The New York Mets won a coin flip Thursday--along with a game--and will be at home Monday, Oct. 7, for a one-game playoff against visiting St. Louis in the event the teams finish the season tied atop the National League East.
The Mets beat the Cardinals, 7-6, on Keith Hernandez’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth before 46,295 fans at New York’s Shea Stadium to take a one-game lead over the Cardinals in the division.
“With 24 games remaining, the team with the best September is gonna win,” said Hernandez, whose game-winning RBI was his 22nd of the year--an NL record. “We plan on winning the division. I think you can see it’s gonna go down to the wire.”
The Mets won two of the three games in the series, all of which were decided by one run.
The teams play three more games, Oct. 1-3 at St. Louis.
The Mets built a 6-0 lead, chasing 20-game winner Joaquin Andujar in the second inning. Andujar gave up seven hits, including consecutive RBI doubles by Darryl Strawberry, Danny Heap and Howard Johnson in the first inning.
Andujar has compiled an 8-9 record since June 14.
“Face it, if he doesn’t pitch well, we don’t win. Period,” St. Louis Manager Whitey Herzog said.
But the Cardinals tied it, 6-6, with one out in the ninth when Willie McGee slammed a 2-2 pitch by reliever Jesse Orosco over the left-center-field fence. For the National League’s leading hitter, it was his ninth homer of the year and third hit of the game.
“I was just proud to come through in that situation,” McGee said. “Jesse’s a great reliever. It gave us another chance.”
But in the bottom of the inning, Hernandez singled home Mookie Wilson from second base with one out, giving the Mets a dramatic win.
The Mets won the coin flip before the game as Dal Maxvill, a former Cardinal infielder and now the club’s general manager, called, “Heads,” when National League President Chub Feeney tossed a coin, which came up “tails.”
Cincinnati 2, San Diego 1--Jay Tibbs scattered seven hits over eight innings, and Buddy Bell keyed a two-run first inning with an RBI double to lead the Reds at Cincinnati.
Red Manager Pete Rose, who broke Ty Cobb’s career hit record of 4,191 Wednesday night and owns the new mark of 4,193, did not play.
Tibbs (8-15) struck out four and walked two. John Franco pitched one-third of an inning, and Ted Power got the last two outs for his 21st save.
Houston 5, San Francisco 2--Kevin Bass doubled and tripled, scored a run and drove in another to lead the Astros to their eighth victory in their last nine games and their 13th in 16 games with the Giants this season.
Rookie Charlie Kerfeld (2-2) was the winner, pitching seven innings and giving up one run on six hits while striking out three and walking one. Dave Smith pitched the final two innings.
Montreal 6, Philadelphia 3--Hubie Brooks snapped an 0-for-13 string with a fifth-inning grand slam, the first of his career, as the Espos snapped the Phillies’ four-game winning streak in this game at Veterans Stadium.
Winner Floyd Youmans (3-2) gave up two runs and four hits in five innings, striking out three and walking seven. Jeff Reardon notched his 34th save, pitching the final two innings.
Pittsburgh 10, Chicago 2--Former Dodger R.J. Reynolds hit a three-run homer, former Angel Mike Brown added a solo shot and relief pitcher Don Robinson capped a six-run eighth with a grand slam to lead the Pirates at Pittsburgh.
Reynolds’ homer, his first since June 22, 1984, came against Dennis Eckersley (8-6) in the third inning.