April 20, 1997: Mets Beat Cubs in DH Opener

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Date: April 20, 1997
Mets starter: Bobby Jones
Mets: 8
Cubs: 2
Winning pitcher: Bobby Jones
Key player(s): Bobby Jones, John Olerud, Carl Everett
Key play: Olerud’s home run and single, Everett’s grand slam

The Mets faced the Cubs in a doubleheader on a Sunday afternoon. The teams played a two-hour and forty-four-minute opener of the twinbill at Shea Stadium. The Mets began the day with an 8-2 win over Chicago.

Doug Glanville and Dave Hansen got back-to-back singles to lead off the top of the first inning. Mark Grace lined out to center fielder Lance Johnson and a pop-up by Sammy Sosa was caught by first baseman John Olerud. Brooks Kieschnick singled to drive home Glanville with the first run of the game. Mets’ starter Bobby Jones then got Shawon Dunston on a pop-up to second baseman Manny Alexander for the third out.

Johnson got a bunt single against Cubs’ starter Steve Trachsel to open the bottom of the first. A sacrifice bunt by Rey Ordonez advanced Johnson to second base. Olerud followed with a home run to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. Trachsel retired Bernard Gilkey on a pop-up to first baseman Grace and struck out Todd Hundley to end the inning. Jones set down the side in order in the top of the second. The Mets then failed to score after loading the bases in the bottom half.

With two outs in the top of the third, Grace homered to tie the game. Jones retired Sosa on a ground ball to shortstop Ordonez that closed out the inning and Olerud reached on third baseman Hansen’s error to begin the bottom half. Gilkey and Hundley followed with consecutive singles to load the bases. Carl Everett hit a grand slam that put the Mets ahead, 6-2. Matt Franco drew a walk and Alexander singled to center field. Trachsel was replaced on the mound by Chicago reliever Larry Casian, who got Jones to hit a force play grounder to shortstop Dunston. Johnson flied out to center fielder Glanville and a single by Ordonez loaded the bases once again. Olerud singled to bring home Alexander with the Mets’ seventh run of the game. Casian then got Gilkey to pop out to Grace and finish off the inning.

Jones gave up only a single and a stolen base to Dunston in the top of the fourth. With one out in the bottom half, Everett slugged his second homer for the eighth New York run. Cubs’ reliever Ramon Tatis got Franco to line out to Glanville and retired Alexander on an inning-ending ground ball to Hansen. Jones and Tatis each pitched perfect fifth and sixth innings and Bobby retired the Cubs 1-2-3 again in the top of the seventh. To open the bottom of the inning, Everett singled for his third hit of the game. Franco grounded out to Grace and a fly ball by Alexander was caught by right fielder Sosa. Tatis then got Jones to ground out to shortstop Jose Hernandez and end the inning.

Jones retired all three batters in the top of the eighth. Chicago reliever Kent Bottenfield yielded only a single to Olerud in the bottom half. Sosa flied out to right fielder Everett to lead off the top of the ninth. Kieschnick was also retired on a fly ball to Everett. Jones then got pinch-hitter Tyler Houston to fly out to left fielder Gilkey and end the game. The Mets had a victory to start the doubleheader.