in collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
The New York Mets hang on to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 10-9 at Veterans Stadium. Trailing 10-3 entering the ninth, the Phillies score six runs and have the tying run at third when Tommy Herr hits a screaming line drive that is snared by Mario Diaz at short. So exasperated by the final inning, Mets announcer Bob Murphy to proclaim, “the Mets win the damn thing.”
The New York Mets were in the thick of the race for first place, holding a record of 54-38 as they finished a three-game set at Veterans Stadium against the Philadelphia Phillies, who were looking to reach .500 at 46-47. The Mets had gotten off to a slow start in 1990, holding a record of 20-22 in late May when manager Davey Johnson was fired. Bud Harrelson took over, and the Mets took off, posting a 21-7 in June to get back in the race.
After splitting the first two games against the Phillies, the Mets sent Sid Fernandez to the mound, while the Phillies had Jeff Parrett make the start. The Mets took the lead in the third inning as Howard Johnson led off the inning with a triple and scored on a home run by Dave Magadan. In the fifth inning, the Mets added two more runs on a triple by Kevin McReynolds, scoring Howard Johnson and Darryl Strawberry. The Mets had walked Strawberry intentionally to face McReynolds with two outs.
Leading 4-0, the Mets broke the game open in the sixth inning against reliever Don Carmen. Darryl Boston had a one-out double and stood at second with two outs when Howard Johnson was intentionally walked. Boston would score on a single by Dave Magadan. Next up would by Gregg Jeffries, who tripled home to runs to make it 7-0. Darryl Strawberry followed with a two-run shot, and the Mets led 9-0.
Down 9-0, the Phillies began to scratch their way back in the seventh inning, scoring two runs off Sid Fernandez on run-scoring hits by Tommmy Herr and Von Hayes, both of whom were longtime Mets killers. In the eighth inning, Philadelphia got a third run off reliever Wally Whitehurst as Tom Nieto singled home Charlie Hayes. The Mets added an insurance run in the ninth against Joe Boever as Mackey Sasser singled in Kevin McReynolds to give the Mets a 10-3 lead.
Leading 10-3, the Mets had Wally Whitehurst on the mound, looking for a quick and easy ninth inning. However, it was not going to be easy, as the Phillies started the inning with five straight singles, from Tommy Herr, Von Hayes, Rod Booker, Charlie Hayes, and Ricky Jordan. This cut the Mets lead to 10-5 as Whitehurst was pulled with the bases loaded and nobody out. Julio Machado took over as the Phillies singles parade continued with hits by Dickie Thon and Tom Nieto. Suddenly the score was 10-8, and there was a nervousness surrounding the Mets as the tying runs were on base.
Now trying to hold on to a 10-8 lead, Bud Harrelson brought in closer John Franco who walked pinch hitter John Kruk to load the bases again. With the Vet awakened after slumbering through a Mets blowout, Franco made the big pitch the Mets needed by getting Len Dykstra to hit into a 4-6-3 double play. Thon scored on the double play, and Nieto advanced to third, as the Mets lead was trimmed to 10-9, but now there were two outs as Tommy Herr batted for the second time in the ninth. On a 1-0 count, Herr made solid contact, but Mario Diaz, who entered the game late for defense, made the catch to end the game and save the day for the Mets who held on to win the damn game 10-9.
Tommy Herr would end up playing alongside Diaz and the rest of the Mets a month later, as he was picked up in a waiver trade at the end of August. However, the Mets fell short in 1990, posting a record of 91-71, four games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.