April 23, 1999: Mets Come Back to Beat Cubs

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Date: April 23, 1999
Mets starter: Bobby Jones
Mets: 6
Cubs: 5
Winning pitcher: Dennis Cook
Key player(s): Brian McRae, Luis Lopez, Todd Pratt, Rey Ordonez
Key play: Lopez’s singles, Pratt’s two-run single, Ordonez’s sacrifice fly

The Mets faced the Cubs on a Friday afternoon in Chicago. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Trailing by three runs, the Mets scored four times in the eighth and ninth innings for a 6-5 win.

Bobby Jones and the Cubs’ Steve Trachsel each started the game with four scoreless innings pitched. Brian McRae hit a single to lead off the top of the fifth. Todd Pratt singled and a wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third base. Luis Lopez singled to drive home McRae for a 1-0 Mets lead. Jones’ sacrifice bunt moved Lopez to second and Rickey Henderson popped out to second baseman Mickey Morandini. Trachsel retired Edgardo Alfonzo on a ground ball to Morandini for the inning’s third out. Jones then gave up only a double to Benito Santiago in the bottom half.

Trachsel set down the side in order in the top of the sixth. To begin the bottom of the inning, Lance Johnson singled and stole second base. Morandini flied out to right fielder Jermaine Allensworth and a single by Sammy Sosa advanced Johnson to third. Mark Grace hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Johnson with the tying run. Henry Rodriguez singled and came around to score with Sosa on a triple by Santiago for a 3-1 Cubs lead. Manny Alexander then grounded back to Jones for the final out of the inning.

McRae got a leadoff single in the top of the seventh. Brian moved to second base on Pratt’s ground out to third baseman Gary Gaetti and came home on a single by Lopez. Pinch-hitter Mike Kinkade flied out to right fielder Sosa and a strikeout of Henderson ended the inning. Gaetti singled against Mets’ reliever Josias Manzanillo to begin the bottom half. Trachsel popped out to Manzanillo on a bunt attempt and Johnson tripled against New York’s Dennis Cook to bring home pinch-runner Jose Hernandez. Morandini laid down a sacrifice bunt that scored Johnson and increased the Cubs’ lead to 5-2. Sosa then grounded out to Cook to finish off the inning.

Alfonzo singled against Trachsel to open the top of the eighth. John Olerud went down on strikes and Allensworth hit a single. Against Chicago reliever Felix Heredia, Robin Ventura doubled to drive home Alfonzo. McRae drew a walk against the Cubs’ Matt Karchner to load the bases. Pratt followed with a single that scored both Allensworth and pinch-runner Rey Ordonez, tying the game at 5-5. Karchner got Lopez to pop out to third baseman Alexander and fanned Kinkade to close out the inning. Cook then hurled a perfect bottom half.

Pinch-hitter Roger Cedeno hit a single against Chicago reliever Rod Beck to lead off the top of the ninth. Alfonzo was retired on a pop-up to shortstop Hernandez. Cedeno stole second base and moved to third on an error by catcher Tyler Houston. Olerud was given an intentional walk and pinch-hitter Matt Franco walked to load the bases. Ordonez hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Cedeno and put the Mets ahead by a run. McRae then grounded out to Beck to end the inning.

Mets’ reliever John Franco retired Alexander on a grounder to shortstop Ordonez to start the bottom of the ninth. Hernandez went down on strikes. John Franco then got pinch-hitter Glenallen Hill to ground out to third baseman Lopez and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a come-from-behind victory.