitched a scoreless top of the seventh.

Wilson singled against San Diego’s Elias Sosa to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning. Mookie stole second base and Brooks reached on an error by third baseman Luis Salazar. Wilson and Brooks pulled off a double steal and Strawberry was struck out. Foster hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Wilson from third for the Mets’ sixth run of the game. Sosa then struck out Kingman to finish off the inning.

Garvey hit a double to begin the top of the eighth. Kennedy singled to score Garvey and a fly ball by Lezcano was caught by Foster. Orosco got Templeton to hit a ground ball to third baseman Brooks for an inning-ending double play. To open the bottom half, Sosa issued a walk to Giles. With Padres’ reliever Mark Thurmond on the mound, Giles stole second base. Hodges grounded out to Templeton to move Giles to third and Oquendo was hit by a pitch. On a failed squeeze attempt, Giles was tagged out by Kennedy. Thurmond then retired Orosco on a grounder to Salazar to end the inning.

Salazar drew a leadoff walk in the top of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Kurt Bevaqua lined out to center fielder Wilson and a walk to Wiggins followed. Orosco got Richards on a line drive to Strawberry for the second out of the inning and Bonilla singled against Mets’ reliever Doug Sisk to load the bases. Sisk then retired Garvey on a fly ball to Foster to end the game. The Mets had a series-opening victory as Strawberry’s first home run at Shea proved to be a game-winner.

Notes

  • The win for Seaver was his 20th against the Padres as a Mets pitcher.