Oct 13, 2018

Remembering Mets History (1986): NLCS Game #5: The Kid's RBI Single Wins A Thriller In Extra Innings

Tuesday October 14th 1986- NLCS Game #5- Shea Stadium, New York

from center field: It was a rainy Tuesday afternoon when my boss "Big Dom" asked me if I wanted to go to the big game. Sure enough he had three free tickets, Paulie, Artie the Hat & myself flew out to Shea Stadium in my burgundy Monte Carlo for Game #5. I had attended the Game #4 loss to Mike Scott, so I was looking forward to a win. We arrived late due to the weather as most of the crowd did. But it turned out to be one of the best pitchers duels & exciting endings I have ever been to at a live game.

 Starting Lineups

A crowd of 54,986 finally arrived at Shea with the series tied at two games each, this was a big game. Two of the games best pitchers went head to head as Hal Lanier sent Hall of Famer; Nolan Ryan to the mound (12-8 / 197 Ks / 3.34 ERA) against the Mets Dwight Gooden (17-6 / 200 Ks / 2.84 ERA).

Today both pitchers were once again outstanding. Nolan Ryan went nine innings surrendering only a 5th inning HR to Daryl Strawberry. Straws HR went down the right field line & barely edged the foul pole in fair territory. 

It was the first hit had given up on the afternoon & one of only two hits Ryan gave up on the day. The other a Keith Hernandez single in the 7th. Ryan struck out 12 Mets along the way & walked only one. He exited in a 1-1 tie.

For New York, Dwight Gooden went ten strong innings, he only allowed one run,which came in the 5th inning. Alan Ashby led off with a double & advanced on a Craig Reynolds single. Ashby came home on Bill Dorans grounder to second base. Gooden did allow nine hits, walked just two & struck out four batters. He exited in the 10th in a 1-1 tie as well.

The game was finally up to the bullpens. For the Mets, Jesse Orosco was perfect for two innings, striking out two batters. 

For Houston; Charlie Kerfeld a rather chubby fellow, with dark sun glasses & a cheekful of tobacco, came on to pitch. He go through two innings retiring the Mets in order. The crowd began to grow restless on the edge of their seats more & more in this thriller.

In the bottom of the 13th, the pesky Wally Backman reached base on an infield hit. He was suppose to be picked off of 1st base as he got caught off guard, but Charlie Kerfeld threw the ball away. Backman scampered to second as the crowd chanted "Lets Go Mets". 

Keith Hernandez was then intentionally walked to get to a slumping, Gary Carter. Carter was in a miserable slump, going 1-21 in the Series up to that point. Carter stepped in & took a Kerfeld pitch straight up the middle for a base hit. 

Center fielder Billy Hatcher was playing shallow, he threw the ball on the money to home plate, but there was no way to get the fast Wally Backman.  

Backman scored the winning run, as Shea Stadium went wild. Gary Carer was mobbed by his team mates & threw a fist in the air in triumph. It was one of his biggest moments in his Hall of Fame career.

The win sent the Mets back to Houston with a three game to two lead. One more game to win the pennant & get to the World Series. It was quite a game with quite an exciting ending, certainly a Mets classic!

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