1986 National League Championship Series: Wikis


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1986 National League Championship Series
Team (Wins) Manager Season
New York Mets (4) Davey Johnson 108–54, .667, GA: 21½
Houston Astros (2) Hal Lanier 96–66, .593, GA: 10
Dates: October 8–October 15
MVP: Mike Scott (Houston)
Television: ABC
TV announcers: Keith Jackson and Tim McCarver
Radio: CBS
Radio announcers: Brent Musburger and Johnny Bench
Umpires: Doug Harvey, Lee Weyer, Frank Pulli, Dutch Rennert, Joe West, Fred Brocklander
 < 1985 NLCS 1987 > 
1986 World Series

The 1986 National League Championship Series was a best-of-seven Major League Baseball postseason series between the NL East champion New York Mets and NL West champion Houston Astros. It is the lone MLB playoff series in which the opponents were two "expansion" teams that had begun play in in the same season (1962) and was won by the Mets, four games to two, culminating with their thrilling 7–6, 16-inning triumph at Houston in Game 6. New York then defeated the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 World Series, four games to three.



After falling short of the NL East title in 1984 and 1985, the Mets, managed by Davey Johnson, cruised to first place in 1986 by posting a 108–54 record, a whopping 21+12 games ahead of the second-place Philadelphia Phillies. The title was the third in Mets' history and first since 1973.

Meanwhile, Houston recorded a mark of 96–66 to capture the NL West title, clinching the crown when staff ace Mike Scott threw a no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants, marking the first time any team had nailed down a division championship with a no-hitter. It was also the first time the Astros had won a division in six seasons. Houston was managed by Hal Lanier.

The Mets won seven of their 12 regular-season contests against the Astros, taking five of six at home and losing four of six in Houston, including a three-game sweep in July during which New York's Bob Ojeda, Ron Darling, Tim Teufel, and Rick Aguilera were arrested for a scuffle with off-duty cops working as bouncers.


Houston Astros vs. New York Mets

New York wins the series, 4–2.

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance
1 October 8 New York Mets – 0, Houston Astros – 1 Astrodome 2:56 44,131[1]
2 October 9 New York Mets – 5, Houston Astros – 1 Astrodome 2:40 44,391[2] 
3 October 11 Houston Astros – 5, New York Mets – 6 Shea Stadium 2:55 55,052[3] 
4 October 12 Houston Astros – 3, New York Mets – 1 Shea Stadium 2:23 55,038[4] 
5 October 14 Houston Astros – 1, New York Mets – 2 (12 innings) Shea Stadium 3:45 54,986[5] 
6 October 15 New York Mets – 7, Houston Astros – 6 (16 innings) Astrodome 4:42 45,718[6]

Game summaries

Game 1

Wednesday, October 8, 1986 at Astrodome in Houston, Texas

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
Houston 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 1 7 1

WP: Mike Scott (1–0)  LP: Dwight Gooden (0–1)  
HRs:  HOU – Glenn Davis (1)

Game 1 was a nail-biter which featured an excellent pitching duel between eventual NLCS Most Valuable Player Mike Scott and Dwight Gooden. Scott, who the Mets suggested was illegally scuffing the ball throughout the series,[citation needed] allowed just five hits and walked one while striking out 14 in a complete-game effort as the host Astros prevailed 1–0. Gooden allowed one run in his seven innings.

Houston first baseman Glenn Davis hit a long home run leading off the second inning, producing the game's lone run. Darryl Strawberry singled with one out in the top of the ninth and eventually reached third base, but Scott struck out Ray Knight to end it as the Astros took a 1–0 series lead.[1]

Game 2

Thursday, October 9, 1986 at Astrodome in Houston, Texas

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 0 0 0 2 3 0 0 0 0 5 10 0
Houston 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 10 2

WP: Bob Ojeda (1–0)  LP: Nolan Ryan (0–1)  

Game 2 saw the Mets knot the series at one game apiece as New York scored two runs in the fourth inning and then got three more in the fifth against Astros' starter Nolan Ryan en route to a 5–1 victory.

Lefty Bob Ojeda went the distance on a ten-hitter for the Mets, who were aided by a two-run triple from Keith Hernandez in the big fifth inning. Gary Carter added an RBI double and Wally Backman an RBI single for New York.[2]

Game 3

Saturday, October 11, 1986 at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Houston 2 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 8 1
New York 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 2 6 10 1

WP: Jesse Orosco (1–0)  LP: Dave Smith (0–1)  
HRs:  HOU – Bill Doran (1)  NYM – Darryl Strawberry (1), Lenny Dykstra (1)

Game 3 was an exciting, back-and-forth contest that was won by the Mets when Lenny Dykstra hit a two-run, walk-off homer against Astros' reliever Dave Smith in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving New York a 6–5 victory and 2–1 series lead on a Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium.

