September 21, 1988: Mets Clinch Tie for Title

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Date: September 21, 1988
Mets starter: Sid Fernandez
Mets: 4
Phillies: 3
Winning pitcher: Sid Fernandez
Key player(s): Darryl Strawberry, Gregg Jefferies
Key play: Strawberry’s and Jefferies’ home runs

The Mets faced the Phillies on a Wednesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the second part of a three-game series. The Mets came away with a 4-2 win over Philadelphia that clinched a tie for the National League East Division title.

Following a scoreless first inning, Lance Parrish doubled off Mets’ starter Sid Fernandez with two outs in the top of the second. An ensuing single by Chris James scored Parrish for a 1-0 Phillies lead. Fernandez retired Steve Jeltz on a ground ball to shortstop Howard Johnson for the third out. Kevin McReynolds and Johnson began the bottom half with back-to-back singles. Phils’ starter Marvin Freeman retired Gary Carter on a foul pop-up to first baseman Ricky Jordan and got Dave Magadan to fly out to left fielder Phil Bradley. Catcher Parrish’s passed ball moved the runners to second and third base. Freeman then struck out Fernandez to end the inning.

Sid shut down the Phillies in the top of the third. Gregg Jefferies drew a two-out walk in the bottom half. Jefferies stole second and moved to third on Parrish’s throwing error. A single by Darryl Strawberry brought home Jefferies to tie the game. McReynolds was retired on an inning-ending pop-up to Jordan, who homered to lead off the top of the fourth. Fernandez held Philadelphia for the rest of the inning and Carter doubled with one out in the bottom half. Magadan’s ground out to second baseman Juan Samuel advanced Carter to third base. Fernandez singled to drive home Carter and tie the game at 2-2. Freeman then got Mookie Wilson on a ground ball to Jeltz for the third out.

Fernandez pitched a scoreless top of the fifth inning. With two outs in the bottom half, Strawberry hit a home run to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. McReynolds walked and stole second before Johnson grounded out to Samuel to end the inning. Sid threw called third strikes past Samuel and Parrish to close out a scoreless top of the sixth and Magadan got a one-out single in the bottom of the inning. A sacrifice bunt by Fernandez moved Dave to second base. On Wilson’s ensuing single, Magadan was out at home on a throw from Bradley to Parrish. Fernandez then set down the Phils 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh.

Jefferies homered off Phillies’ reliever Bruce Ruffin with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. Strawberry was called out on strikes and McReynolds doubled to left field. Ruffin issued a walk to Johnson and retired Carter on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Bob Dernier. Fernandez limited the Phillies to a single by Dernier in the top of the eighth. Ruffin then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Jordan hit a triple to lead off the top of the ninth inning. Mets’ reliever Randy Myers came in to pitch and got Samuel on a grounder to second baseman Wally Backman that drove home Jordan. Parrish followed with a single to left field. Myers then got James to hit a ground ball to Johnson for a game-ending double play. The Mets had sealed at least a tie for the N. L. East Division crown.