After the Mets had tied the scored at 3 in the eighth inning, Mets pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre approached Darling in the dugout. "We're gonna win this," Stottlemyre told Darling. "I want you to be rested for your start [scheduled for the following night]. Get out of here now and get your sleep."
As ordered, Darling left the dugout, changed --- without showering -- in the clubhouse and began the drive from Shea Stadium to his Manhattan apartment.
He hadn't yet reached the Triboro Bridge when Dave Henderson hit a home run and the Red Sox added a second run in the 10th against Rick Aguilera.
"I couldn't just keep going," Darling said. "If we were going to lose the World Series, it was my place to be with my teammates."
So shortly after Aguilera hung a slider, Darling hung a U-turn and headed back to somber Shea Stadium.
"I got there and ran into the Diamond Club entrance," Darling said. "I got there [in the bottom of the 10th], just as Kid singled."
That two-out single by Gary Carter against Calvin Schiraldi ignited the Mets. Kevin Mitchell hit an 0-1 slider into center for a second single.
Before Ray Knight banged another slider for the Mets' third straight hit and a run, Darling was in the office of manager Davey Johnson watching the telecast with Keith Hernandez -- and hoping.
The Mets were still down a run with Mitchell on third base, but in the dugout, Carter began putting on his catching gear as if he was certain they would at least tie the score.
Bob Stanley relieved Schiraldi and battled Wilson. With the count 2-2, Wilson fouled off three pitches, two of which barely made contact. Then came the wild pitch that scored Mitchell and moved Knight to second.
It should have moved Darling and Hernandez to the dugout. But they held their positions in Johnson's office. "We didn't want to break the spell," Darling said. "Keith already was one beer in when I got into the office. We couldn't believe we were going to lose. ... Then we couldn't believe we were going to win.
"But we knew we had to stay where we were."
Wilson fouled off a 3-2 pitch from Stanley before hitting a ball on the ground that since has blurred the images of the man who hit it and the man who was unable to handle it. That made Darling's U-turn worthwhile.