Houston broke through with four runs in the first two innings against Mets' starter Ron Darling, highlighted by Bill Doran's two-run home run in the second.

Darling then settled in by throwing three scoreless frames to give the Mets a chance to come back, which they did by scoring four runs in the bottom of the sixth as Darryl Strawberry's three-run homer off Houston starter Bob Knepper tied the game 4–4.

However, the Astros struck back against reliever Rick Aguilera in the top of the seventh as a throwing error by Ray Knight led to an unearned run that came home when Denny Walling's fielder's choice plated Doran for a 5–4 lead. It was the only error committed by the Mets in the series.

With the Astros still leading in the bottom of the ninth, closer Smith allowed a lead-off bunt single to Wally Backman, who appeared to have run out of the first-base line to avoid the tag of first baseman Glenn Davis, but was called safe by umpire Dutch Rennert despite an argument from Houston manager Hal Lanier. Backman advanced to second on a passed ball to Danny Heep. Heep flew out to centerfield for the inning's first out. The next batter was Dykstra, who won it for New York by lacing a Smith pitch over the right-field fence for a two-run homer as the Mets prevailed.

Jesse Orosco won the game in relief for New York by working two scoreless innings.[3]

Game 4

Sunday, October 12, 1986 at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Houston 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 4 1
New York 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 3 0

WP: Mike Scott (2–0)  LP: Sid Fernandez (0–1)  
HRs:  HOU – Alan Ashby (1), Dickie Thon (1)

Astros' ace Mike Scott was dominant once again in Game 4 as the right-hander went the distance on a three-hitter to earn his second victory of the series in Houston's 3–1 triumph.

Mets' starter Sid Fernandez allowed just three runs in six innings, but surrendered a two-run home run to Alan Ashby and a solo shot to Dickie Thon to account for all the offense the Astros needed.

Gary Carter came to bat as the tying run in the bottom of the ninth, but flew out to center as the Astros tied the series 2-2.[4]

Game 5

Tuesday, October 14, 1986 at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 R H E
Houston 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 9 1
New York 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 4 0

WP: Jesse Orosco (2–0)  LP: Charlie Kerfeld (0–1)  
HRs:  NYM – Darryl Strawberry (2)

After rain postponed Game 5 to a noon start on October 14, the Mets took a 3–2 series lead as Gary Carter's single off Charlie Kerfeld in the bottom of the 12th scored Wally Backman with the winning run for a 2–1 victory.

Game 5 was a pitching duel between Dwight Gooden and Nolan Ryan as Gooden allowed just one run in 10 innings with Ryan also surrendering a single run on two hits while striking out 12 in nine innings.

The Astros took a 1–0 lead in the fifth when Alan Ashby doubled, took third on a single by Craig Reynolds, and then scored on Bill Doran's ground-out. However, the Mets came right back and tied it in the bottom half when Darryl Strawberry took Ryan deep for the Mets' first hit of the game and his second homer of the series.

The game stayed tied until the 12th when with one out Wally Backman got an infield single off Kerfeld. Then after Backman took second on Kerfeld's errant throw on a pick-off attempt, Houston manager Hal Lanier opted to intentionally walk Keith Hernandez and pitch to Gary Carter, who had been just 1-for-21 in the series, and the Hall of Fame catcher made the Astros pay by lashing a single to center to give the Mets the win and a one-game lead as the series shifted back to Houston.

Jesse Orosco again earned the win for New York by hurling two perfect innings.[5]

Game 6

Wednesday, October 15, 1986 at Astrodome in Houston, Texas

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 R H E
New York 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 7 11 0
Houston 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 6 11 1

WP: Jesse Orosco (3–0)  LP: Aurelio López (0–1)  
HRs:  HOU – Billy Hatcher (1)

In one of the most famous games in baseball history, the Mets defeated Houston at the Astrodome 7–6 in 16 innings as Jesse Orosco struck out Kevin Bass on a curveball for the final out with runners at first and second as New York advanced to its third World Series in franchise history.

