May 27, 1986: Darling Strikes Out 12 in Win Over Dodgers

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Date: May 27, 1986
Mets starter: Ron Darling
Mets: 8
Dodgers: 1
Winning pitcher: Ron Darling
Key player(s): Ron Darling, George Foster, Ray Knight
Key play: Foster’s grand slam, Knight’s hit by pitch

The Mets faced the Dodgers on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The game featured a 12-strikeout display by Ron Darling and a bench-clearing brawl. In the end, the Mets came away with an 8-1 win over Los Angeles.

In the top of the first inning, Ken Landreaux homered with one out to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Darling retired Bill Madlock on a fly ball to center fielder Len Dykstra and struck out Mike Marshall for the third out. Los Angeles starter Bob Welch set down the Mets in order in the bottom half. Darling recorded a strikeout of Franklin Stubbs in a scoreless top of the second and fanned all three Dodgers hitters in the top of the third. Welch responded with four strikeouts of his own in pitching perfect bottom halves. Ron then set down Los Angeles 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth inning.

Dykstra singled to lead off the bottom of the fourth. Wally Backman hit into a force play and advanced to third base on a single by Keith Hernandez. Gary Carter hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Backman and tie the game. Welch retired Danny Heep on a ground ball to first baseman Greg Brock to end the inning. Darling struck out the side in order in the top of the fifth. Welch then recorded three more strikeouts (raising his game total to eight) in a scoreless bottom half.

Darling struck out Landreaux between a pair of ground outs for a perfect top of the sixth inning. In the bottom half, Dykstra led off with a single and came around to score on Backman’s ensuing double. Hernandez got an infield single to move Backman to third. Wally came home on Carter’s single to center field and a single by Heep loaded the bases. George Foster hit a grand slam off Dodgers’ reliever Tom Niedenfuer to extend the Mets’ lead to 7-1. Ray Knight was hit by a pitch and ran towards Niederfuer, sparking a bench-clearing brawl. When order was restored, Niedenfuer gave up a single to Rafael Santana and made an error on Darling’s bunt to reload the bases. Reliever Ed Vande Berg then came in to pitch for Los Angeles and recorded three outs with no further scoring.

Marshall singled to open the top of the seventh inning. Mike Scioscia hit into a force play and moved to second on Brock’s single to right field. Darling threw a called third strike past Stubbs and got Mariano Duncan on an inning-ending ground out to shortstop Santana. Hernandez homered off Dodgers’ reliever Alejandro Pena for the Mets’ eighth run to begin the bottom half. Carter flied out to left fielder Stubbs and a double by Heep followed. Pena walked Knight and struck out Santana to end the inning. Darling shut down Los Angeles in the top of the eighth. Pena then pitched a perfect bottom of the inning.

To start the top of the ninth, Darling retired Marshall on a called third strike. Scioscia hit a double and Ron got pinch-hitter Cesar Cedeno for his twelfth strikeout. Stubbs grounded out to second baseman Backman to end the game. The Mets had a victory as Darling chalked up his sixth straight winning decision of the year.