September 10, 1985: Mets Down Cards for Division Lead

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Date: September 10, 1985
Mets starter: Ron Darling
Mets: 5
Cardinals: 4
Winning pitcher: Ron Darling
Key player(s): Howard Johnson, Keith Hernandez, Roger McDowell
Key play: Hernandez’s single, Johnson’s grand slam

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams were tied for first place in the National League East Division as they began a three-game series. The Mets came away with a 5-4 win over St. Louis to take a one-game division lead.

With two outs in the top of the first inning, Tommy Herr homered to put the Redbirds ahead by a run. Mets’ starter Ron Darling threw a called third strike past Darrell Porter for the third out and Mookie Wilson singled against the Cards’ Danny Cox to open the bottom half. Wally Backman flied out to center fielder Willie McGee and a single by Keith Hernandez scored Wilson all the way from first base to tie the game. Gary Carter grounded out to third baseman Terry Pendleton and a walk to Darryl Strawberry followed. George Foster was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Howard Johnson hit a grand slam to give the Mets a 5-1 lead. Cox then got Rafael Santana to ground out to shortstop Ozzie Smith and end the inning.

Darling and Cox each pitched scoreless ball from the second inning to the fourth. Smith hit a one-out double in the top of the fifth. Pinch-hitter Curt Ford was called out on strikes and Vince Coleman singled to drive home Smith. Coleman stole second base and McGee drew a walk. Darling got Herr on an inning-ending force play ground ball to second baseman Backman. St. Louis reliever Ricky Horton then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

After a scoreless sixth, consecutive walks to Mike Jorgensen and Smith opened the top of the seventh inning. Pinch-hitter Steve Braun followed with a force play grounder to first baseman Hernandez. Coleman doubled to score Jorgensen and send Braun to third base. Mets’ reliever Roger McDowell retired McGee on a ground ball to Backman that plated pinch-runner Tom Lawless with the Cardinals’ fourth run of the game. McDowell retired Herr on a fly ball to right fielder Strawberry that ended the inning. Redbirds’ reliever Ken Dayley then set down the side in order in the bottom half.

McDowell shut down the Cards in the top of the eighth. Dayley hurled a perfect bottom of the inning and pinch-hitter Cesar Cedeno grounded out to shortstop Santana to begin the top of the ninth. Coleman was retired on a pop-up to Santana. McDowell then retired McGee on a ground ball back to the mound for the game’s final out. The Mets had a victory to take over sole possession of first place in the N. L. East.