October 14, 1986: Game Five of the NLCS

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Date: October 14, 1986
Mets starter: Dwight Gooden
Mets: 2
Astros: 1
Winning pitcher: Jesse Orosco
Key player(s): Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Carter
Key play: Carter's single in 12th

The Mets faced the Astros in the fifth game of the National League Championship Series on a Tuesday afternoon at Shea Stadium. After being postponed one day by rain, the game was played before 54,986 fans on hand. The Mets emerged with a 2-1 win over Houston in 12 innings for a three-games-to-two lead in the Series.

Dwight Gooden and the Astros’ Nolan Ryan each started the game with four scoreless innings pitched. In the top of the fifth, Alan Ashby led off with a double to right field. Craig Reynolds singled to move Ashby to third base. On a bunt by Ryan, Gooden threw to shortstop Rafael Santana for a force out on Reynolds at second base. Bill Doran hit a force play grounder to second baseman Wally Backman that brought home Ashby. Doran stole second base and Billy Hatcher drew a walk. Gooden then retired Denny Walling on a fly ball to left fielder Mookie Wilson to end the inning.

To begin the bottom of the fifth, Gary Carter flied out to right fielder Kevin Bass. An ensuing home run by Darryl Strawberry tied the game at 1-1. Ryan struck out Wilson and got Ray Knight on an inning-ending fly ball to Bass. After hitting a single with one out in the top of the sixth, Bass was caught stealing on a throw by catcher Carter to Santana. Gooden fanned Jose Cruz for the third out of the inning. Ryan then set down the Mets 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Gooden threw a called third strike past Ryan to conclude a perfect top of the seventh. Keith Hernandez hit a one-out single in the bottom of the inning. Carter popped out to shortstop Reynolds and a walk to Strawberry followed. Ryan retired Wilson on a fly ball to left fielder Cruz for the third out. Gooden shut down Houston in the top of the eighth and Ryan responded with a perfect bottom half. Dwight retired all three Astros batters in the top of the ninth inning. Ryan then set down the Mets in order for the seventh time to send the game onward.

Pinch-hitter Terry Puhl singled with two outs in the top of the 10th inning. Puhl stole second base and Doran drew a walk. Gooden retired Hatcher on a fly ball to right fielder Strawberry to end the inning. Houston reliever Charlie Kerfeld pitched a perfect bottom half. For the Mets, reliever Jesse Orosco retired the side in order in the top of the 11th. Kerfeld set down the Mets 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning. Orosco then hurled a perfect top of the 12th.

Backman got an infield single with one out in the bottom of the 12th inning. Wally advanced to second base on Kerfeld’s pickoff throw that got past first baseman Glenn Davis. Hernandez was given an intentional walk. Carter (hitless in his previous fifteen at bats) followed with a single to drive home Backman with the winning run. The Mets had a victory to take the Series lead.