When Luis Aguayo's game-winning homer landed in the seats,...

By MIKE TULLY, UPI National Baseball Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- When Luis Aguayo's game-winning homer landed in the seats, one kind of suspense ended and another began for the New York Mets.

Not only did they lose a tense 4-3, 10-inning decision to the Philadelphia Phillies, but they also wondered whether the St. Louis Cardinals would clinch the National League East title with a victory over Montreal.


They found out they remain in the race by the slimmest of margins. Montreal defeated St. Louis 6-1. The Cardinals can take the division with a victory Thursday night over Montreal or with a triumph over the Mets in one of their three games that close the season in St. Louis.

'We'll find out tonight if we're alive,' New York left-hander Bob Ojeda said.

'We have to hope Montreal wins and we have life going in there (St. Louis),' added team captain Keith Hernandez.

Several Mets players -- Len Dykstra, Gary Carter, Darryl Strawberry, Rick Aguilera, Roger McDowell and John Candelaria among them -- watched the Cardinal-Expos game on television in a small chamber off the main locker room.

Aguayo, batting for Steve Jeltz, hit a 1-2 pitch off Jesse Orosco, 3-9, for his career-high 12th homer and his fourth game-winning RBI of the season. Jeff Calhoun, 3-1, pitched three hitless relief innings for the triumph.


'I was sitting on a breaking ball,' Aguayo said. 'Because that's what he usually gives me with two strikes. He tried to sneak a fastball in and I just reacted. I had good contact.'

Aguayo was 1 for 17 as a pinch-hitter until the hit.

'You go with experience,' said Phils Manager Lee Elia, explaining his choice of Aguayo. 'I don't have much experience on the right side.'

New York's magic number for elimiation dropped to one. The next St. Louis victory or Met defeat eliminateslast year's World Series winners. New York was trying to become the first National League East team to repeat as division champion since the 1977-78 Phillies.

Trailing 3-0, New York rallied to tie the score. Strawberry led off the fifth inning with his 39th home run of the season. In the sixth, Mookie Wilson doubled and Tim Teufel hit his 14th homer of the year.

Philadelphia had taken a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a walk to Milt Thompson, his 44th stolen base, and Von Hayes' RBI single. In the third, Hayes singled and scored on Mike Schmidt's 530th career homer. It was Schmidt's 35th of the season, tying him for second place with Hank Aaron at 11 seasons with at least that many. Babe Ruth owns the major-league record, 12.


The game was Philadelphia's last at home this season. A crowd of 27,672 brought the Phillies' home attendance to 2,100,110.

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