September 2, 1988: Darling and Four Homers Bury Dodgers

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Date: September 2, 1988
Mets starter: Ron Darling
Mets: 8
Dodgers: 0
Winning pitcher: Ron Darling
Key player(s): Ron Darling, Kevin Elster, Mookie Wilson, Gregg Jefferies
Key play: Mets’ four home runs

The Mets faced the Dodgers on a Friday night at Shea Stadium. The teams began a weekend series in front of 44,889 fans on hand. The Mets slugged four home runs and Ron Darling pitched a shutout in an 8-0 win over Los Angeles.

Darling and the Dodgers’ Tim Leary each started the game with two scoreless innings pitched. Ron set down the side in order in the top of the third and Kevin Elster homered to lead off the bottom half. Darling and Mookie Wilson both went down on strikes and Gregg Jefferies hit a home run for a 2-0 Mets lead. Keith Hernandez grounded out to second baseman Steve Sax to end the inning and Darling pitched a perfect top of the fourth. Leary then retired the Mets 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Darling held the Dodgers to a single by Alfredo Griffin in the top of the fifth. Gary Carter opened the bottom of the inning with a single to left field. Elster followed with his second homer of the game for two more Mets runs. Leary retired the next three New York batters and Darling hurled a perfect top of the sixth. With one out in the bottom half, Darryl Strawberry drew a walk and Kevin McReynolds singled. Leary got Howard Johnson on a foul pop-up to third baseman Tracy Woodson and retired Carter on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder John Shelby. Darling then shut down the Dodgers in the top of the seventh.

Elster drew a walk to begin the bottom of the seventh inning. Kevin moved to second base on a wild pitch and Darling popped out to Leary. Wilson hit a two-run homer to extend the Mets’ lead to 6-0. Against Los Angeles reliever Ricky Horton, Jefferies singled and advanced all the way to third on an error by left fielder Kirk Gibson. Hernandez hit a single to drive home Jefferies and a strikeout of Strawberry ensued. McReynolds reached second base on right fielder Mike Davis’s error that allowed Hernandez to score the Mets’ eighth run. Horton then retired Johnson on a fly ball to Shelby to end the inning.

Darling set down the side 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. Dodgers’ reliever William Brennan pitched a scoreless bottom half. Ron retired pinch-hitter Danny Heep on a ground ball to second baseman Jefferies to start the top of the ninth inning. Mike Sharperson hit a single and Davis flied out to right fielder Wilson. Darling then got pinch-hitter Mickey Hatcher on a pop-up to Jefferies for the final out of the game. The Mets had a victory on Ron’s complete game shutout.