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A 'Mitch' In Time Saves Nine

Let's extend the feel-good 1986 flashback for one more day, since it beats the alternative of pontificating about blood clots, Piazza-beaners, and Albert Pujols.

Of the Mets 30 walk-off wins against the Cardinals, the one that's relevant to this particular subject matter took place in the first game of a doubleheader on August 14, 1986, a "Mitch-mash" as the New York Daily News referred to it the following day.

I don't believe this game was referenced in any way this past reunion weekend and that may be because of what followed- a 4-game losing streak, the only such skid of that season.

The hero of this particular contest was among those who returned to Shea Stadium for this past Saturday's festivities, Kevin Mitchell. The Mets most versatile player during that memorable season (he played six positions), Mitchell was in the No. 2 spot in the batting order, but in this game, he was second to none.

With Ron Darling and the Mets trailing 2-1 in the 7th inning, Mitchell, fresh out of a recent slump smacked a 2-out 2-run home run off Tim Conroy to put the hosts ahead (earlier in the frame, pinch-batsman Lee Mazzilli, making his first appearance in his return to the Mets, whiffed).

The defending NL champ Cardinals, long ago put to sleep and simply trying to climb back to .500, rallied to tie the score at 3 in the top of the 9th on Rafael Santana's bases-loaded error. St. Louis had a chance to take the lead, but Ozzie Smith botched a suicide squeeze attempt and Andy Van Slyke wound up getting picked off third base. Roger McDowell was able to escape the inning without further damage, so the Mets, as was their custom that year, had a chance to win in dramatic fashion.

It took three hits in the 9th against Cardinals closer Todd Worrell to get the winning run home, the first a double by Rafael Santana, the second a single by Mookie Wilson (in which Santana was thrown out at the plate by the pathetically armed Vince Coleman), and the last, a single by Mitchell to bring Wilson home with the winning run.

True Metchells know...That for all the success the Mets had against Todd Worrell, particularly in the mid 80s, this was the only time in which they beat him with a walk-off hit.

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