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Dodging Bullets

It is possible not to hit with runners in scoring position and win. It just doesn't happen very often.

That's why the win of September 9, 1985, in the finale of an exhilerating three-game series in Los Angeles (first game: Gooden-Valenzuela showdown; second game: Dodgers walk-off win) is one to treasure.

The Mets and Dodgers played 14 innings that day. It was a long enough game that the Mets got 20 at-bats with runners in scoring position. You know how many hits they got?

One.

The Mets failed on their first nine and last 10 opportunities with runners on second and/or third base. The hit was a Keith Hernandez single off Orel Hershiser with two outs in the eighth that scored Mookie Wilson, and put the Mets up 3-1.

Mike Marshall tied the game with a two-run, 44o-foot (by newspaper accounts) home run off Jesse Orosco in the bottom of the eighth, depriving Sid Fernandez of a decision in a finely-tossed effort (7 IP, 1 R, 3 H).

If the recent offensive output of the current squad is enough to make you ill, those of this particular day aren't well-suited to the stomach.

The Mets stranded Lenny Dykstra on second base in the 9th.
The Mets stranded Wally Backman on second base in the 10th.
The Mets stranded Darryl Strawberry on third base in the 11th.
The Mets stranded Mookie Wilson on second base in the 12th.
The Mets stranded Lenny Dykstra on second base in the 13th.

By the 14th, it was evident that the only way this game was going to end was if someone could poke the ball out of the ballpark and end the batting misery.

Mookie Wilson, he of only three home runs that season and sidelined for chunks of the season due to shoulder issues, wasn't the most ideal person to do that (This was Wilson's first start since June 28). but when Dodgers reliever Carlos Diaz hung a changeup, Wilson delivered, with a home run to left field. The Mets led 4-3, and just for good measure, they stranded Keith Hernandez on second base to end the inning.

Doug Sisk closed out the Dodgers with a 1-2-3 14th inning, a feat as rare as a hit with a runner in scoring position, and after nearly five hours the Mets had a victory that left them within 1/2 a game of first place.

The Mets fan who can hit with runners in scoring position knows...The Mets have 8 extra-inning wins in Dodger Stadium, with this one being the second-lengthiest. On May 24, 1973, they beat the Dodgers 7-3 in 19 innings.

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