April 14, 1999: Franco's 400th Save
|Date: April 14, 1999|
|Mets starter: Orel Hershiser|
|Winning pitcher: Orel Hershiser|
|Key player(s): John Franco|
|Key play: Pratt's and Alfonzo's doubles, Fabregas's strikeout|
The Mets concluded their home-opening series against the Marlins on a Wednesday night. The crowd at Shea Stadium witnessed some history as John Franco became the first lefthanded pitcher ever to reach the 400 save mark. The Mets won the game, 4-1.
Orel Hershiser started by retiring the first 11 Florida batters. He then allowed a single to Mark Kotsay with two out in a scoreless fourth. Meanwhile, the Mets got run-scoring doubles from Todd Pratt and Edgardo Alfonzo plus a bases-loaded walk to Bobby Bonilla in the bottom of the second against Florida's Jesus Sanchez for a 3-0 lead.
In the fifth, Preston Wilson got a bunt single with one out for the Marlins. Hershiser hit Kevin Orie with a pitch and walked Jorge Fabregas to load the bases. Wilson came home on pinch-hitter Bruce Aven's sacrifice fly. Florida then put two runners on base in the sixth before reliever Turk Wendell got Wilson on a pop up to end the inning.
Robin Ventura homered off Marlins' reliever Antonio Alfonseca in the bottom of the seventh. In the eighth, Armando Benitez retired the Florida batters in order. The Mets had a three-run lead going into the ninth.
Franco came in to try and close out the game. He started with strikeouts of Todd Dunwoody and Wilson. Orie followed with a double, but John then struck out Fabregas to seal the win for the Mets. It was Franco's 400th career save, making him the first lefthander and only the second reliever after Lee Smith to accumulate that total.