May 7, 1991: Mets Beat Dodgers in Darryl's Return

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Date: May 7, 1991
Mets starter: Frank Viola
Mets: 6
Dodgers: 5
Winning pitcher: Frank Viola
Key player(s): Howard Johnson, Tommy Herr, Frank Viola, Darryl Strawberry
Key play: Johnson’s homer and double, Viola’s single, Strawberry’s home run

The Mets faced the Dodgers on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The game marked the return of Darryl Strawberry to Queens after eight seasons with the orange and blue. Strawberry hit his first Shea homer as a visiting player, but also made the final out in the Mets’ 6-5 win over Los Angeles.

Mets’ starter Frank Viola retired Strawberry on a fly ball to center fielder Vince Coleman to finish off a scoreless top of the first inning. With one out in the bottom half, Tommy Herr singled against the Dodgers’ Tim Belcher. Dave Magadan reached on an error by second baseman Juan Samuel and a ground out by Hubie Brooks to shortstop Alfredo Griffin advanced the runners to second and third. Howard Johnson drew a walk to load the bases. Kevin McReynolds reached on left fielder Kal Daniels’ error that allowed Herr and Magadan to score. Chris Donnels (in his first major league at-bat) hit a single to bring home Johnson for a 3-0 Mets lead. Belcher then retired Rick Cerone on a pop-up to catcher Mike Scioscia for the third out of the inning.

Following a scoreless second, Viola yielded only a single to Belcher in the top of the third. Johnson hit a home run to begin the bottom half. McReynolds singled and Donnels drew a walk. Cerone followed with a double play grounder to third baseman Jeff Hamilton on which McReynolds went to third base. Viola singled to bring home McReynolds and extend the Mets’ lead to 5-0. Belcher then got Coleman to hit a ground ball to Samuel for a force play that ended the inning.

Viola limited the Dodgers to a single by Eddie Murray in the top of the fourth. Herr drew a walk to open the bottom of the inning. Magadan popped out to Griffin and a stolen base by Herr followed. Brooks went down on strikes and Johnson doubled to drive home Herr with the Mets’ sixth run of the game. Belcher was replaced on the mound by Los Angeles reliever Tim Crews, who got McReynolds on an inning-ending pop-up to first baseman Murray. Viola hurled a perfect top of the fifth. Crews then set down the Mets in order in the bottom half.

Samuel got a two-out single in the top of the sixth inning. Strawberry followed with a homer for the Dodgers’ first two runs. An ensuing home run by Murray cut the Mets’ lead to 6-3 and a single by Daniels ensued. Hamilton hit a force play ground ball to third baseman Donnels for the inning’s third out and Los Angeles reliever Kevin Gross pitched a scoreless bottom half. Pinch-hitter Stan Javier tripled against the Mets’ Pete Schourek with two outs in the top of the seventh. Schourek responded by throwing a called third strike past Brett Butler to close out the inning. For the Dodgers, reliever Jim Gott set down the side in order in the bottom half.

Schourek and Gott each hurled a scoreless eighth inning. Against Mets’ reliever John Franco, Hamilton began the top of the ninth by reaching second base on an error by Donnels. Scioscia went down on strikes and pinch-hitter Mike Sharperson grounded out to first baseman Magadan. Pinch-hitter Gary Carter doubled to score Hamilton and an infield single by Butler ensued. Samuel hit a single to drive home Carter and send Butler to third. Franco then retired Strawberry on a grounder to Donnels to end the game. The Mets had a victory on the night that Darryl came back to Shea.