April 20, 1999: Bonilla and Ventura Beat Reds

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Date: April 20, 1999
Mets starter: Orel Hershiser
Mets: 3
Reds: 2
Winning pitcher: Dennis Cook
Key player(s): Todd Pratt, Bobby Bonilla, Robin Ventura
Key play: Pratt’s and Ventura’s RBI singles, Bonilla’s home run

The Mets faced the Reds on a Tuesday night in Cincinnati. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Bobby Bonilla homered and Robin Ventura hit a run-scoring single to lift the Mets to a 3-2 win.

Reds’ starter Pete Harnisch retired the side in order in the top of the first inning. The Mets’ Orel Hershiser hurled a perfect bottom half and Mike Kinkade hit a triple with two outs in the top of the second. Todd Pratt singled to score Kinkade and give the Mets a 1-0 lead. Harnisch got Rey Ordonez to fly out to right fielder Dmitri Young and finish off the inning. Hershiser then surrendered only a walk to Greg Vaughn in the bottom half.

Hershiser and Harnisch each pitched scoreless ball from the third inning to the fifth. Harnisch set down all three batters in the top of the sixth and Mike Cameron got a leadoff single against Hershiser in the bottom half. Cameron stole second base and advanced to third on Barry Larkin’s ground out to second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo. Sean Casey doubled to score Cameron and tie the game at 1-1. Vaughn drew a walk and Mets’ reliever Dennis Cook retired Young on a fly ball to left fielder Kinkade. Cook then got Aaron Boone to fly out to center fielder Roger Cedeno and close out the inning.

Bonilla hit a home run to begin the top of the seventh. Ventura was retired on a line drive to center fielder Cameron. Kinkade grounded out to second baseman Pokey Reese and a single by Pratt ensued. Ordonez doubled and Harnisch retired pinch-hitter Matt Franco on an inning-ending grounder to third baseman Boone. Mets’ reliever Turk Wendell then set down the side 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Cedeno drew a walk against Reds’ reliever Scott Williamson to open the top of the eighth. Alfonzo singled to send Cedeno to third base and Cincinnati’s Gabe White retired John Olerud on a line drive to Reese. Jermaine Allensworth popped out to first baseman Casey and a single by Ventura plated Cedeno for a 3-1 Mets lead. The Reds’ Danny Graves struck out Kinkade to end the inning. Mets’ reliever Armando Benitez then surrendered just a walk to Larkin in the bottom half.

Graves retired the side on three straight infield grounders in the top of the ninth. Young and Boone got back-to-back singles against Mets’ reliever John Franco to start the bottom of the inning. Brian Johnson’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third base. Reese got an infield single to score Young and a walk to pinch-hitter Jeffrey Hammonds loaded the bases. John Franco then threw a called third strike past Cameron and got Larkin on a pop-up to first baseman Olerud to end the game. The Mets had come away with a victory to begin the series.