April 28, 1995: Mets Win Delayed Home Opener

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Date: April 28, 1995
Mets starter: Bret Saberhagen
Mets: 10
Cardinals: 8
Winning pitcher: Blas Minor
Key player(s): Bobby Bonilla, Rico Brogna, Todd Hundley
Key play: Brogna’s home run, Bonilla’s and Hundley’s two-run doubles

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Friday night at Shea Stadium. Following the delay of the season due to the previous year’s strike, the game served as the Mets' home opener for '95. The Mets came from behind for a 10-8 win over St. Louis.

Bernard Gilkey led off the top of the first inning with a single to left field. A sacrifice bunt by Ozzie Smith moved Gilkey to second base. Ray Lankford doubled to drive home Gilkey for a 1-0 Cardinals lead. Mets’ starter Bret Saberhagen struck out Scott Cooper and Brian Jordan to end the inning. Redbirds’ starter Allen Watson set down the Mets in order in the bottom half. Saberhagen and Watson then pitched perfect halves in the second inning.

Watson and Gilkey hit back-to-back singles to open the top of the third. Smith’s second sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third base. Lankford grounded out to second baseman Jeff Kent and an intentional walk to Cooper loaded the bases. Jordan got an infield single to score Watson and an ensuing single by John Mabry plated Gilkey and Cooper to stretch the St. Louis lead to 4-0. Saberhagen then retired Tom Pagnozzi on a fly ball to right fielder Carl Everett for the final out of the inning.

Everett homered to begin the bottom of the third. Watson completed the inning with no further scoring despite singles by Saberhagen and Jose Vizcaino. In the top of the fourth, Watson got a one-out double and came home on a single by Gilkey. Smith hit into a double play to end the inning. Bobby Bonilla started the bottom half with a home run to reduce the Cards’ lead to 5-2. Kent followed with a double to right field. David Segui grounded out to third baseman Cooper and a balk by Watson moved Kent to second. Watson then fanned Everett and Todd Hundley for the last two outs of the inning.

Lankford opened the top of the fifth with a home run. Cooper flied out to center fielder Brett Butler and a homer by Jordan extended the Cardinals’ lead to 7-2. Saberhagen retired the next two batters and pinch-hitter Brook Fordyce drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the inning. Butler also walked and Vizcaino got a bunt single to load the bases. Rico Brogna reached on a fielder’s choice grounder to bring home Fordyce. Bonilla followed with a double that scored Butler and Vizcaino. Reliever Vicente Palacios then came in to replace Watson on the mound for St. Louis.

Kent grounded out to shortstop Smith to score Brogna and cut the Redbirds’ lead to 7-6. Palacios threw a called third strike past Segui and got Everett on an inning-ending fly ball to left fielder Gilkey. To start the top of the sixth, Mets’ reliever Mike Remlinger walked Jose Oquendo. Palacios’s sacrifice bunt and a ground out by Gilkey advanced Oquendo to third. Smith doubled to right field to score Oquendo with the Cardinals’ eighth run. Remlinger retired Lankford on a fly ball to Butler for the third out. Palacios then shut down the Mets in the bottom of the inning.

Mets’ reliever Blas Minor retired Cooper on a line drive to Kent to begin the top of the seventh. Jordan followed with a single and went to third on a single by Mabry. Pagnozzi flied out to Everett, who then threw to catcher Hundley for an inning-ending out at home on Jordan. Brogna homered off the Cards’ Rene Arocha to start the bottom half. The Mets followed up by loading the bases with one out. Hundley hit a double to left field that brought home Bonilla and Kent for a 9-8 Mets lead. Arocha then struck out pinch-hitter Joe Orsulak and got Butler on a fly ball to Gilkey to end the inning.

Mets’ reliever Jerry DiPoto pitched a scoreless top of the eighth. Vizcaino reached on an error by Cooper to start the bottom of the inning. Against reliever Tony Fossas, Brogna’s sacrifice bunt advanced Vizcaino to second base. Cardinals’ reliever John Habyan issued an intentional walk to Bonilla and an error by Smith of Kent’s grounder allowed Vizcaino to score the Mets’ tenth run. Habyan then got pinch-hitter Ricky Otero on a ground ball to second baseman Oquendo for an inning-ending double play.

To begin the top of the ninth, Mets’ reliever John Franco threw called third strikes past Lankford and Cooper. Jordan drew a walk to keep the Redbirds’ chances alive. Franco then got pinch-hitter Gerald Perry on a called third strike to end the game. The Mets had their first win of the delayed season.