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On This Date in Sports October 25, 1986: Game 6

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

The New York Mets down to their last strike in the tenth inning, stage a comeback for the ages to beat the Boston Red Sox 6-5 to force a seventh game in the World Series. The Red Sox scored twice in the tenth and retired Wally Backman and Keith Hernandez on fly balls. However, Calvin Schiraldi tired, as Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell, and Ray Knight delivered singles to make it 5-4. Bob Stanley came in to face Mookie Wilson and threw a wild pitch to tie the game. Mookie then hit a slow ground ball that went through Bill Buckner's legs to score Knight with the winning run.  

As Spring Training began, Davey Johnson, manager of the New York Mets, boasted that his team would not just win the division, they would dominate. It was a dominant season for the Mets as they held a 20-game lead in the National League East for much of the summer, posting a record of 108-54. The NLCS was more of a struggle as they were twice frustrated by Mike Scott. With Scott looming in Game 7, the Mets beat the Houston Astros 7-6 in 16 innings to win the series in six games. 

The Boston Red Sox rode the back of Roger Clemens to win their first division title in 11 years. Clemens won both the Cy Young and MVP as the Red Sox posted a record of 95-66 for manager John McNamara. The Red Sox were in a 3-1 hole against the California Angels in the ALCS. Trailing 5-3 in Game 5, the Red Sox were down to their last strike when Dave Henderson hit a three-run homer off Donnie Moore. The Sox would win the game 7-6 in 11 innings to send the series back to Boston. The Red Sox would win the next two games to take the series in seven games. 


The World Series began at Shea Stadium with Ron Darling making the start for New York, while Bruce Hurst took the mound for Boston. It would be an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel as both hurlers were at the top of their game. Darling allowed just three hits in seven innings, while Hurst allowed four hits in eight innings. The lone run came in due to an error by Tim Teufel as Jim Rice scored when a ball hit by Rich Gedman went through Teufel’s legs at second base as Boston won 1-0.

Game 2 had a highly anticipated matchup of Dwight Gooden and Roger Clemens. However, both pitchers struggled. The Red Sox got three runs in the third, helped by an error by Keith Hernandez when he misplayed a bunt by Roger Clemens. Wade Boggs had a double, while Marty Barrett and Bill Buckner followed with singles. The Mets answered with two runs, as Wally Backman and Hernandez each drove in a run. Gooden struggled as Dave Henderson went deep in the fourth, while Dwight Evans homered in the fifth with a man on base to extend Boston’s lead to 6-2. Gary Carter drove in a run in the fifth as Steve Crawford relieved Clemens. Crawford would get the win as the Red Sox got a pair of runs in the seventh off Rick Aguilera. Wade Boggs drove in a run against Sid Fernandez in the ninth to make the final 9-3.

After losing the first two games at home, Mets’ manager Davey Johnson told his team to take Monday off as the series shifted to Fenway Park. The break was just what the Mets needed as Len Dykstra led off Game 3 with a home run against Oil Can Boyd. Oil Can spring a leak, allowing four runs in the first inning, as the Red Sox botched a run down, with Gary Carter driving in a run with a double, while DH Danny Heap had a two-run single. Bob Ojeda, a former member of the Red Sox, allowed one run on five hits in seven innings. The Mets added to the lead, with Carter driving in two runs with a single in the seventh and Ray Knight stroking an RBI double in the eight for a 7-1 Mets win.  

The Mets moved up Ron Darling to pitch in Game 4, while Al Nipper started the Red Sox. The Mets got the first runs of the game in the fourth inning as Gary Carter smacked a two-run homer over the Green Monster, and Ray Knight added an RBI single to make it 3-0. The Mets added two more runs when Len Dykstra hit a home run that tipped off the glove of Dwight Evans. Cater hit a second home run in the eighth as the Mets won 6-2 to even the series. 

The Mets had Dwight Gooden on the mound again in Game 5, as Bruce Hurst started for Boston. The Red Sox got the lead in the second inning as Dave Henderson tripled and scored on a sac-fly by Spike Owen. In the third inning, Boston added a run on an RBI by Dwight Evans. Boston scored two more runs in the fifth, as Gooden struggled for the second time. Hurst, meanwhile, went the distance allowing two late runs on ten hits as the Red Sox won 4-2. 


