Ray Knight helped his wife, Nancy Lopez, regain her stature on the women’s golf tour last season. Now he’s on a comeback of his own.
Knight’s two-out, two-run home run in the eighth inning Monday night pulled the New York Mets even and led to a 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at New York.
It was the Mets’ fourth straight victory and snapped the Pirates’ winning streak at five.
“I’ve struggled so much the last two years,” Knight said. “I just want to show I’m capable of helping the club.”
Knight, a one-time All-Star and .300 hitter, was slowed by injuries and batted .237 and .218 the past two seasons.
An avid golfer, he put that game aside during the off-season and trained solely to regain his baseball skills at age 33.
“Everything I did was to prepare for the season,” Knight said. “I didn’t play golf, I worked out.
“I felt I was getting there, but then Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter came to me during spring training and told me my stroke was back. That positive feedback from them made me even more confident.”
Although he has shown occasional power during his career, hitting 10 home runs in 1979 and 14 in 1980, Knight’s quick start has been marked by the long ball.
Platooning with Howard Johnson at third base, Knight is 9 for 23 with three homers and seven runs batted in.
“I want to play every day, but I’ll do what (Manager) Davey Johnson wants me to do,” Knight said. “On days when I don’t play, I’ll sit and watch Howard Johnson.”
After the Pirates forged a 5-4 lead in the ninth on a two-out squeeze bunt by Joe Orsulak, Tim Teufel doubled home the tying run off Pat Clements (1-1) and scored the winner on Carter’s single in the ninth.
Roger McDowell (1-0) got the victory even though he allowed the Pirates to move ahead in the top of the ninth.
Mike Brown and Jim Morrison hit homers for the Pirates and Carter added one for the Mets.
Atlanta 8, Houston 2--Glenn Hubbard hit a three-run homer and Bob Horner added a two-run shot to back Joe Johnson’s eight-hitter at Atlanta, and the Braves snapped the Astros’ five-game winning streak.
Johnson (2-0) struck out three and walked two in his first complete game. Nolan Ryan (2-2) took the loss.
Hubbard hit his first homer of the season after Ken Oberkfell singled and Bruce Benedict was hit by a pitch in the first inning.
Dale Murphy tripled to left center in the third and Horner drilled Ryan’s 2-and-2 pitch for his second home run of the season to make it 5-0.
The Braves increased their lead to 7-0 and knocked out Ryan in the fourth on a two-run double by Rafael Ramirez.