Championship teams find a way to win and that’s the way it was for the 1986 Mets, a team loaded with stars and role players.
The Mets won with power and pitching, speed and defense. They were fundamentally sound, and played with grit and guile, but always with a confidence that they knew they were going to win.
On this date in 1986, they defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-5, at Shea Stadium. Dwight Gooden gave up three runs on three hits, but didn’t coast because he walked five. Mookie Wilson and Keith Hernandez homered of Rick Reuschel, but the Mets needed Darryl Strawberry’s RBI single off Pat Clements in the ninth inning for the game-winner.
After Pittsburgh tied the game with two runs off Jesse Orosco in the ninth, the Mets turned to small ball. Wilson singled with one out, advanced to second on a grounder, then after an intentional walk to Hernandez – the Pirates, like most teams then, feared Mex in the clutch – Strawberry delivered.
And, Strawberry did it frequently. Of his 93 RBI, 19 came in the seventh inning or later when the score was tied or the Mets were ahead or behind by a run. He drove in 28 total when the game was tied at any time.