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MLB – 1986 NLCS – Game 1 – Astrodome – Houston Astros VS NY Mets – Mike Scott VS Dwight Gooden

DOG COMMENTARY:

The 1986 National League Championship Series was a best-of-seven Major League Baseball postseason series between the NL East champion New York Mets and NL West champion Houston Astros….for this has been the lone MLB playoff series in which the opponents were two “expansion” teams that had begun play in the same season (1962)….which was won by the Mets, 4 – 2 while culminating with their 7–6, 16-inning triumph at Houston in Game 6….which followed a dramatic Game 5 in NYC….where Nolan Ryan pitched 9 innings while giving up 1 run with 12 strikeouts…..which the Metropolitans won in the bottom of the 12th….so although New York won the series 4 – 2….the fact is they were fortunate to win both Game 5 and Game 6…  which easily could have gone the Astros way.. New York then defeated the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 World Series, four games to three.

After falling short of the NL East title in 1984 and 1985….the Mets….who managed by Davey Johnson….captured 1st place in 1986 by posting a 108–54 record,…an amazing 21 12 games ahead of the second-place rival Philadelphia Phillies. The title was the third in Mets’ history and first since winning the 1973 NL pennant.

Meanwhile, Houston recorded a mark of 96–66 and captured the NL West title….after clinching the crown when staff ace Mike Scott threw a no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants in the last game of the 1986 season….which made the first time any team had nailed down a division championship with a no-hitter. It was also the first time the Astros had won a division in six seasons….as Houston was managed by Hal Lanier.

The Mets had won seven of their 12 regular-season contests against the Astros by taking 5 of 6 at home….while losing 4 of 6 in Houston….which included a three-game sweep in July….during which New York’s Bob Ojeda, Ron Darling, Tim Teufel, and Rick Aguilera were arrested for a scuffle with off-duty cops working as bouncers at a Houston nightclub.

Home field advantage from 1969 to 1993 had always alternated between division winners….regardless of record. The Mets were to have home field advantage for this series….as the Los Angeles Dodgers were the 1985 NL West Champions.and had it the previous year….it should have been awarded to the Astros…however, a regular season NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Houston Oilers made the Astrodome unavailable for October 12…..consequently, Games 1, 2, 6, and 7, were scheduled for the Astrodome to avoid conflicts….making Game 3, 4 and 5 in New York City.

Game 1 was played on Wednesday, October 8, 1986 at the Houston Astrodome….which featured a pitching duel between eventual NLCS Most Valuable Player Mike Scott and Dwight Gooden…..as Scott allowed just five hits and walked one while striking out 14 in a complete-game effort as the host Astros prevailed 1–0…..while Gooden allowed one run in his seven innings….after getting Scott to ground into a double play to end an Astros threat in the bottom of the 4th inning.

The game’s lone run was produced by Houston first baseman Glenn Davis….who hit a long home run leading off the second inning….while Scott struck out Wally Backman and Keith Hernandez to escape a jam in the top of the eighth….then with one out in the top of the 9th…. Mets OF Darryl Strawberry singled, stole 2nd and reached third on a Mookie Wilson groundout….however, Scott struck out Ray Knight to end the game.

This was an outstanding NLCS….that deserves it’s place in Imasportsphile history forever….and is well worth watching over and over.

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