September 29, 1985: Three Homers Lead Mets Past Pirates

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Date: September 29, 1985
Mets starter: Sid Fernandez
Mets: 9
Pirates: 7
Winning pitcher: Jesse Orosco
Key player(s): Darryl Strawberry, Howard Johnson, Gary Carter
Key play: Mets’ home runs

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. In a 10-inning game, a trio of home runs lifted the Mets to a 9-7 win over the Bucs.

Sid Fernandez and the Pirates’ Lee Tunnell each pitched scoreless ball from the first inning to the third. Wally Backman hit a double against Tunnell to lead off the top of the fourth. Keith Hernandez singled to drive home Backman and advanced to third base on an error by right fielder Mike Brown. Gary Carter popped out to catcher Tony Pena and consecutive walks to Darryl Strawberry and Danny Heep loaded the bases. Howard Johnson hit a single to bring home both Hernandez and Strawberry. On the play, Heep advanced to third via an error by center fielder R. J. Reynolds. Pittsburgh reliever Jim Winn retired Rafael Santana on a ground ball to shortstop Sam Khalifa that plated Heep for a 4-0 Mets lead. Winn then struck out Fernandez to end the inning.

Bill Almon was hit by a pitch to open the bottom of the fourth. Reynolds drew a walk and Johnny Ray singled to drive home Almon. Brown hit a single to score Reynolds and reduce the Mets’ lead to 4-2. Sid Bream followed with a grounder on which catcher Carter threw to third baseman Johnson for a force out on Ray. Johnson made a throw to first baseman Hernandez to complete a double play. Pena walked and Jim Morrison singled to plate Brown with the Bucs’ third run. Fernandez then got Khalifa to fly out to center fielder Mookie Wilson and finish off the inning.

Winn set down the Mets in order in the top of the fifth. Fernandez hurled a perfect bottom half and Carter drew a leadoff walk in the top of the sixth. Strawberry followed with a two-run homer to increase the Mets’ lead to 6-3. Heep and Johnson were retired on fly balls to left fielder Almon and a ground out by Santana (to Khalifa) ended the inning. Fernandez then retired all three Pittsburgh batters in the bottom half.

Winn held the Mets to a single by Fernandez in the top of the seventh. Morrison hit a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the inning. Fernandez retired the next two Bucs hitters and the Pirates’ Pat Clements pitched a scoreless top of the eighth. Almon and Reynolds got back-to-back singles against Mets’ reliever Roger McDowell to begin the bottom half. Ray followed with a double that drove home Almon and Reynolds, tying the game at 6-6. A sacrifice bunt by Brown moved Ray to third base and New York’s Jesse Orosco struck out Bream. Pena singled to score Ray for a one-run Pittsburgh lead. Morrison hit a single and Orosco got Khalifa on a fly ball to right fielder Strawberry that ended the inning.

Leading off the top of the ninth, Johnson slugged a home run against Pirates’ reliever Cecilio Guante for a 7-7 tie. Santana went down on strikes and Tom Paciorek singled. Pittsburgh’s Larry McWilliams got Wilson on a double play ground ball to second baseman Ray for the inning’s final outs and Joe Orsulak drew a walk to begin the bottom half. McWilliams’ sacrifice bunt advanced Orsulak to second base and Reynolds flied out to Strawberry. Ray was given an intentional walk. Orosco then fanned Brown to close out the inning and send the game onward.

Hernandez got a one-out single against McWilliams in the top of the 10th. Carter followed with a homer to put the Mets ahead by two runs. Strawberry hit a single and stole second base. Orosco singled and Johnson fouled out to first baseman Bream. Bucs’ reliever Mike Bielecki then retired Santana on a fly ball to center fielder Orsulak to finish off the inning.

Bream singled to open the bottom of the 10th. Pena hit a force play grounder to shortstop Santana and a fly ball by Morrison was caught by center fielder Lenny Dykstra. Orosco then got Khalifa on a force play ground ball to second baseman Backman to bring the game to an end. The Mets had an extra-inning victory to close out the series.