May 20, 1987: Six Runs in 4th Bury Padres

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Date: May 20, 1987
Mets starter: Rick Aguilera
Mets: 10
Padres: 3
Winning pitcher: Rick Aguilera
Key player(s): Gary Carter, Rafael Santana
Key play: Carter’s single, Santana’s double

The Mets faced the Padres on a Wednesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. After falling behind early, the Mets scored six runs in the fourth inning and coasted to a 10-3 win over San Diego.

Stan Jefferson hit a triple against Mets’ starter Rick Aguilera to lead off the top of the first inning. Joey Cora grounded out to second baseman Wally Backman to drive home Jefferson and a walk to Tony Gwynn followed. Carmelo Martinez singled and Kevin Mitchell’s ground out to first baseman Keith Hernandez advanced the runners to second and third base. A wild pitch scored Gwynn with the Padres’ second run and John Kruk drew a walk. Aguilera struck out Benito Santiago to end the inning. For San Diego, Ed Whitson pitched a scoreless bottom half.

After scoreless second and third innings, Aguilera set down the Padres in order in the top of the fourth. Kevin McReynolds doubled with one out in the bottom half. Darryl Strawberry drew a walk and Gary Carter singled to score McReynolds. On Carter’s hit, Strawberry came home with the tying run via an error by center fielder Jefferson. Howard Johnson walked and came around to score (with Carter) on an ensuing double by Rafael Santana. Aguilera was struck out and Lenny Dykstra singled to drive home Santana for a 5-2 Mets lead. Whitson was then replaced on the mound by San Diego reliever Storm Davis.

With Backman at bat, Dykstra stole second base and moved to third on catcher Santiago’s throwing error. Backman reached on an error by shortstop Luis Salazar that allowed Dykstra to score the Mets’ sixth run of the inning. Davis retired Hernandez on an inning-ending ground ball to Salazar and a bunt single by Cora opened the top of the fifth. Gwynn flied out to left fielder McReynolds and a single by Martinez ensued. Aguilera got Mitchell to hit a grounder to shortstop Santana for a double play that ended the inning. Davis then hurled a perfect bottom half.

Aguilera shut down the Padres in the top of the sixth. Leading off the bottom of the inning, Johnson homered against San Diego’s Greg Booker. Santana singled and pinch-hitter Mookie Wilson drew a walk. Dykstra hit a force play ground ball to Salazar and stole second base. On Backman’s ensuing grounder, second baseman Cora threw to catcher Santiago for an out at home on Santana. Booker then got Hernandez to ground out to Cora and finish off the inning.

Jefferson singled against Mets’ reliever Gene Walter to begin the top of the seventh. Cora drew a walk and Gwynn was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Terry Leach came in to pitch for New York and retired Martinez on a foul pop-up to catcher Carter. Mitchell drew a walk to force home Jefferson with the Padres’ third run of the game. Leach then got Kruk to hit a ground ball to Hernandez for a double play and close out the inning.

Strawberry got a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh. Darryl stole second base and went to third on an error by Santiago. Carter followed with a sacrifice fly to drive home Strawberry for an 8-3 Mets lead. Davis fanned Johnson to end the inning and Santiago was hit by a pitch to begin the top of the eighth. Salazar singled and Mets’ reliever Jesse Orosco retired pinch-hitter Randy Ready on a foul pop-up to Hernandez. Jefferson flied out to center fielder Dykstra to send Santiago to third. Orosco then retired Cora on a fly ball to Dykstra that closed out the inning.

Wilson drew a one-out walk against San Diego reliever Rich Gossage in the bottom of the eighth. Orosco was struck out and Backman doubled to score Wilson. Hernandez drew a walk and McReynolds hit a single to plate Backman with the Mets’ tenth run. On his own hit, McReynolds was caught by left fielder Kruk’s throw to Cora for the inning’s final out.

Leading off the top of the ninth, Gwynn singled to left field. Orosco followed up with strikeouts of both Martinez and Mitchell. Jesse then fanned Kruk to bring the game to an end. The Mets had a victory to close out the series.