Without Mike Scioscia's Blast, Kirk Gibson Couldn't Have Beaten the 1988 NY Mets

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Without Mike Scioscia's Blast, Kirk Gibson Couldn't Have Beaten the 1988 NY Mets

The Los Angeles Dodgers trailed the New York Mets 4-2 in the top of the ninth inning of the fourth game of the 1988 NLCS.  Dwight Gooden had limited the Dodgers to three hits and the two runs up to that point.

In the first inning, John Shelby drove home the Dodgers’ two runs with a single to right field. After he reached first, Shelby harassed Gooden, forcing the right-hander to balk and then to make a wild pitch, putting Shelby on third.

Mike Scioscia struck out to end the inning.

It seemed as though the Dodgers’ chances were slim and none, but as sometimes happens, slim and none would be good enough.

After Shelby led off the ninth inning with a walk, Mike Scioscia stepped in to face Gooden. Scioscia had hit three home runs during the regular season, batting .257/.318/.324..

In one of the most shocking, unexpected and with the passage of time, under emphasized events in playoff history, Scioscia hit a home run to tie the game.

New York Mets’ manager Davey Johnson, who became a genius when Mookie Wilson’s ground ball tied the sixth game of the 1986 World Series, was perplexed by Scioscia’s home run.

“Doc was breezing,” Johnson told the media, as if they hadn’t known. “Then another leadoff walk. But the last person you’d expect to hit a home run there was Scioscia. I figured it was Doc’s game.”

When one references the game, Kirk Gibson’s 12th inning home run takes the spotlight, but it would never have occurred without Scioscia’s ninth inning blast off Gooden.

It’s almost never easy for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but manager Tommy LaSorda could rise to the occasion.  So could his players.

Gibson put the Dodgers ahead, 5-4 in the 12th inning with a home run off Roger McDowell.  The Mets, who had rallied with three runs in the ninth inning to win the first game of the series, didn’t go away quietly.

They loaded the bases with one out, bringing up Darryl Strawberry to face 1986 World Series hero Jesse Orosco. Strawberry popped up to second.

Tommy LaSorda knows how to win, as the 1981 New York Yankees can tell you. He also knows how to lose, as the 1977-78 New York Yankees can tell you.

LaSorda didn’t mess around. He brought in Orel Hershiser, who has started two games over a five-day period, to face Kevin McReynolds. Hershiser retired him on a fly ball to short center field.

The Los Angeles Dodgers tied the series at two games each. It really was, as the cliché states, a team effort.

 

Reference:

By, J. D. (1988, Oct 10). Dodgers win in 12th to even series; A's sweep red sox and take pennant. New York Times (1923-Current File), pp. A1-A1. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/110429873?accountid=46260

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