Remembering Mets History (1988) Ron Darling Shuts Out the Dodgers as the Magic Number Gets Smaller

Friday September 2nd, 1988: Davey Johnson's first place New York Mets (78-54) were getting closer to clinching the NL East title. They now had a comfortable 8.5 game lead over the second place Pittsburgh Pirates.

Tonight, the Mets hosted Tommy Lasorda's first place Los Angeles Dodgers (77-56) in what was to be an NLCS preview. 

This year, the Mets dominated the Dodgers in the regular season, as they would do on this night as well. The post season would prove to be a different ball game. 

Tonight Ron Darling (13-9) went up against the Dodgers, Tim Leary (14-9) in front if 44,889 Shea Stadium fans.

 Ron Darling breezed along through the night, as he shut out the Dodgers with a five hit, complete game victory. Darling struck out eight batters on the evening & walked just one as he won his 14th game of the season (14-9) lowering his ERA to 3.15.

In the home 3rd, the Mets got solo HRs from Kevin Elster & rookie Greg Jefferies. 

Jefferies had been brought up on August 28th & made an immediate impact, this was already his second HR in just five games played. Jefferies would play in just 29 regular season games, but still earned a starting spot in the 1988 Post Season where he hit .333.

In the home 5th, Gary Carter led off with a base hit, next Kevin Elster connected again, with his 8th HR of the year. Elster was playing in his first full season, at the time he was batting just .219 & was in the 8th spot in the lineup. The Mets were up 4-0.

In the home 7th, the Mets would send eight men to the plate. Kevin Elster started out with a walk, after Darling popped out, Mookie Wilson hit a two run HR. It was his 8th of the year, giving New York a 6-0 lead.

Greg Jefferies then singled & advanced on a Kirk Gibson error in the outfield. Keith Hernandez then drove him in with a base hit. 

Hernandez would score when Kevin McReynolds reached on another Dodger in right field by Mike Davis. The Mets ran away with it in an 8-0 win.

Mets notes: It was Hernandez 46th RBI of the year, he had missed six weeks of playing time due to his bad back. 

The back issues would end his career by 1990. Hernandez played in just 95 games for the NL Eastern Champs that season batting .276, his lowest average since 1978. 


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