Remembering Mets History (1991) Ron Darling Tosses Two Hitter In His Last Win In a Mets Uniform

Wednesday July 3rd, 1991: By 1991, it had been five years since the Mets 1986 Championship season & things were very different with the ball club.

Howard Johnson & Tim Teufel were the last everyday position players left from the Championship of '86. Kevin Elster & Dave Magadan who were rookies in 1986 were part of this 1991 club as well. As for the pitchers, Dwight Gooden, Sid Fernandez & Ron Darling were also still in the rotation but not at the level they had been five years prior.

At this time, Ron Darling's days were numbered, in just two weeks he would be traded to the Montreal Expos in exchange for Tim Burke. 

Darling entered this game with a 4-5 record & a 4.43 ERA. In this outing, it would be his best performance of the season for the '91 Mets, coming in his next to last start as a New York Met. 

13,830 fans came to Stade Olympique in Montreal, as Tom Runnel's fifth place Expos (33-45) hosted Bud Harrelson's third place New York Mets (42-34). 

The Mets scored first in the top of the 1st inning, with two outs Kevin McReynolds got aboard with a base hit. Howard Johnson then followed with his 19th HR of the year, making it 2-0 Mets.

After a q quiet 1st inning, Dave Martinez singled to right field with one out in the 2nd inning, for the Expos first hit. They wouldn't get another hit until the 8th inning, as Ron Darling held Montreal scoreless while walking three along the way.

In the bottom of the 8th, with two outs & the Mets leading 4-0, Spike Owen singled to left field off Darling for the Epos' second hit of the game. Darling then retired pinch hitter Eric Bullock to end the inning. 

In the top of the 3rd, the Mets scored their third run after three straight singles by Kevin McReynolds, Howard Johnson & an RBI base hit by Hubie Brooks. 

In the top of the 8th, Mets catcher Rick Cerone singled & stole second base. Tommy Herr's two out base hit scored Cerone for the fourth run. 

Ton Darling threw eight shutout innings, struck out four & walked three. Alejandro Pena came on in the 9th inning & retired the side in order to close out the Mets 4-0 win.

Trivia: On July 14th, 1991, in his last start as a Met, Ron Darling would take a loss to the San Diego Padres at Shea Stadium. In his nine-year Mets career Darling went 99-70 (4th all time in Mets wins) with a 3.50 ERA & 1148 strike outs (7th most in Mets history) in 257 appearances (18th).

In Montreal, Darling would pitch just three games, going 0-2 before getting traded to the Oakland Athletics on July 31st. He would pitch five seasons in Oakland, going 37-44 with two seasons earning double figures in wins. In 1992 he won 15 games (15-10) & got to another post season.

The 1991 Mets finished in fifth place at 77-84, it was their first losing season in eight years. Manager Bud Harrelson was replaced by Mike Cubbage in late September as a new dark era began that lasted until Bobby Valentine turned things around in 1997.


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