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The Only Time the 1988 Dodgers Beat the Mets Was When It Counted Most

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 13:  Former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser throws out the first pitch before the Dodgers take on the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Four of the National League Championship Series during the 2008 MLB playoffs on October 13, 2008 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Harold FriendChief Writer IApril 3, 2012

In 1988, the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets played a three-game series at Dodgers Stadium from May 20-22. The Mets swept the series.

From May 30 through June 1, the teams met for another three-game series, this time at Shea Stadium. The Dodgers managed to salvage the final game.

From August 22-24, the Dodgers lost three games to the Mets at home and at the beginning of September, the Dodgers lost two more games to the Mets at Shea Stadium.

The Dodgers lost 10 of 11 games to the Mets during the regular season.

Despite the Mets efforts to help the Cincinnati Reds, the Dodgers won the Western Division title by seven games and were underdogs in the playoffs against the Mets.

The regular season is significant when analyzing a playoff series. Just ask the New York Mets.

The Dodgers, much to the surprise of some "experts," took a 2-0 lead into the top of the ninth inning of the first game of the NLCS at Dodgers Stadium. The Mets rallied, Tommy Lasorda replaced starter Orel Hershiser with Jay Howell, and the Dodgers lost 3-2.

Finally the Dodgers beat the Mets, for only the second time in 13 total meetings, in Game 2. The Dodgers roughed up David Cone and hung on for a 6-3 win.

At Shea Stadium, the Mets rallied for five runs in the eighth inning to overcome a 4-3 deficit and win, 8-4. The next night, Mike Scioscia hit a ninth inning home run off Dwight Gooden that tied the game. The Dodgers won in the 12th inning on a Kirk Gibson home run.

 Scioscia's home run was as important, or maybe even more important, than Kirk Gibson's home run off Dennis Eckersley in the first game of the World Series because if Scioscia did not hit his home run, neither would Gibson.

The Dodgers won a gut-wrenching Game 5 to take a series lead three games to two, but Cone evened things with a great pitching performance to force a seventh game. The Dodgers had now beaten the Mets three times in six playoff games after winning just once in 11 regular season meetings.

The seventh game at Dodgers Stadium was a pleasure for Los Angeles fans to watch, but experienced fans knew that, as Yogi Berra said, "It ain't over 'till it's over."  Orel Hershiser would not yield anything. He shut out the Mets on five hits as the Dodgers upset the Mets to become National League champions.

It was only the beginning of the 1988 Dodgers upsets.

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