May 22, 1982: Mets Beat Astros in 12 Innings

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Date: May 22, 1982
Mets starter: Pete Falcone
Mets: 6
Astros: 5
Winning pitcher: Neil Allen
Key player(s): John Stearns, Gary Rajsich, Terry Puhl
Key play: Rajsich’s double, Puhl’s grand slam, Ashby’s error

The Mets faced the Astros on a Saturday night in Houston. The teams played the second of three games in a weekend series. After squandering a four-run lead in the ninth inning, the Mets scored in the 12th for a 6-5 win.

Pete Falcone and the Astros’ Nolan Ryan each started the game with two scoreless innings pitched. Mookie Wilson singled to open the top of the third. Wilson stole second base and advanced to third on Bob Bailor’s ground out back to Ryan. George Foster grounded out to Ryan to drive home Wilson for a 1-0 Mets lead. Ryan retired Dave Kingman on a ground ball to third baseman Dickie Thon to close out the inning. Falcone then yielded just a single to Terry Puhl in the bottom half.

After a scoreless fourth, Ryan shut down the Mets again in the top of the fifth. Kiko Garcia drew a walk with one out in the bottom of the inning. Puhl tripled to score Garcia and tie the game at 1-1. Falcone retired both Alan Ashby and Ryan on infield ground balls to end the inning. Ryan pitched a perfect top of the sixth and Ray Knight got a two-out single in the bottom half. Jose Cruz singled to send Knight to third base. Falcone then got Phil Garner on a fly ball to left fielder Foster for the third out of the inning.

Bailor hit a single with two outs in the top of the seventh. Bob stole second base and Foster drew a walk. Kingman singled to bring home Bailor with the go-ahead run and Ryan struck out Gary Rajsich to finish off the inning. Mets’ reliever Craig Swan hurled a perfect bottom half and John Stearns hit a triple to begin the top of the eighth. Wally Backman grounded out to second baseman Garner and a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Rusty Staub plated Stearns for a 3-1 New York lead. Swan walked and Ryan fanned Wilson to close out the inning. Thon hit a one-out double in the bottom half. Swan then retired both Tony Scott and Knight on outfield fly balls for the inning’s final outs.

Foster singled against Houston reliever Dave Smith with one out in the top of the ninth. A sacrifice bunt by Kingman advanced Foster to second base. Rajsich hit a double that brought home Foster with the Mets’ fourth run of the game. Stearns singled to score Rajsich and increase the New York lead to 5-1. Smith then got Hubie Brooks to fly out to center fielder Scott and end the inning.

Cruz singled against Swan to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Garner hit a single and Craig Reynolds reached on first baseman Kingman’s error to load the bases. Puhl connected for a grand slam off Mets’ reliever Neil Allen to tie the game at 5-5. Ashby grounded out to second baseman Bailor and a fly ball by pinch-hitter Danny Heep was caught by left fielder Ellis Valentine. Thon hit a single to center field. Allen then retired Scott on a fly ball to center fielder Wilson to close out the inning and send the game onward.

Allen and Astros’ reliever Frank LaCorte each pitched scoreless 10th and 11th innings. Stearns drew a one-out walk against Houston’s Randy Moffitt in the top of the 12th. John stole second base and moved to third after Brooks’ fly out to Scott. Tom Veryzer was walked intentionally and Allen reached on an error by catcher Ashby that allowed Stearns to score and give the Mets a one-run lead. Moffitt then got Wilson to fly out to left fielder Cruz and finish off the inning.

Thon popped out to Kingman to begin the bottom of the 12th. Scott went down on strikes and Knight singled to center field. Allen then got Cruz to hit a force play grounder to third baseman Brooks for the game’s final out. The Mets had emerged with a victory in extra innings.