Looking to end their 68-year drought, the Red Sox had Roger Clemens on the mound, while Bob Ojeda got the start for the Mets. The tone for the game was set early when a man named Mike Sergio wearing a Lets Go Mets banner parachuted into Shea Stadium in the first inning. Sergio's stunt fired up the crowd, but Boston drew first blood as Dwight Evans doubled home Wade Boggs. The Red Sox scored a second run in the second inning as Marty Barrett singled in Spike Owens. Clemens was dominant early, not allowing a hit over the first four innings. Darryl Strawberry walked to lead off the fifth and stole second. He would score the Mets' first run on a single by Ray Knight. Mookie Wilson followed with a single, as the Mets tied the game when Knight scored on a double play. 

In the seventh inning, the Red Sox regained the lead, as Ray Knight's throwing error opened the door for a big inning. However, Mookie Wilson threw Jim Rice out at home to end the inning. Clemens continued to frustrate the Mets in the seventh but asked out of the game as he began to develop a blister. The Red Sox had their chances again to blow the game open in the eighth but left the bases loaded when Jesse Orosco got Bill Buckner to fly out to end the inning. Calvin Schiraldi came on relief and gave up a lead-off hit to Lee Mazzilli, who would score the tying run on a sac-fly by Gary Carter. The Mets had their chance to win the game in the ninth, but Schiraldi struck out Howard Johnson and got Mazzilli and Lenny Dykstra to fly out.

Rick Aguilera, who pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth, served up a devastating hanger that was slammed off the auxiliary scoreboard by Dave Henderson to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead in the tenth, as Roger Clemens celebrated in the bullpen tagging the wall behind him with a can of spray paint. The Red Sox added a second run when Wade Boggs hit a two-out double and later scored on a single by Marty Barrett. 

Down 5-3, it looked hopeless for the Mets. The champagne was on ice in the Red Sox clubhouse. The trophy was on a podium, and Bruce Hurst was selected as the World Series MVP. The scoreboard had flashed congratulations World Champion Boston Red Sox, as Keith Hernandez, who made the second out, had gone in the clubhouse and grabbed a beer to soak his sorrows. 


Gary Carter, not wanting to make the last out, singled with a 2-1 count. Kevin Mitchell, who had his pants off and was making travel arraignments, came up to pinch-hit and singled. Ray Knight was next and got a base hit on an 0-2 count to score Gary Carter and spark some life into a crowd that was feeling the gloom of the situation. 

John McNamara called on Bob Stanley in relief, sensing that Schiraldi had run out of gas. One change he did not make was to replace Bill Buckner at first base. The veteran first baseman was hobbled and was replaced in late innings by Dave Stapleton. However, the Red Sox manager wanted him to be on the field for the last out to celebrate the World Championship. Stanley faced Mookie Wilson, with Mitchell on third and Knight on first. A long battle began with Mookie Wilson down to his last strike and fouling off several pitches when suddenly Stanley bounced a ball in the dirt that went to the backstop, allowing Mitchell to score the tying run. 

A game that had begun with a rogue fan with a parachute was tied again 5-5. Ray Knight moved up to second as Shea Stadium was shaking. A 3-2 count and the tenth pitch of the at-bat was a slow roller down the first baseline. Bill Bucker on bad ankles knew he had to hurry to beat the speedy Mookie Wilson to first base. Bob Stanley was out of position as Mookie hustled down to first. Buckner was trying to get the ball and run simultaneously had the ball roll through his legs as Ray Knight came home, giving the Mets a stunning 6-5 win. 


Game 7 was rained out on Sunday Night, allowing the Red Sox to go back to Bruce Hurst, who was seeking his third win of the series. The Red Sox jumped out to a  3-0 lead against Ron Darling, but Sid Fernandez came in and kept the Mets in the game. After scoring three runs in the sixth to tie the game, the Mets took the lead on a home run by Ray Knight and went on to win the game 8-5 as Knight was named World Series MVP.