April 25, 1996: Eight-Run 7th Plucks Redbirds

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Date: April 25, 1996
Mets starter: Mark Clark
Mets: 9
Cardinals: 3
Winning pitcher: Mark Clark
Key player(s): Brent Mayne, Lance Johnson, Butch Huskey, Jose Vizcaino
Key play: Mets’ home runs

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Thursday afternoon in St. Louis. The teams played the latter half of a two-game series. The Mets scored eight runs in the seventh inning and defeated the Redbirds, 9-3.

Lance Johnson drew a walk against Cards’ starter Alan Benes to lead off the top of the first. Johnson advanced to third base on Jose Vizcaino’s single and came home on Bernard Gilkey’s sacrifice fly for a 1-0 Mets lead. Butch Huskey grounded to shortstop Royce Clayton for a double play and Rico Brogna drew a walk. Benes got Jeff Kent to hit a force play ground ball to Clayton for the third out. The Mets’ Mark Clark then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Benes set down the side in order in the top of the second. Clark retired all three batters in the bottom of the inning and Vizcaino doubled with one out in the top of the third. Gilkey lined out to Clayton and a strikeout of Huskey ended the inning. Clark gave up just a double to Benes in the bottom half. Benes hurled a perfect top of the fourth and Ray Lankford drew a walk with one out in the bottom of the inning. Ron Gant popped out to third baseman Kent and a double by John Mabry brought home Lankford with the tying run. Clark then retired Gary Gaetti on a pop-up to first baseman Brogna to close out the inning.

Benes set down the side 1-2-3 in the top of the fifth. Pat Borders got an infield single to begin the bottom half. Luis Alicea singled and Benes’s sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third base. Clayton followed with a grounder on which Clark tagged out Borders. Brian Jordan and Lankford followed with singles that scored Alicea and Clayton, respectively, for a 3-1 St. Louis lead. Clark then struck out Gant to finish off the inning.

Benes held the Mets to a single by Vizcaino in the top of the sixth. Clark shut down the Redbirds in the bottom half and Kent singled to lead off the top of the seventh. Brent Mayne slugged a home run to tie the game at 3-3. Rey Ordonez hit a single and Clark reached on Benes’s error of a sacrifice bunt. Johnson hit a three-run homer to give the Mets a 6-3 lead. Vizcaino tripled for his ninth hit in as many consecutive at-bats. Gilkey singled against Cardinals’ reliever Jeff Parrett to score Vizcaino and stole second base. Huskey homered for eight New York runs in the inning and nine for the game. Brogna grounded out to second baseman Alicea and a single by Kent ensued. Mayne reached on Alicea’s error and Parrett got Ordonez to hit a double play grounder to Clayton for the inning’s final outs. Clark then surrendered only a walk to Lankford in the bottom half.

Parrett pitched a perfect top of the eighth. Clark hurled a scoreless bottom of the inning and Parrett yielded just a single to Brogna in the top of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney grounded out to second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo to open the bottom half. Clayton was retired on a ground ball to Brogna. Clark then got Jordan to ground out to shortstop Ordonez and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a victory to close out the two-game set.