September 19, 1987: Hernandez Slams the Bucs

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Date: September 19, 1987
Mets starter: Rick Aguilera
Mets: 5
Pirates: 4
Winning pitcher: Rick Aguilera
Key player(s): Lenny Dykstra, Rick Aguilera
Key play: Dykstra’s single, Hernandez’s grand slam

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Saturday night in Pittsburgh. The teams played following ceremonies of Mets’ broadcaster Ralph Kiner having his uniform number 4 retired by the Bucs at Three Rivers Stadium. The game featured a grand slam by Keith Hernandez that highlighted a 5-4 Mets win.

Pirates’ starter Vicente Palacios set down the side in order in the top of the first inning. Jose Lind singled against the Mets’ Rick Aguilera with one out in the bottom half. Andy Van Slyke hit a force play ground ball to second baseman Tim Teufel and stole second base. Bobby Bonilla drew a walk and a passed ball by catcher Gary Carter advanced the runners to second and third. Sid Bream hit a double to score Van Slyke and Bonilla for a 2-0 Pittsburgh lead. Aguilera then struck out R. J. Reynolds to end the inning.

Aguilera and Palacios each pitched scoreless ball from the second inning to the fourth. Teufel drew a walk to lead off the top of the fifth. Rafael Santana singled and Aguilera followed with a bunt single to load the bases. Lenny Dykstra got an infield single to drive home Teufel and a pop-up by Howard Johnson was caught by shortstop Felix Fermin. Hernandez slugged a grand slam to put the Mets ahead, 5-2. Darryl Strawberry was retired on a ground ball to Fermin. Palacios then got Mookie Wilson to ground out to first baseman Bream and finish off the inning.

Lind hit a one-out single in the bottom of the fifth. Van Slyke was hit by a pitch and Bonilla singled to score Lind. Bream hit a grounder to shortstop Santana for an inning-ending double play and Bucs’ reliever Bob Walk pitched a scoreless top of the sixth. To begin the bottom half, Reynolds singled and advanced to third base on a single by Mike LaValliere. Fermin popped out to Aguilera, who was then replaced on the mound by Mets’ reliever Randy Myers. Pinch-hitter Mike Diaz hit a sacrifice fly to score Reynolds with the Pirates’ fourth run of the game. Myers then struck out Barry Bonds to end the inning.

Bucs’ reliever John Smiley set down the side in order in the top of the seventh. Lind drew a walk to lead off the bottom half. Van Slyke went down in strikes and Bonilla reached second base on right fielder Strawberry’s error that sent Lind to third. Pinch-hitter Darnell Coles was walked intentionally to load the bases and Reynolds hit a ground ball on which third baseman Johnson threw to Carter for an out at home on Lind. Myers then fanned pinch-hitter John Cangelosi for the inning’s final out.

Smiley and Pittsburgh reliever Tim Drummond combined for a scoreless top of the eighth. Fermin drew a leadoff walk against Myers in the bottom half. Pinch-hitter Al Pedrique’s sacrifice bunt advanced Fermin to second base and New York’s Roger McDowell retired pinch-hitter Terry Harper on a grounder to Santana. Lind grounded back to McDowell for the third out of the inning and Dykstra drew a two-out walk against the Pirates’ Jeff Robinson in the top of the ninth. Lenny stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. Robinson then retired Johnson on a grounder back to the mound to close out the inning.

Van Slyke singled to open the bottom of the ninth. Bonilla drew a walk and Coles was struck out. McDowell then got Reynolds to hit a ground ball to second baseman Keith Miller for a game-ending double play. The Mets had held on for a victory.