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Sept. 11 1987: Terry Pendelton's Ninth-Inning Home Run Shocks the Mets

Harold FriendChief Writer ISeptember 11, 2011

Terry Pendleton
Terry PendletonRick Stewart/Getty Images

"We're playing like we're expecting to get beat, and we shouldn't be playing that way," St. Louis left-hander John Tudor told the media. "It's us that has the lead. We're pressing a little right now."

In July, the Cardinals had a 10.5 game lead over the New York Mets. The lead was now a slim one and one-half games as the teams prepared for a three-game series at Shea Stadium on Sept. 11, 1987.

The first game probably was the one that resulted in the Cardinals finishing in first place. It was a game that resulted in both Cardinals and Mets fans remembering Sept. 11 the rest of their lives.

The Cardinals offense was almost as impotent as an offense could be for the first eight innings. Their only hit was a seemingly harmless Vince Coleman bunt single in the sixth inning that turned out not to be so harmless.

Ron Darling, who had held the Cards hitless, fell attempting to field Coleman's bunt, severely spraining his right thumb. He stayed in the game, but the thumb bothered him and he was forced to leave when he walked Dan Driessen to lead off the seventh inning.

Randy Myers retired the Cardinals in the seventh and Roger McDowell worked a scoreless eighth. The Shea Stadium crowd was ready for the kill.

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McDowell walked Ozzie Smith to open the ninth, but Tommy Herr grounded out to Keith Hernandez, moving Smith to second. Driessen struck out for the second out and it seemed as if it were over, but it wasn't.

Willie McGee singled home Smith, bringing up Terry Pendelton.

Concentrating on the batter, McDowell got his first pitch, a sinker, over the plate. Pendleton pounded it foul into the ground for strike one.

The Mets right-hander walked to the back of the mound, turned his back to home plate and stared at the 410 feet sign on the center field wall. Did he know something?

Pendelton blasted McDowell's next delivery over the center field fence to tie the game at 4-4.

"Until I get two strikes," Pendleton told reporters after the game, "I've got to try to hit it out of the ball park. He threw me two good sinkers. Then I moved up front in the box and got the next one early, and I was able to catch up with it."

Jesse Orosco gave up a pair of runs in the 10th inning. The Cardinals, who were one out away from having their division lead cut to one-half game, made the most of their one remaining out in the ninth inning.

After the game, some media types weren't certain how to take manager Whitey Herzog's comments.

"I figured this one was in the sack. We'd scored three runs in 35 innings. This time, we're only three runs down with two out in the ninth."

Herzog then shook his head and became serious.

"We haven't done that since the All-Star break. If they'd scored another run or two, we would have been out of it."

The Cardinals won the next night, but David Cone stopped them the following afternoon. It was too late. The Cardinals went on to win the division as well as the pennant.

References:

Cards missing injured Clark. (1987, Sep 11). New York Times (1923-Current File), pp. D17. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/110724478?accountid=46260

Mets, one out from victory, are stunned by cards. (1987, Sep 12). New York Times (1923-Current File), pp. 51-51. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/110724318?accountid=46260

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