Oct 14, 2018

Remembering Mets History (1986): NLCS Game #6- Mets Beat Houston In 16 Inning Epic to Win Pennant

Wednesday October 15th, 1986 - NLCS Game #6 - Houston Astrodome: 

Game six began in the late afternoon New York time with Davey Johnson's Mets up three games to two over Hal Lanier's Astros. 

The game would end four hours and forty five minutes later in one of the greatest post season games ever. This epic began with New York's Bobby Ojeda facing off against Houston's Bob Knepper. 

The Astros ace; Mike Scott was already 2-0 in the Series & he was looming to start for Game Seven. The Mets bats had been baffled by Scott's split finger fastball, a fairly new pitch that had only been around a few years at the time. It was a big game for both teams.

The Mets; Bobby Ojeda, got roughed up for three runs in the first inning,  Bill Doran led off with a base hit & scored on Phil Garner's double. Glen Davis then drove him in with a base hit. Ojeda walked Kevin Bass, then Jose Cruz singled bringing in Davis, making it a quick 3-0 lead to the delight of the Texas fans in a loud Astrdome. Kevin Bass attempted to steal home but was tagged out by Ojeda on what turned out to be a huge play.

But Ojeda settled down and would pitch five innings, allowing three runs on five hits, two walks & two strike outs. Rick Aguilera came on to throw three scoreless innings, getting to the 8th. But the Mets were still down 3-0 by the 9th inning. 

Houston’s Bob Knepper was outstanding through eight innings, he shut out New York allowing just two hits. But in the top of the 9th with the Astrodome awaiting a celebration, the Mets woke up. 

Pinch hitter; Lenny Dykstra sparked the team with a lead off triple to center. He quickly was brought home as the next batter; Mookie Wilsons singled. Kevin Mitchell grounded out, but the Mets most clutch hitter; Keith Hernandez doubled, scoring Mookie & bringing the Mets to with in a run, down 3-2. 

Houston’s manager brought in reliever; Dave Smith who quickly was in trouble, as he walked Gary Carter & Strawberry to load the bases. Ray Knight hit a sac fly scoring Hernandez to tie the game. The city of Houston went silent but New York was just waking up.

 The game went on for seven more innings of nail biting drama. It was baseball at it's best.

The Mets; Roger McDowell pitched five shutout innings allowing only one hit along the way in a stellar relief performance.

Houston's Larry Anderson matched him with three shut out innings as well. In the 14th, Aurelio Lopez came in to pitch for the Astros. Gary Carter led off with a single, then Straw walked. Ray Knight attempted a sac bunt but Carter got nailed at third base. Backman then singled to right field putting the Mets ahead in what looked like the game winner. 

But in this epic,t he Astros would not go quietly. Houston came right back, as Billy Hatcher blasted a HR off reliever; Jesse Orosco tying it again in a wild crazy scene at the Astrodome.

In the top of the 16th with a depleted bullpen, Lopez came out & started the inning. Darryl Strawberry hit a lead off double to center field. Ray Knight then delivered with a single, scoring Strawberry putting the Mets ahead 5-4.

Jeff Calhoun was brought in for Houston and threw a wild pitch advancing Ray Knight to third. Calhoun then walked Wally Backman. 
Jesse Orosco got a rare plate appearance and wouldn’t ya know it, Calhoun threw another wild pitch scoring Ray Knight. Orosco then bunted Backman over to third base. 

Lenny  Dykstra then singled as well, bringing home Knight in what would be the all important game's winning run.

Davey Johnson stuck with his relief ace Jesse Orosco through another intense drama filled bottom of the 16th. 

Craig Reynolds struck out to start out the inning, but then veteran; Davey Lopes drew a walk. Bill Doran singled, and then Billy Hatcher struck again, with a single to center driving in Lopes.

Denny Walling then grounded out for out number two. But the Astros refused to die, Glen Davis then singled bringing home Doran & the score to within one 7-6 Mets. 

Next up was the dangerous Kevin Bass who kept fouling off Orosco’s curve balls. In a now famous conversation, first baseman; Keith Hernandez visited the mound and told Jesse if he threw another curveball they were going to fight. 

Orosco agreed, he reared back & struck out Bass for the final out. The 1986 New York Mets won the National League pennant. It was the clubs first World Series appearance since 1973 , thirteen years earlier.

New York City had come to a stop the past few hours following the excitement of the game, and now it celebrated and went wild. They advanced to the World Series for the third time in their history to face the Boston Red Sox.


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