Houston took a 3–0 lead in the first inning against Bob Ojeda as an RBI double by Phil Garner, plus RBI singles from Glenn Davis and Jose Cruz gave Astros' starter Bob Knepper an early advantage. They were unable to add more runs as Kevin Bass was thrown out at third base following Alan Ashby's botched attempt to lay down a suicide-squeeze bunt, and Ashby lined out to shortstop to end the inning.

That lead held up for most of the game as Knepper was dominant, allowing no runs through the first eight innings. Meanwhile, Ojeda settled down and allowed nothing more through his next four frames, after which Rick Aguilera kept New York in the game by tossing three scoreless innings.

This all set the stage for a Mets' comeback in the top of the ninth that started when Lenny Dykstra tripled against Knepper to lead off. Mookie Wilson singled in Dykstra to cut it to 3–1 and then with one out Keith Hernandez doubled to score Wilson and end Knepper's night as the southpaw was replaced by Dave Smith, who promptly walked Carter and Darryl Strawberry to load the bases. Ray Knight then hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Hernandez and tie the game before Danny Heep struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning.

Roger McDowell then came in to pitch for New York and allowed just one hit through five scoreless innings, giving the Mets a chance to take the lead, which they did in the top of the 14th when Carter singled, Strawberry walked, and then with one out Wally Backman singled off Aurelio Lopez to plate Strawberry with the go-ahead run as Bass' throw home sailed high. The Mets still had the bases loaded before Wilson struck out to end the threat.

The Mets were now three outs away from going to the World Series, but with one out in the bottom of the 14th, Billy Hatcher homered off the left-field foul pole against Orosco to tie the game 4–4.

However, in the top of the 16th, Strawberry doubled to lead off against Lopez, followed by Knight's single that scored Strawberry to put the Mets ahead again. Jeff Calhoun then replaced Lopez and threw two wild pitches, the second scoring Knight to put New York up by two. Dykstra then singled in Backman, who had walked, for a 7–4 Mets' advantage.

The Mets needed each one of those three runs as Houston rallied once again as with one out. Davey Lopes drew a pinch-hit walk, followed by Doran's single. Hatcher then singled in Lopes to make it 7–5, after which Denny Walling hit into a fielder's choice for the second out. Davis followed with a single that brought home Doran to cut it to 7–6. Now with the tying run in scoring position, the winning run at the first base, and would-be Game 7 starter Mike Scott looming in the dugout, Orosco fanned Bass to end the classic contest and send the Mets to a World Series duel with the Boston Red Sox.

Orosco pitched two innings for his third win of the series, marking the first time a reliever had ever won three games in a postseason series. The time of the game was 4 hours and 42 minutes and the 16 innings was the most that had ever been played in a postseason contest at that time. Ironically, the Mets and Astros had played a 15-inning contest that lasted 5 hours and 29 minutes during the regular season, which Houston won 9–8.[6]

Composite box

1986 NLCS (4–2): New York Mets over Houston Astros

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 R H E
New York Mets 0 0 0 2 4 4 0 1 5 0 0 1 0 1 0 3 21 43 1
Houston Astros 5 5 0 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 17 49 7
Total attendance: 299,316   Average attendance: 49,886


The series is notable for containing one of the most outstanding pitching performances in any postseason by Houston right-hander Mike Scott, a former Met. Scott won both his starts and allowed just one run on one walk and eight hits through 18 innings to post a 0.50 earned-run average and earn NLCS MVP honors, marking the first time in NLCS history that a player won the award in a losing effort. Scott, who would have faced Ron Darling in Game 7, went on to win the NL Cy Young Award with an 18–10 record and a 2.22 ERA. The Mets went onto defeat the Boston Red Sox in the World Series, four games to three.

After beating the Astros in the 16-inning marathon of Game 6, the Mets' players partied so much on the plane back to New York that they actually damaged it. The airline charged the organization an unknown amount for the plane damage, although Manager Davey Johnson tore up the bill in front of his players and paid for the damages himself as a gift to the team for their hard work in winning the National League pennant.

Astros' manager Hal Lanier earned NL Manager of the Year honors in 1986.

Houston pitcher Aurelio Lopez was killed in a car crash in 1992 in his native country of Mexico on the day after his 44th birthday. His son, Albie Lopez, would pitch in the 2001 World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks against the New York Yankees.

Astros' outfielder Kevin Bass later played 46 games for the New York Mets in 1992.

Veteran Houston player Davey Lopes managed the Milwaukee Brewers from 20002002.

Astros' third baseman Phil Garner managed the team and guided them to the 2005 National League pennant, the first pennant in team history.[7][8]


External links

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