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MLB – 1986 NLCS – Game 6 – Astrodome – New York Mets VS Houston Astros – 9th Thru 15th Inning

DOG COMMENTARY:

While posting this 1986 NLCS between the Houston Astros vs New York Mets….was truly a awesome 6 game series that was so much closer than the 4 – 2 wins victory by the Metropolitans. In one of the most famous games in baseball history….the Mets defeated Houston at the Astrodome 7–6 in 16 innings….as Jesse Orosco struck out Kevin Bass on a curveball for the final out with runners at first and second….allowing New York to advanced to its third World Series in franchise history.

Houston took a 3–0 lead in the first inning against Bob Ojeda….with an RBI double by Phil Garner….plus RBI singles from Glenn Davis and Jose Cruz….giving Astros’ starter Bob Knepper an early advantage….but the Stroh’s were unable to add more runs….as Kevin Bass was thrown out at third base following Alan Ashby’s botched attempt to lay down a suicide-squeeze bunt….followed by an Ashby lined out to shortstop to end the inning. That lead held up for most of the game as Knepper was dominant, allowing no runs through the first eight innings….meanwhile, Ojeda allowed nothing more through his next four frames….after which Rick Aguilera tossed three scoreless innings.

This set the stage for a Mets’ comeback in the top of the ninth which started when Lenny Dykstra tripled against Knepper to lead off….then Mookie Wilson singled in Dykstra to cut it to 3–1….and then with one out Keith Hernandez doubled to score Wilson and end Knepper’s night….as the crafty southpaw was replaced by the Astro closer Dave Smith…..who promtly walked Carter and Darryl Strawberry to load the bases….and that is when 3B.Ray Knight hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Hernandez and tie the game before Danny Heep struck out swinging with the bases loaded to end the inning.

Mets relier pitcher Roger McDowell then came in to pitch and allowed just one hit through five scoreless innings…..all the while Houston pitchers Dave Smith and Larry Andersen held the Mets hitless until the top of the 14th…..when C Gary Carter singled followed by a walk to Strawberry….and with one out Wally Backman singled off Aurelio López to score Strawberry with the go-ahead run….as Astro OF Kevin Bass’ throw home sailed high. The Mets still had the bases loaded before Wilson struck out to end the threat.

The Mets were now three outs away from going to the World Series….but with one out in the bottom of the 14th….Billy Hatcher homered off the left-field foul pole against Orosco to tie the game 4–4.  However, in the top of the 16th….Strawberry doubled to lead off against López….which was followed by Knight’s single that scored Strawberry to put the Mets ahead again…..as Astro relief pitcher Jeff Calhoun then replaced López and proceeded to throw two wild pitches….with the second scoring Knight to put New York up by two….then OF Lenny Dykstra singled in Backman for a 7–4 Mets’ advantage.

The Mets needed each of those 3 runs as Houston rallied once again when with one out….as Davey Lopes drew a pinch-hit walk which was followed by a Billy Doran single….the OF Billy Hatcher singled in Lopes to make it 7–5….after which Denny Walling hit into a fielder’s choice for the second out….but 1B Glen Davis followed with a single to centerfield that landed in front of a charging Dykstra and bringing Doran to cut it to 7–6. Now with the tying run in scoring position….with the winning run at first base….and would-be Game 7 starter Mike Scott looming in the dugout….while Orosco was sitting on a full count,…for he fanned Kevin Bass to end the series and send the Mets to a World Series duel with the Boston Red Sox.

Orosco pitched three innings for his third win of the series….which marked the first time a relief pitcher had ever won three games in a postseason series. The time of the game was 4 hours and 42 minutes….as the 16 innings was the most that had ever been played in a postseason contest at that time. Interestingly, the Mets and Astros had played a 15-inning contest that lasted 5 hours and 29 minutes during the regular season, which Houston won 9–8. 

In 2011, MLB Network ranked this 1986 NLCS Game 6 as the fifth greatest game of the preceding fifty years….as this game brought about in which the Astros wore their “rainbow guts” uniform top….. which the franchise introduced in 1975 and became one of the most iconic uniforms in MLB history.

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