May 4, 1986: Mets Complete Sweep of Reds

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Date: May 4, 1986
Mets starter: Ron Darling
Mets: 7
Reds: 2
Winning pitcher: Ron Darling
Key player(s): Darryl Strawberry, Wally Backman, Ray Knight
Key play: Strawberry’s two homers, Backman’s and Knight’s RBI singles

The Mets faced the Reds on a Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. The Mets completed a series sweep with a 7-2 win.

Wally Backman hit a double against Reds’ starter Mario Soto with one out in the top of the first inning. Keith Hernandez flied out to right fielder Dave Parker and a two-run homer by Darryl Strawberry ensued. Gary Carter doubled and Danny Heep was given an intentional walk. Ray Knight singled to drive home Carter for a 3-0 Mets lead. Soto retired Howard Johnson on a pop-up to second baseman Ron Oester for the third out. Mets’ starter Ron Darling then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Following a scoreless second inning, Soto threw a called third strike past Hernandez to begin the top of the third. Strawberry hit his second home run of the game to extend the New York lead to 4-0. Carter was struck out and Heep grounded out to Oester to end the inning. Eddie Milner drew a one-out walk in the bottom half. Pete Rose popped out to shortstop Johnson and a double by Parker advanced Milner to third base. Kal Daniels walked to load the bases and Dave Concepcion grounded back to Darling for the inning’s final out. Soto gave up just a single to Darling in the top of the fourth. Ron then set down the side in order in the bottom half.

Backman got a bunt single to lead off the top of the fifth inning. Hernandez singled to send Backman to third base and Strawberry went down on strikes. Carter flied out to Parker and a single by Heep brought home Backman with the Mets’ fifth run. Knight grounded back to Soto to close out the inning and Milner singled with one out in the bottom half. Milner advanced to third on a single by Rose and came home on Parker’s sacrifice fly. Darling then got Daniels to ground out to first baseman Hernandez and finish off the inning.

Lenny Dykstra got a two-out single against Cincinnati reliever Scott Terry in the top of the sixth. Dykstra stole second base and scored on a single by Backman for a 6-1 Mets lead. On his own hit, Wally was out at second on first baseman Rose’s throw to shortstop Kurt Stillwell to end the inning. Concepcion singled to lead off the bottom half. Stillwell followed with a ground ball to Hernandez for a double play. Darling then got Bo Diaz on a pop-up to Johnson for the inning’s third out.

Terry shut down the Mets in the top of the seventh. Milner and Rose drew back-to-back walks against Darling with two outs in the bottom half. Parker hit a single off Mets’ reliever Randy Niemann to score Milner with the Reds’ second run. Daniels walked to load the bases and New York’s Roger McDowell retired Concepcion on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Dykstra. Cincinnati reliever Ted Power yielded only a single to Knight in the top of the eighth. McDowell then hurled a perfect bottom of the inning.

Backman doubled for his fourth hit of the game to open the top of the ninth. Hernandez singled to send Backman to third base and moved to second on a throw. Strawberry was walked intentionally to load the bases and strikeouts of Carter and McDowell ensued. Knight drew a walk that forced home pinch-runner Tim Teufel with the Mets’ seventh run. Power then got Rafael Santana on a line drive to third baseman Buddy Bell to close out the inning.

Pinch-hitter Max Venable popped out to second baseman Teufel to begin the bottom of the ninth. Milner was retired on a ground ball to Hernandez. McDowell then got Rose to ground out to Teufel and end the game. The Mets had a victory and a sweep of the three-game series.