May 6, 1988: Strawberry Homers Off Franco in 10th

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Date: May 6, 1988
Mets starter: Dwight Gooden
Mets: 4
Reds: 3
Winning pitcher: Randy Myers
Key player(s): Darryl Strawberry
Key play: Strawberry’s two-run homer in 10th

The Mets faced the Reds on a Friday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Darryl Strawberry hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning to give the Mets a 4-3 win over Cincinnati.

Mets’ starter Dwight Gooden pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. In the bottom half, Tim Teufel drew a one-out walk and advanced to third base on a single by Keith Hernandez. Strawberry hit a sacrifice fly to score Teufel and put the Mets ahead, 1-0. Reds’ starter Dennis Rasmussen then retired Kevin McReynolds on a fly ball to left fielder Kal Daniels for the third out.

Gooden and Rasmussen each pitched scoreless ball from the second inning to the fourth. Dwight shut down Cincinnati despite giving up three singles and a double. Meanwhile, the Mets were limited to three hits by Rasmussen. In the top of the fifth, Barry Larkin and Chris Sabo got back-to-back singles off Gooden with two outs. Dwight then got Daniels on a fly ball to center fielder Mookie Wilson to end the inning.

Rasmussen walked Hernandez with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. Keith stole second base and came home on a single by Strawberry. Darryl stole second and McReynolds hit a ground ball to shortstop Larkin for the final out of the inning. Gooden shut down the Reds in the top of the sixth. Rasmussen then retired the Mets 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

To start the top of the seventh inning, Gooden walked Ron Roenicke and hit Jeff Treadway with a pitch. Pinch-hitter Dave Collins singled to bring home Roenicke. A double play grounder by Larkin moved Treadway to third base. Sabo followed with a single to score Treadway and tie the game at 2-2. With Daniels at bat, Sabo was caught stealing on a throw by Mets’ catcher Gary Carter. Cincinnati relievers Frank Williams and Rob Murphy then combined for a scoreless bottom of the inning.

Gooden and Murphy each pitched a perfect eighth inning. With two outs in the top of the ninth, Treadway singled and pinch-runner Eric Davis stole second base. Pinch-hitter Lloyd McClendon drew a walk and both runners advanced on a double steal. Gooden retired Larkin on an inning-ending ground ball to shortstop Kevin Elster. Reds’ reliever John Franco then set down the Mets in order in the bottom of the ninth.

Leading off the top of the 10th, Sabo homered off Mets’ reliever Randy Myers to give Cincinnati a 3-2 lead. Daniels got an infield single and Paul O’Neill hit into a force play. Myers then struck out Nick Esasky and Bo Diaz to end the inning.

Franco retired the first two Mets batters in the bottom of the 10th. Hernandez drew a walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Wally Backman. Strawberry followed with a home run to end the game. The Mets had an exciting extra-inning victory.