April 29, 1997: Clark and Olerud Put Away Reds

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Date: April 29, 1997
Mets starter: Mark Clark
Mets: 3
Reds: 1
Winning pitcher: Mark Clark
Key player(s): Mark Clark, John Olerud, Butch Huskey
Key play: Olerud’s singles, Huskey’s RBI double

The Mets faced the Reds on a Tuesday night in Cincinnati. The teams played the latter half of a two-game series. Mark Clark pitched seven scoreless innings and John Olerud hit two run-scoring singles in a 3-1 Mets win.

Lance Johnson singled against Reds’ starter Mike Morgan to lead off the top of the first. Johnson advanced to second base on Edgardo Alfonzo’s sacrifice bunt and scored on a single by Olerud for a 1-0 Mets lead. Todd Hundley was retired on a fly ball to right fielder Ruben Sierra. Morgan hit Bernard Gilkey with a pitch and struck out Butch Huskey to end the inning. Clark then yielded only a double to Barry Larkin in the bottom half.

After scoreless second and third innings, Hundley got a leadoff single in the top of the fourth. Gilkey flied out to Sierra and a double by Huskey drove home Hundley with the Mets’ second run. On his own hit, Huskey went to third base via a throw. Manny Alexander followed with a ground ball on which catcher Brook Fordyce tagged out Huskey. Morgan retired Rey Ordonez on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Deion Sanders. Clark then set down the side in order in the bottom half.

Johnson and Alfonzo drew back-to-back walks against Morgan with one out in the top of the fifth. Olerud singled to bring home Johnson and increase the Mets’ lead to 3-0. On the play, Fordyce made an error that allowed Alfonzo to go to third base and Olerud to second. Hundley was walked intentionally to load the bases and Cincinnati reliever Stan Belinda got Gilkey to hit a double play grounder to shortstop Larkin for the inning’s final outs. Clark then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

The Mets failed to score after loading the bases against Reds’ reliever Hector Carrasco in the top of the sixth. Clark gave up just a walk to Willie Greene in the bottom of the inning and Carrasco retired all three batters in the top of the seventh. Fordyce singled to open the bottom half. Pinch-hitter Jeff Branson flied out to left fielder Gilkey and a single by Sanders ensued. Clark then got Hal Morris on a grounder to shortstop Ordonez for a double play that finished off the inning.

Cincinnati reliever Jeff Shaw retired the side 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. Larkin drew a walk against the Mets’ Toby Borland to lead off the bottom half. Sierra was retired on a fly ball to Gilkey. Larkin stole second base and Terry Pendleton walked. Pinch-hitter Eduardo Perez drew a walk against New York’s John Franco to load the bases. Bret Boone hit a sacrifice fly to plate Larkin with the Reds’ first run of the game. Franco then got Fordyce to hit a force play ground ball to third baseman Alfonzo and close out the inning.

Cincinnati reliever Jeff Brantley hurled a scoreless top of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Lenny Harris grounded out to Franco on a bunt attempt to begin the bottom half. Sanders was retired on a grounder to first baseman Olerud. Franco then threw a called third strike past Morris to end the game. The Mets had a victory to close out the two-game set.