Remembering Mets History (1985): Benches Clear With Rival Cardinals As Mets Take Over First Place

Tuesday September 10th 1985: In the mid 80's heated rivalry of the Mets & Cardinals, this game was a classic. Davey Johnson's Mets (82-53) were in a first place tie atop the NL East, with Whitey Herzog's Cardinals (82-53). An excited Shea Stadium crowd of 50,195 came to see a great match up of 15 game winners, as Ron Darling (14-5) took on Danny Cox (15-8).

Starting Lineups

 The excitement started right away in this one, with two outs in the 1st inning, Cardinal second baseman Tommy Herr hit a solo HR off Darling to make it 1-0 St. Louis.

The Mets fought right back, Mookie Wilson led off with a single to center field. With one out, Keith Hernandez  came to bat. He received a two minute standing ovation from the Shea crowd, in his first game back after testifying at the Pittsburgh drug trials, where he admitted using cocaine while playing with the Cardinals.

Keith responded as he hit a long single to center field & Vince Coleman booted the ball. The hustling Mookie Wilson scored all the way from first to tie the game. With two outs, the Cards walked Darryl Strawberry to get to George Foster.

Foster took his time around the plate, stepping out of the box for a long time. Cox got flustered & hit Foster on the hip with a pitch.

Foster flipped his bat to his other hand, stared down Cox & shouted some words to him, pointing at him. These two teams who hated each other, both stormed the field with both benches emptying.

A lot of scuffling around but no punches were thrown, as umpires & players held each other back with no more than a bit of shoving around.

Quotes: Keith Hernandez -gave Foster credit for the victory. "I have never seen George step out for such a long time. I have to think George did it on purpose in an attempt to rattle Cox. I have to think he succeeded."

With the bases loaded, Howard Johnson connected with a grand slam HR, thrilling the crowd & his team, shoving right in Danny Cox's face. It was Ho Jo's 9th HR of the year, he would hit 11 in his first year with the Mets seeing action in 126 games.. He would hit seven career grand slams.

The Cards would get a run on Vince Coleman's' RBI single in the 5th. Darling would have a three hitter & hold a 5-2 lead until the 7th, after issuing two walks, he gave up another RBI hit to Coleman.

Davey Johnson brought in Roger McDowell to relieve Darling. 

Darling went 6.1 innings allowing four runs on four hits, striking out seven walking three to earn his 15th win. A Willie McGee ground out resulted in another un making it 5-4 Mets.

But McDowell would not allow another run stranding two in the 8th inning & tossing a 1-2-3 ninth innings, sealing the Mets win & giving them sole possession of first place.

Trivia: The next day, Darryl Strawberry called Cox a wimp. Cox responded by saying "he knows where to find me".


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