April 22, 1996: Wilson's First Major League Win

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Date: April 22, 1996
Mets starter: Paul Wilson
Mets: 5
Reds: 1
Winning pitcher: Paul Wilson
Key player(s): Paul Wilson, Bernard Gilkey, Jose Vizcaino
Key play: Gilkey’s single, Vizcaino’s home run

The Mets faced the Reds on a Monday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a two-game series. Paul Wilson recorded his first major league win in a 5-1 Mets victory over Cincinnati.

Wilson pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. Lance Johnson singled against Reds’ starter Mark Portugal to lead off the bottom half. Johnson stole second base and Jose Vizcaino drew a walk. Bernard Gilkey hit a single to drive home Johnson for a 1-0 Mets lead. Butch Huskey was retired on a fly ball to center fielder Thomas Howard, after which Vizcaino advanced to third base. Rico Brogna hit a sacrifice fly to score Vizcaino with the second New York run. Todd Hundley then grounded back to Portugal for the third out.

Wilson and Portugal each pitched scoreless ball from the second inning to the fourth. Bret Boone drew a one-out walk in the top of the fifth. Boone moved to third base on Eric Anthony’s double and came home on Jeff Branson’s sacrifice fly. Wilson threw a called third strike past Portugal to end the inning and Johnson singled to open the bottom half. Vizcaino slugged a two-run homer to increase the Mets’ lead to 4-1. Gilkey grounded out to shortstop Barry Larkin and a single by Huskey ensued. Portugal then struck out both Brogna and Hundley to finish off the inning.

Wilson retired the side in order in the top of the sixth. Jeff Kent got an infield single to begin the bottom half. With Rey Ordonez at bat, Kent moved around to third base on Portugal’s errant pickoff throw. Ordonez hit a single to plate Kent with the Mets’ fifth run of the game. Wilson’s sacrifice bunt advanced Ordonez to second and Johnson popped out to catcher Ed Taubensee. Portugal then got Vizcaino to ground out to second baseman Boone and end the inning.

Wilson set down the Reds 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh. Portugal yielded only a single to Gilkey in the bottom half and Wilson gave up just a single to pinch-hitter Willie Greene in the top of the eighth. Cincinnati reliever Marcus Moore hurled a scoreless bottom of the inning and Vince Coleman singled against the Mets’ Doug Henry to open the top of the ninth. Larkin was struck out and Taubensee popped out to third baseman Tim Bogar. Hal Morris hit a single and Henry got Boone on a force play grounder to Bogar for the game’s final out. The Mets had a victory as Wilson chalked up his first win as a major leaguer.