September 22, 1986: Gooden Two-Hits Cardinals

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Date: September 22, 1986
Mets starter: Dwight Gooden
Mets: 5
Cardinals: 2
Winning pitcher: Dwight Gooden
Key player(s): Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Rafael Santana, Wally Backman
Key play: Santana’s double, Strawberry’s and Backman’s home runs

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Monday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a two-game series. Dwight Gooden pitched a two-hit complete game in a 5-2 Mets win over St. Louis.

After a scoreless first inning, Gooden set down the side in order in the top of the second. Darryl Strawberry doubled against Cards’ starter Bob Forsch to lead off the bottom half. Strawberry advanced to third base on Mookie Wilson’s ground out to first baseman Mike Laga and a walk to Ray Knight ensued. Rafael Santana hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Strawberry for a 1-0 Mets lead. Forsch then retired Gooden on a fly ball to left fielder Vince Coleman to end the inning.

Gooden gave up only a single to Ozzie Smith in the top of the third. Forsch shut down the Mets in the bottom half and Willie McGee reached on first baseman Keith Hernandez’s error to begin the top of the fourth. McGee moved to second base on Tommy Herr’s ground out to second baseman Wally Backman. Laga grounded out to Backman and a single by Andy Van Slyke brought home McGee with the tying run. Van Slyke stole second and Gooden struck out Terry Pendleton to finish off the inning.

Leading off the bottom of the fourth, Strawberry homered to put the Mets back on top by a run. Wilson hit a double and went to third base on Knight’s ground out to Forsch. Santana doubled to score Wilson and increase the New York lead to 3-1. Gooden grounded out to second baseman Herr to send Santana to third. Forsch retired Lenny Dykstra on a grounder to Herr that ended the inning and Gooden hurled a perfect top of the fifth. Forsch then yielded just a triple to Gary Carter in the bottom half.

Gooden set down the Redbirds in order in the top of the sixth. Knight hit a single with one out in the bottom of the inning. Ray advanced to second base on a wild pitch and Santana went down on strikes. Gooden singled to score Knight and extend the Mets’ lead to 4-1. Forsch then got Dykstra to line out to Laga and close out the inning.

Gooden retired all three Cardinals batters in the top of the seventh. To begin the bottom half, Backman homered against Forsch for the Mets’ fifth run of the game. St. Louis reliever Bill Earley (in his major league debut) struck out Hernandez. Carter drew a walk and Strawberry went down on strikes. Earley retired Wilson on an inning-ending foul pop-up to third baseman Tom Lawless. Gooden set down the Redbirds 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. Earley then pitched a perfect bottom half.

A walk to Coleman opened the top of the ninth. Coleman stole second base and moved to third on McGee’s ground out to Hernandez. Herr reached second on an error by Backman to score Coleman with the Cardinals’ second run. Gooden then fanned both Laga and Van Slyke for the game’s final outs. The Mets had a victory on Dwight’s two-hitter.


  • Backman’s home run was his only one of the season. It came on his 27th birthday.