Remembering Mets History (1985): Darryl Strawberry Hits a Walk Off HR Off John Franco

Saturday April 13th, 1985:
Davey Johnson's 1985 Mets meant business right away in the new season. This was a team that was never to be counted out of any contest. The season began with a win featuring a dramatic walk off HR from the team's new star-Gary Carter.

The Mets won their first three games of the year as they entered today's game. On this Saturday matinee at Shea, 26,212 came out to see Davey Johnson's Mets host Pete Rose's Cincinnati Reds. 

The legendary Pete Rose was also inserted in the line up as he was to be one of baseball's last player/managers. This was Rose's 22nd MLB season, he would finally retire from playing the next season.

Both teams would have fine seasons but they both finished up in second place in their respective divisions. The Reds finished up 89-72 second to the Los Angeles Dodgers & the Mets finished up 98-64 just three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

Today's starting pitchers were Ed Lynch who had just been put in the Mets starting rotation as the season began, with the decision to send down Sid Fernandez & Tom Browning for the Reds.

Both teams failed to score in the first inning.

In the tip of the 2nd inning, the Reds Nick Esasky doubled down the left field line & was driven in by veteran Red's shortstop Dave Concepcion who followed with a double down the right field line.

 Dave Concepcion & Pete Rose were the last two members of the Red Big Red Machine from the 1970's Championship Days. George Foster another member of that team was now playing for the Mets in 1985..

Reds pitcher Tom Browning held the Mets scoreless with three hits thru the first five innings.

In the bottom of the 6th inning, Red's centerfielder Eric Davis misplayed a Kelvin Chapman flyball, losing it in the sun. Chapman alertly reached all the way to third base. Keith Hernandez then drove him in with a sac fly to Cesar Cedeno in left field tie the game. 

Tom Browning would go seven innings, allowing one run on three hits with five strike outs on the day.

For the Mets Ed Lynch also went seven innings, allowing just one run on four hits, he struck out two on the day, Eric Savis to start the game then later the pitcher Browning. Lynch walked just one batter.

Roger McDowell came on for the Mets & retired the side in order in the top of the 8th. Native New Yorker & future Met, John Franco came on to pitch in the bottom of the 8th for the Reds. Mookie Wilson led off with a base hit & he was sacrificed over by Kelvin Chapman. 

Franco then walked Keith Hernandez. But Franco got Gary Carter to ground into a double play, Dave Concepcion to Ron Oester to Pete Rose to end the inning. 

Rose led off the top of the 9th with a single, the 4103rd hit of his career. He was now just 89 hits shy of Ty Cobb's all-time hit record. Then Dave Parker followed with a base hit as well. But Roger McDowell got Cesar Cedeno to ground into a double play then retired Nick Esasky for the third out.

In the bottom of the 9th Darryl Strawberry led off against Franco. Straw was 1-3 on the day having singled back in the 4th inning. Strawberry blasted the first of his 29 HRs on the season, a walk off game winner giving the Mets the 2-1 win as they started the year out at 4-0.

Quotes- Darryl Strawberry: "I'm thinking he's going to keep to down, but it came right over the plate".


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