September 4, 1987: Aguilera Leads Mets Over Dodgers

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Date: September 4, 1987
Mets starter: Rick Aguilera
Mets: 5
Dodgers: 1
Winning pitcher: Rick Aguilera
Key player(s): Rick Aguilera, Keith Hernandez
Key play: Hernandez’s and Aguilera’s home runs

The Mets faced the Dodgers on a Friday night in Los Angeles. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Rick Aguilera led the way with solid pitching and a home run in a 5-1 Mets win.

Aguilera and the Dodgers’ Shawn Hillegas each hurled two scoreless innings to start the game. With two outs in the top of the third, Wally Backman reached on an error by Hillegas. Backman advanced to second base on a wild pitch and Keith Hernandez homered for a 2-0 Mets lead. Darryl Strawberry drew a walk and moved to third on a single by Kevin McReynolds. Hillegas struck out Gary Carter to finish off the inning. Aguilera then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Aguilera came to bat with two outs in the top of the fourth. Rick slugged a homer for the Mets’ third run of the game. Lenny Dykstra singled and went to third base on Backman’s single to right field. Hernandez grounded out to second baseman Phil Garner to end the inning and Aguilera gave up only a single to John Shelby in the bottom half. Hillegas set down the Mets in order in the top of the fifth. Rick then retired the Dodgers 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.

Aguilera and Los Angeles reliever Alejandro Pena each pitched scoreless ball in the sixth and seventh. Carter singled against the Dodgers’ Ron Davis with one out in the top of the eighth. Gary advanced to second base on a passed ball by catcher Mike Scioscia. Howard Johnson was hit by a pitch and Davis threw a wild pitch that put Mets runners on second and third. Rafael Santana hit a single to bring home Carter. Brad Havens came in to pitch for Los Angeles and struck out Aguilera. Dykstra reached on first baseman Pedro Guerrero’s error that allowed Johnson to score and extend the Mets’ lead to 5-0. Backman walked to load the bases and Havens retired Hernandez on an inning-ending fly ball to left fielder Franklin Stubbs. Aguilera then yielded just a single to Guerrero in the bottom half.

Havens pitched a perfect top of the ninth. Consecutive walks to Scioscia and Mike Devereaux began the bottom of the inning. Roger McDowell came in to pitch for the Mets and retired Glenn Hoffman. Pinch-hitter Steve Sax followed with a force play ground ball to third baseman Johnson. Pinch-hitter Ralph Bryant singled to drive home Scioscia with the Dodgers’ first run. McDowell then got pinch-hitter Alex Trevino on a grounder to second baseman Backman to end the game. The Mets had a victory to start the weekend series.