April 29, 1988: Keith's Single in 9th Beats Reds

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Date: April 29, 1988
Mets starter: Sid Fernandez
Mets: 5
Reds: 4
Winning pitcher: Roger McDowell
Key player(s): Keith Hernandez, Kevin Elster, Tim Teufel
Key play: Hernandez’s single in 9th

The Mets faced the Reds on a Friday night in Cincinnati. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Keith Hernandez hit a run-scoring single in the ninth inning for a 5-4 Mets win.

After a scoreless first, Howard Johnson singled against Reds’ starter Danny Jackson to lead off the top of the second. Johnson stole second base and advanced to third on catcher Bo Diaz’s throwing error. Kevin Elster drew a walk and Sid Fernandez went down on strikes. Mookie Wilson singled to score Johnson and send Elster to third. With Tim Teufel at bat, a wild pitch brought home Elster for a 2-0 Mets lead. Teufel drew a walk and Jackson got Hernandez on a force play ground ball to shortstop Barry Larkin that ended the inning.

Tracy Jones got an infield single against Fernandez to begin the bottom of the second. Jones stole second base and Dave Concepcion drew a walk. Following a double steal, Jackson was struck out and Larkin hit a sacrifice fly to score Jones. Fernandez retired Chris Sabo on a fly ball to left fielder Kevin McReynolds for the inning’s third out and Jackson pitched a perfect top of the third. A walk to Kal Daniels opened the bottom half. Daniels stole second and moved to third on an error by catcher Gary Carter. Eric Davis fouled out to Carter and a walk to Nick Esasky ensued. Diaz hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Daniels and tie the game at 2-2. Esasky stole second and Fernandez got Jones on a line drive to first baseman Hernandez for the inning’s final out.

Johnson reached on an error by Larkin to begin the top of the fourth. Elster hit a single on which right fielder Jones made an error the sent the runners to second and third base. Pinch-hitter Barry Lyons grounded out to Larkin and an intentional walk to Wilson loaded the bases. Teufel hit a force play grounder to third baseman Sabo to drive home Johnson. Hernandez doubled to score Elster for a 4-2 Mets lead. Jackson retired Darryl Strawberry on an inning-ending grounder to second baseman Concepcion. Mets’ reliever David Cone then set down the side in order in the bottom half.

Jackson and Cone each pitched scoreless ball from the fifth inning to the seventh. Cincinnati reliever Frank Williams yielded only a single to Carter in the top of the eighth and Davis drew a one-out walk in the bottom half. Davis stole second base and Cone was replaced on the mound by Mets’ reliever Roger McDowell. With Esasky at the plate, a passed ball advanced Davis to third. Esasky followed with a sacrifice fly to score Davis. Diaz slugged a home run to tie the game at 4-4. McDowell then retired Jones on a grounder to third baseman Dave Magadan that closed out the inning.

Reds’ reliever Rob Murphy got Magadan on a ground ball to first baseman Esasky to open the top of the ninth. Wilson took a called third strike and Teufel followed with a double. Hernandez singled to drive home Teufel and put the Mets ahead by a run. Murphy retired Strawberry on an inning-ending grounder to Concepcion and pinch-hitter Dave Collins lined out to shortstop Elster to lead off the bottom half. Pinch-hitter Paul O’Neill was retired on a fly ball to McReynolds. McDowell then got Larkin to ground out to Magadan and end the game. The Mets had a victory to start the series.