April 11, 1990: Viola and Franco Blank Pirates

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Date: April 11, 1990
Mets starter: Frank Viola
Mets: 3
Pirates: 0
Winning pitcher: Frank Viola
Key player(s): Frank Viola, John Franco, Gregg Jefferies, Kevin McReynolds
Key play: Jefferies’ and McReynolds’ home runs

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Wednesday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played the second of three games in a season-opening series. Frank Viola and John Franco combined for a shutout in a 3-0 Mets win over Pittsburgh.

Viola retired the side in order in the top of the first inning. Leading off the bottom half, Gregg Jefferies hit a home run against Bucs’ starter John Smiley. Keith Miller doubled to left field and Howard Johnson grounded out to third baseman Jeff King. Darryl Strawberry singled to drive home Miller for a 2-0 Mets lead and stole second base. Kevin McReynolds followed with a single on which Strawberry was out at home via a throw by left fielder Barry Bonds to catcher Tom Prince. Smiley then got Mike Marshall on a foul fly ball to Bonds for the inning’s final out.

Viola and Smiley each pitched scoreless ball from the second inning to the fifth. Frank yielded three singles without a walk while Smiley surrendered only a base on balls to Kevin Elster and a single to Strawberry. John Cangelosi singled to lead off the top of the sixth. Viola struck out the next three Pittsburgh batters to close out the inning and Pirates’ reliever Bob Patterson set down the first two hitters in the bottom half. McReynolds hit a homer against the Bucs’ Mike Roesler for the Mets’ third run of the game. Marshall grounded out to shortstop Jay Bell to end the inning and Viola retired the Pirates 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh. Roesler then set down the Mets in order in the bottom half.

Viola struck out Prince to open the top of the eighth inning. Jose Lind singled and advanced to second base on pinch-hitter R. J. Reynolds’ ground out to first baseman Marshall. Franco came in to pitch for the Mets and threw a wild pitch that sent Lind to third. John responded by retiring Bonds on an inning-ending ground ball to second baseman Jefferies. Pittsburgh reliever Ted Power then hurled a perfect bottom half.

Franco fanned Bell to begin the top of the ninth. Gary Redus grounded back to Franco and a single by Bobby Bonilla ensued. John then got King to foul out to catcher Barry Lyons and end the game. The Mets had their first win of the season on a combined shutout.

Notes

  • The save for Franco in this game was his first of a team record 276 as a Met.