April 28, 1996: Mets Hold Off Bucs Rally
|Date: April 28, 1996|
|Mets starter: Bobby Jones|
|Winning pitcher: Bobby Jones|
|Key player(s): Bobby Jones, Kevin Roberson, Rico Brogna, Todd Hundley|
|Key play: Roberson’s, Brogna’s and Hundley’s singles|
The Mets faced the Pirates on a Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. The Mets held off a Bucs comeback effort in the ninth inning and came away with a 7-5 win.
Bobby Jones and the Pirates’ Paul Wagner each started the game with two perfect innings pitched. Wagner set down the side in order again in the top of the third and Charlie Hayes hit a home run to lead off the bottom half. Jason Kendall went down on strikes and Wagner grounded out to second baseman Jose Vizcaino. Carlos Garcia homered for a 2-0 Pittsburgh lead. Jones then fanned Al Martin for the inning’s third out.
After a scoreless fourth, Jeff Kent slugged a solo home run with two outs in the top of the fifth. Rey Ordonez grounded out to shortstop Jay Bell to end the inning and Jones gave up just a single to Kendall in the bottom half. Lance Johnson hit a one-out double in the top of the sixth. Vizcaino was called out on strikes and a wild pitch moved Lance Johnson to third base. Bernard Gilkey drew a walk and advanced to third on Kevin Roberson’s single that brought home Lance Johnson with the tying run. On his own hit, Roberson went to second via a throw. Rico Brogna singled to drive home Gilkey and Roberson, giving the Mets a 4-2 lead. Wagner fanned Todd Hundley to close out the inning. Jones then retired the side 1-2-3 in the bottom half.
Kent doubled against Wagner to open the top of the seventh. Ordonez got an infield single to send Kent to third base and moved to second on Jones’ sacrifice bunt. Against Bucs’ reliever Lee Hancock, Lance Johnson grounded out to Bell to score Kent and increase the Mets’ lead to 5-2. Hancock retired Vizcaino on an inning-ending grounder to third baseman Hayes. Jones then set down the side on three straight outfield fly balls in the bottom half.
To begin the top of the eighth, Gilkey singled and stole second base. Roberson was struck out and Gilkey advanced to third after Brogna’s fly out to center fielder Mike Kingery. Hundley hit a single to bring home Gilkey with the Mets’ sixth run and Hancock got Kent to hit a force play ground ball to Hayes that ended the inning. Jones pitched a scoreless bottom half and Ordonez singled against Pittsburgh reliever Joe Boever to lead off the top of the ninth. Rey went to second on Jones’ sacrifice bunt and to third on Lance Johnson’s ground out to Bell. Ordonez came home on a wild pitch to extend the New York lead to 7-2. Vizcaino singled and advanced to second on catcher Kendall’s passed ball. Boever then retired Gilkey on a grounder to Bell for the final out of the inning.
Orlando Merced drew a walk against Jones to begin the bottom of the ninth. Bell followed with a two-run homer to reduce the Mets’ lead to 7-4. Kingery grounded out to third baseman Kent and a single by Hayes ensued. Pinch-hitter Mark Johnson drew a walk against Mets’ reliever Doug Henry. New York’s John Franco struck out pinch-hitter Jacob Brumfield and yielded a single to Garcia that plated Hayes with the Pirates’ fifth run. Franco then fanned Martin to end the game. The Mets had withstood a Bucs rally attempt and emerged with a victory to close out the weekend series.