Remembering Mets History (1985) Ron Darling Throws A Five Hit Shutout

 Monday June 17th, 1985: Tonight, Davey Johnson's Mets (32-27) were in fourth place but just 2.5 games out, in a tight NL East. They hosted Jim Frey's Chicago Cubs (35-24) who were a half game behind the first place Montreal Expos. 

The Cubs had won the NL East the year before finishing 6.5 games ahead of the Mets, but would finish fourth in 1985 (77-84). 

TA big crowd of 41,986 came out to Shea to see tonight's pitching matchup, which was a good one. The Mets number two pitcher, Ron Darling  (5-1) would go up against the Cubs Rick Sutcliffe (6-5).

Rick Sutcliffe was coming off a twenty-win season, he had come over from the Cleveland Indians & when he arrived in Chicago, he helped the Cubs win the division by going an incredible 16-1.  In 1985 he fell to 8-8, but two years later he would lead the league in wins (18).

After an easy 1st inning, Darling surrendered a pair of singles in the 2nd inning but got out of the
inning. In the 4th he walked two batters, but Keith Moreland was caught stealing to end the inning.

In the home 4th Gary Carter led off with his 9th HR of the year. In the 5th, Wally Backman singled with one out. Danny Heep then doubled, scoring Backman with the Mets second run. Sutcliffe allowed just the two runs on five hits; he did walk four & fanned five. The loss got him to 6-6 on the year.

In the top of the 6th veteran Davey Lopes singled to start the inning. 

Lopes was now 38 years old but was still a threat to steal. Lopes one of the best base stealers of his era while with the LA Dodgers, finished his career with 557 stolen bases (26th all time) & lead the NL twice in his career. But here Ron Darling fooled Lopes & picked him off first base as Keith Hernandez made the tag.

In the 8th, with one out, pitcher Rick Sutcliffe singled. But Darling got Lopes to fly out & Ryne Sandberg to hit a grounder back to the mound, Darling fielded it & threw to Hernandez to end the inning.

In the 9th, Keith Morland led off with a double, but Darling got a fly out from Leon Durham & then he struck out Jody Davis. Another Dodger veteran, Ron Cey flew out to Danny Heep to end the game.

For Daling he pitched a five-hit shutout, struck out seven, walked four, getting to 6-1 on the season lowering his ERA to 2.26. Darling would toss two shut outs on the season & four complete games. He went 16-6 with a 2.90 ERA in the shadows of Dwight Gooden's season for the ages.


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