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The Mets have their ace on the mound but fail to bring a series lead back to New York.
Boston won two in New York. New York won two in Boston. On their final night in Fenway Park, the Mets looked for the trend to continue with their man Doc Gooden on the mound. It wasn't to be.
On this date, 1986, Boston's Bruce Hurst held the Mets to two runs on ten hits as he secured the complete game win. Gooden wasn't good. He squirmed out of a bases-loaded jam in the first but let in a run in each of the next two innings. In the fifth, he gave up a triple and two singles before he was lifted, with none out, for Sid Fernandez, who pitched a brilliant back half.
But the damage was done. The Mets wouldn't bring one of their own home until the eighth inning when Tim Teufel, tired of the all runner-stranding, clocked a solo home run. Mookie Wilson and Rafael Santana raised some heart beats in the ninth with a pair of two-out hits that scored a run. But the Sox, winning 4-2, took a three-games-to-two advantage back to New York.
As we know now, this was to set up maximal heartbreak.
- Kaz Matsui, 37 today, was the first major-league infielder signed out of Japan, and he cracked a home run in his first at-bat of 2004, off 2005, and of 2006. But not only was the supposedly slick fielder not worth $20.1 million over three years, he was not ultimately worth a roster spot; Colorado took him off Mets' hands in June of '06. His manager Willie Randolph's comment: "Don't forget I wasn't here when we made the deal."
- Al Leiter, 47 today, was raised a Mets fan in Jersey, began (and ended) his career in enemy pinstripes, but spent the heart of it where his heart lay. The lefthander accumulated 26.4 rWAR in 7 years as a Met, from 1998 to 2004. His finest hour was perhaps the fifth game of the 2000 World Series, wherein he struck out nine in a near-complete game for the up-against-it Mets, days after receiving the Clemente Award. The Mets fell short, of course, but not for Leiter's effort.
- The Mets drafted Randy Tate, 60 today, in 1972 and bought him up to start 23 games in 1975. He posted a 4.45 ERA, and it was his rotten luck to lose a game wherein he had a no hitter through seven innings. It was his rottener luck that he never climbed back up from the minors after '75.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
On this date, 42 BC, the forces of Mark Antony and Octavius Caesar conquered Brutus's army, forcing the traitorous senator's suicide and casting him -- if Dante is to be believed -- to the ninth circle of hell. Beware the Ides of June, "Julius" Seaver, for the that 15th trading deadline, 1977, saw the great man's massacre by the hellacious M. Donald Grant.