April 22, 1999: Six-Hitter Downs Reds

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Date: April 22, 1999
Mets starter: Al Leiter
Mets: 4
Reds: 1
Winning pitcher: Al Leiter
Key player(s): Al Leiter, Todd Pratt, Edgardo Alfonzo
Key play: Pratt’s home run, Alfonzo’s single

The Mets faced the Reds on a Thursday night in Cincinnati. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. Al Leiter and three relievers teamed up for a six-hitter in a 4-1 Mets win.

Edgardo Alfonzo drew a walk against Reds’ starter Brett Tomko with one out in the top of the first inning. Alfonzo moved to third base on John Olerud’s double and came home on Bobby Bonilla’s ground out to first baseman Sean Casey. Tomko got Robin Ventura on a pop-up to third baseman Mark Lewis for the third out and Leiter pitched a perfect bottom half. Todd Pratt hit a home run with one out in the top of the second. Luis Lopez walked and went to second on Leiter’s sacrifice bunt. Rickey Henderson drew a walk and Alfonzo singled to score Lopez for a 3-0 Mets lead. Tomko retired Olerud on an inning-ending ground ball to second baseman Pokey Reese. Leiter then struck out the side in order in the bottom half.

Tomko set down all three batters in the top of the third. Leading off the bottom of the inning, Brian Johnson homered to reduce the Mets lead to 3-1. Reese and Tomko were retired on infield ground balls and Mike Cameron hit a single. Barry Larkin popped out to first baseman Olerud to end the inning and Tomko surrendered only a walk to Pratt in the top of the fourth. Casey singled to open the bottom half. Greg Vaughn popped out to shortstop Lopez and a strikeout of Jeffrey Hammonds ensued. Lewis hit a single and Leiter fanned Johnson to close out the inning.

Leiter and Tomko each pitched scoreless fifth and sixth innings. Henderson drew a walk against Tomko to lead off the top of the seventh. Rickey advanced to second base on Alfonzo’s ground out to shortstop Larkin and scored the Mets’ fourth run on Olerud’s single against Cincinnati reliever Gabe White. Jermaine Allensworth grounded out to Larkin and a strikeout of Ventura finished off the inning. Johnson got a one-out single against Leiter in the bottom half. Reese walked and the Mets’ Turk Wendell got Dmitri Young to pop out to third baseman Ventura. Wendell then retired Cameron on a fly ball to center fielder Brian McRae to end the inning.

White set down the side 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. Vaughn drew a two-out walk against Mets’ reliever Armando Benitez in the bottom half. Pinch-hitter Hal Morris singled for the Reds’ sixth hit and Benitez retired pinch-hitter Michael Tucker on an inning-ending pop-up to Olerud. Cincinnati’s Scott Williamson pitched a scoreless top of the ninth and New York’s John Franco threw a called third strike past Johnson to start the bottom half. Reese grounded out to Lopez. Franco then struck out Young to end the game. The Mets had a series-closing victory.