May 31, 1988: Mets Outlast Dodgers in 11 Innings

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Date: May 31, 1988
Mets starter: Dwight Gooden
Mets: 5
Dodgers: 4
Winning pitcher: Randy Myers
Key player(s): Wally Backman, Keith Hernandez, Kevin Elster
Key play: Backman’s and Hernandez’s singles in 10th, Elster’s homer in 11th

The Mets faced the Dodgers on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played an extra-inning game in front of 35,564 fans on hand. In the 11th, the Mets emerged with a 5-4 win over Los Angeles.

Mets’ starter Dwight Gooden issued a walk to Danny Heep with one out in the top of the first inning. Kirk Gibson singled to advance Heep to third base. Gibson stole second and a ground out by Pedro Guerrero to shortstop Howard Johnson drove home Heep with the first run of the game. Gooden retired John Shelby on an inning-ending pop-up to Johnson. For the Dodgers, Don Sutton set down the side in order in the bottom half.

Gooden and Sutton each pitched scoreless ball from the second inning to the fourth. Dwight held Los Angeles to a single by Sutton in the top of the fifth and singled himself to open the bottom of the inning. Lenny Dykstra reached on a bunt and a balk by Sutton moved the runners to second and third. Wally Backman hit a single to score Gooden and Dykstra, giving the Mets a 2-1 lead. Keith Hernandez hit a ground ball to shortstop Dave Anderson for a double play. Sutton then got Kevin McReynolds on a grounder to third baseman Guerrero to end the inning.

Gooden retired the Dodgers 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth. Gary Carter doubled against Sutton to lead off the bottom half. Los Angeles reliever Tim Crews got Johnson to fly out to left fielder Gibson. Mookie Wilson lined out to Gibson, who threw to Anderson at second base for an out on Carter and an inning-ending double play. Gooden pitched a scoreless top of the seventh. Crews then hurled a perfect bottom of the inning.

Gooden and Dodgers’ reliever Jesse Orosco each retired the side in order in the eighth. Leading off the top of the ninth, Gibson homered to tie the game. Dwight set down the next thee batters on ground balls to close out the inning and Orosco pitched a perfect bottom half. With one out in the top of the 10th, Mike Sharperson and Mickey Hatcher got back-to-back singles. Steve Sax singled to score Sharperson and send Hatcher to third base. Against Mets’ reliever Roger McDowell, pinch-hitter Mike Marshall hit a force play grounder to Backman that drove home Hatcher for a 4-2 Dodgers lead. McDowell then retired Gibson on a fly ball to left fielder McReynolds for the inning’s final out.

Pinch-hitter Lee Mazzilli and Dykstra drew consecutive walks against Los Angeles reliever Jay Howell with one out in the bottom of the 10th. Backman singled to drive home Mazzilli and send Dykstra to third base. An ensuing single by Hernandez scored Dykstra to tie the game. Alejandro Pena came in to pitch for Los Angeles and struck out McReynolds. Carter popped out to second baseman Sax to end the inning. Mets’ reliever Randy Myers then shut down the Dodgers in the top of the 11th.

Johnson grounded out to first baseman Franklin Stubbs to lead off the bottom of the 11th inning. Pena followed up with a strikeout of Wilson. Kevin Elster came to bat and hit a home run that ended the game. The Mets had an exciting come-from-behind victory.