Remembering Mets History (1985) Dwight Gooden & Fernando Valenzuela Match Up in L.A.

Friday September 6th, 1985: Davey Johnson's Mets (80-52) were 1.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL East, so every game was important at this point in the season. The Mets were on a west coast road trip where they had taken five of six in San Francisco & San Diego. Tonight, they were in Los Angeles for a big three game series with Tommy Lasorda's first place Dodgers (77-53).

Tonight's game had a marquee pitching matchup of two of the best in the game, the Mets 1985 Cy Young Award winner Dwight Gooden, the phenom who had one of the best pitching seasons of all time. Gooden (20-4) had already won his twentieth game & was setting all kinds of records. He went up against Fernando Valenzuela (16-9).

In 1981 Valenzuela had his own rookie phenom season as "Fernando mania" took over the country. He went 13-7 in the strike shortened season leading the NL in strike outs (180) innings (192) shut outs (8) & complete games (11) with a 2.48 ERA. The matchup was all it was billed to be.

In the bottom of the 1st, Dwight Gooden started out by striking out Mariano Duncan & Ken
Landreaux.

In the top of the 2nd, Fernando gave up lead off hits to Gary Carter & George Foster but a fly out & Ronn Reynolds grounding into double play ended that. In the 4th Fernando walked two batters but Ray Knight grounded into a double play ending that inning.

Gooden came out in the 4th inning & struck out the side, Landreaux, Mike Marshall & Pedro Guerrero.

The game rolled along with each pitcher shutting down the other side. In the 8th, the Dodgers threatened as Mike Scioscia & Greg Brock singled. Gooden got Steve Sax & Valenzuela to both hit ground balls for outs. He then got Mariano Duncan to fly out to Tom Paciorek in right to end the inning. In the 9th inning both pitchers retired the sides in order, it was on to extra innings.

For Gooden, Davey Johnson took him out after nine innings, no runs on five hits, he didn't walk anyone & he struck out ten. It was the ninth time he had struck out ten or more batters that season, he would do it eleven times. Although he would earn no decision his ERA dropped to 1.74 to go along with his league leading twenty wins & 229 strike outs.

Roger McDowell came on for the Mets & pitched two scoreless innings. In the 10th Bill Madlock led off with a base hit & was sacrificed over by Steve Yeagar. McDowell then intentionally walked Greg Brock. It worked out well as he got pinch hitter Terry Whitfield to hit into a double play.

For Fernando he allowed just one base runner after the 7th inning, a walk to Rafael Santana in the 10th. Overall, he went eleven innings, shutting out the Mets on six hits, three walks & striking out five. Fernando's ERA dropped to 2.26 for the year.

The game was now in the hands of the bullpen. After McDowell the Mets Terry Leach came on but gave up two hits, Davey Johnso brought in Jesse Orosco who struck out Enos Cabell & got Bob Bailor to fly out. For the Dodgers Tom Niedenfuer came on in the 12th.

In the 13th, Rafael Santana singled to start things off. With one out Wally Backman singled. After pinch hitter Danny Heep popped out, Darryl Strawberry came to bat. Strawberry hit a double down the line, bouncing into the stands for a two-run ground rule double.

In the bottom of the 13th, the Dodgers got two on, with a hit & walk, but Orosco got Bill Madlock to flyout ending the game.

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