May 2, 1984: Heep Triples and Scores in 9th

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Date: May 2, 1984
Mets starter: Tim Leary
Mets: 4
Cubs: 3
Winning pitcher: Ed Lynch
Key player(s): Danny Heep, George Foster, Keith Hernandez
Key play: Foster’s home run, Heep’s triple, Hernandez’s sacrifice fly

The Mets and Cubs faced each other on a Wednesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the latter half of a two-game series with the Mets one game ahead of Chicago atop the National League East Division. Danny Heep hit a triple and scored in the ninth inning to give the Mets a 4-3 win over the Cubs.

Tim Leary and Chicago’s Chuck Rainey each started the game with two innings of shutout ball. In the top of the third, Bob Dernier led off with a single and Ryne Sandberg followed with a double to left field. Dernier came home to score on left fielder George Foster’s error for the first run of the game. Sandberg moved to third on Gary Matthews fly out to center fielder Mookie Wilson. Leon Durham then singled to drive home Sandberg with the Cubs’ second run.

After Durham stole second base and Ron Cey walked, Mel Hall hit a grounder to first baseman Keith Hernandez that sent Durham to third. Leary committed a balk to bring home Durham for a 3-0 Chicago lead. Tim followed up by striking out Jody Davis to end the inning. Rainey then shut down the Mets after a leadoff single by Mike Fitzgerald in the bottom half.

Leary set down the Cubs in order in the top of the fourth inning. Foster and Darryl Strawberry got back-to-back singles with one out in the bottom of the inning. Wilson flied out to advance Foster to third base and a double by Hubie Brooks plated George. Fitzgerald hit a grounder back to Rainey for the third out. Leary then shut down the Cubs in the top of the fifth.

Rainey walked Wally Backman with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning. Jose Oquendo singled and Hernandez drew a walk to load the bases. Backman came home on Rainey’s wild pitch to cut the Chicago lead to 3-2. Foster hit a ground ball on which third baseman Cey threw home for an out on Oquendo. A walk to Strawberry reloaded the bases for the Mets. Rainey got Wilson on a fly ball to center fielder Dernier to end the inning. Mets’ reliever Ed Lynch then pitched a scoreless top of the sixth inning.

In the bottom of the sixth, Cubs’ reliever Warren Brusstar shut down the Mets despite allowing two hits. Lynch retired Chicago 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh. Foster hit a solo home run off Brusstar with two outs in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. Strawberry flied out to left fielder Matthews for the third out of the seventh. Lynch and the Cubs’ Lee Smith each pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Ed then hurled a perfect top of the ninth for his fourth consecutive shutout inning.

Leading off the bottom of the ninth, Heep came up as a pinch-hitter for Lynch. Danny hit a drive that got past newly-inserted left fielder Henry Cotto and went to the wall. Heep got all the way to third base with a triple. Backman and pinch-hitter Rusty Staub each received intentional walks from Smith to load the bases with none out. Hernandez followed with a fly ball to Cotto after which Heep came home to score the winning run. The Mets had a come-from-behind victory to go two games ahead of Chicago in the National League East.