September 30, 1988: Cone's 20th Win

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Date: September 30, 1988
Mets starter: David Cone
Mets: 4
Cardinals: 2
Winning pitcher: David Cone
Key player(s): David Cone, Kevin McReynolds
Key play: McReynolds’ & Backman’s doubles, Cone’s single

The Eastern Division title had been clinched for more than a week, but there was still drama with the Mets. Pitcher David Cone was in search of his twentieth win of the year. He had his chance in the first game of the final series of the season. Cone pitched a complete game as the Mets downed the Cardinals, 4-2, at Shea Stadium. David was a 20-game winner.

The Mets got a lead for Cone in the second inning. Facing St. Louis starter Scott Terry, Darryl Strawberry walked and Kevin McReynolds followed with a double to right field to bring him home. Kevin then scored on Wally Backman’s ground-rule double and the Mets were on top, 2-0. Strawberry’s single off Terry in the third brought home Gregg Jefferies with another run.

The Cardinals made some noise against Cone in the sixth. Three consecutive hits, the last by Jose Oquendo, brought in a run for St. Louis. They added another on Tony Pena’s ground out to make it a 3-2 game. David answered in the bottom half of the inning with his own single that brought home Howard Johnson from second base.

The Mets’ two-run lead was intact as the top of the ninth approached. Cone began the inning by getting Pena to ground out and then struck out pinch-hitter Denny Walling. David gave up singles to the next two batters, but manager Davey Johnson decided to stay with him. Rod Booker grounded out to second base for the final out, giving Cone a complete game for victory No. 20. Knowing what it had just seen, the Shea crowd of 38,270 cheered loudly.