On July 4th 1985 the New York Mets were tied for third place with the Chicago Cubs with a 41-35 record. They were 4 1/2 games behind the first St. Louis Cardinals & three games behind the Montreal Expos. The Mets were in Atlanta on this Independence Day, the Braves eleven games behind the first place reigning NL Champion San Diego Padres in fifth place.
The game began in front of 44,947 fans with Mets manager Davey Johnson sending Dwight Gooden to the mound against the Braves Rick Mahler. Neither starrer was around too long, as rain two rain delays didn't help the situation that was about to unfold.
The Mets scored first on a Gary Carter RBI single in the first but the Braves answered as Claudell Washington tripled & was brought home by Rafel Ramirez. In the third inning Dwight Gooden was removed from the game being relieved by Roger McDowell who surrendered a two run double to future Met coach Ken Oberkfell. The Mets answered back knocking out Mahler in the top of the 4th.
RBI hits by Wally Backman, Keith Hernandez & Gary Carter made it 5-3 New York.
By the 8th inning the Mets were ahead 6-4 when Keith Hernandez added a solo HR to make it a 7-4 lead with Jesse Orosco on in the bottom of the 8th. The Braves had two out with the bases loaded when Orosco walked in a run & gave up a bases clearing double to Braves star Dale Murphy. But the Mets wouldn't go down too quietly in the mid eighties, they tied it up with an RBI single from Lenny Dykstra off star reliever Bruce Sutter.
The game remained at 8-8 until the 13th inning when the Mets Howard Johnson hit a two run HR off Terry Foster. In the bottom of the inning the sixth Mets pitcher of the night Tom Gorman surrendered a two run HR to Terry Harper & it was tied up at 10-10. Gorman would pitch six innings in the long game, allowing three runs on five hits.
In the 18th inning Len Dykstra's sac fly scored Howard Johnson but the Braves pitcher Rick Camp answered with a HR off Gorman to tie it again. In the 19th inning with Camp on the mound the Mets struck back for good.
Ray Knight doubled to drive in Gary Carter & pinch hitter Rusty Staub. Staub had pinch hit for Gorman & singled. Hojo received an intentional walk & Danny Heep delivered with a two run single. He would score on a Wally Backman base hit making it 16-11 Mets.
With no one else to turn to, Davey Johnson brought in starter Ron Darling to pitch the bottom of the 19th inning. The Braves Claudell Washington reached on a n error & Darling surrendered two walks. Terry Harper singled driving in two more runs making it 16-13 Mets. It looked like the game would never end but Darling reared back & struck out Rick Camp who was still in the game to finish it off six hours & ten minutes after it began.
The fireworks display went on at 400 AM for the few that were left to watch the lit up morning skies. Atlanta residents who didn't know about the baseball game going on so long , awoke in fear that the South was once again under attack.
In the marathon the Mets used 14 position players & seven pitchers (Gooden, McDowell, Terry Leach, Orosco, Doug Sisk, Gorman & Darling). The winner after all that was Tom Gorman who went to 4-3 on the year. The Mets knocked out a club record 28 hits that night, five for Gary Carter & four each for Keith Hernandez & Wally Backman.