April 19, 1998: Mets Thrash Reds in Shutout

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Date: April 19, 1998
Mets starter: Al Leiter
Mets: 14
Reds: 0
Winning pitcher: Al Leiter
Key player(s): Al Leiter, Bernard Gilkey, John Olerud
Key play: Gilkey’s and Olerud’s six hits

The Mets faced the Reds on a Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. The Mets pounded out sixteen hits in a 14-0 win.

Luis Lopez and Bernard Gilkey got back-to-back singles with one out in the top of the first inning. An ensuing single by John Olerud scored Lopez with the first run of the game. Butch Huskey hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Gilkey for a two-run Mets lead. Reds’ starter Gabe White struck out Brian McRae to end the inning and Chris Stynes drew a walk to lead off the bottom half. Dmitri Young reached on a force play ground ball and Barry Larkin singled to left field. Mets’ starter Al Leiter then fanned Eduardo Perez and Willie Greene for the inning’s final two outs.

White retired the side in order in the top of the second. Leiter held the Reds to singles by Brook Fordyce and White in a scoreless bottom of the inning. Gilkey hit a two-out double in the top of the third. Olerud followed with a single to score Gilkey with the Mets’ third run. White got Huskey on a fly ball to left fielder Stynes to close out the inning and Leiter set down all three Cincinnati hitters in the bottom half. White shut down the Mets in the top of the fourth and Reggie Sanders singled with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Leiter then retired Fordyce on an inning-ending fly ball to right fielder Huskey.

Edgardo Alfonzo doubled with one out in the top of the fifth. Lopez hit a single to send Alfonzo to third base and Mark Hutton came in to pitch for the Reds. Gilkey hit a force play ground ball to third baseman Greene on which Alfonzo came home. Olerud’s ensuing double scored Gilkey to extend the Mets’ lead to 5-0. Hutton retired Huskey on a line drive to Stynes to finish off the inning. Leiter then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Following a scoreless sixth inning, Alfonzo singled to open the top of the seventh. A double by Lopez advanced Alfonzo to third base. Gilkey followed with a ground ball on which second baseman Bret Boone threw to catcher Ed Taubensee for an out at home on Alfonzo. Olerud drew a walk to load the bases and Huskey popped out to Boone. Hutton issued a walk to McRae that forced home Lopez and surrendered a single to Tim Spehr that plated Gilkey and Olerud for an 8-0 Mets lead. Cincinnati reliever David Weathers got Rey Ordonez to ground out to Boone and end the inning. Leiter then retired the Reds in order in the bottom half.

Alfonzo and Lopez drew consecutive walks against the Reds’ Marc Kroon with one out in the top of the eighth. Gilkey doubled to drive them home for the Mets’ ninth and tenth runs of the game. Kroon threw a wild pitch to move Gilkey to third base and Olerud was retired on a grounder to Boone. Rich Becker drew a walk and McRae singled to score Gilkey. Kroon got Spehr to ground out to Boone and end the inning. Mets’ reliever Turk Wendell then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Ordonez singled to begin the top of the ninth. Rey advanced to second base on a wild pitch and Matt Franco drew a walk. A triple by Jim Tatum drove home Ordonez and Franco to lengthen the Mets’ lead to 13-0. Lopez drew a walk and Gilkey popped out to first baseman Perez. Pinch-hitter Carlos Baerga hit a single to score Tatum with the Mets’ fourteenth run. Becker went down on strikes and McRae drew a walk to load the bases. Spehr then grounded back to Kroon for the final out of the inning.

Mets’ reliever John Hudek struck out Perez to start the bottom of the ninth. Greene took a called third strike for the inning’s second out. Hudek then fanned Boone to bring the game to an end. The Mets had a solid victory with a four-hit shutout comprised of three pitchers.