April 3, 1998: Mets Score in 9th to Beat Bucs

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Date: April 3, 1998
Mets starter: Rick Reed
Mets: 2
Pirates: 1
Winning pitcher: Greg McMichael
Key player(s): Rick Reed, Tim Spehr, Rey Ordonez
Key play: Spehr’s double, Ordonez’s throw in 9th, Polcovich’s error

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Friday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a four-game overlapping weekend series. The Mets scored a run in the ninth inning for a 2-1 win over Pittsburgh.

Rick Reed and the Pirates’ Esteban Loaiza each pitched scoreless ball from the first inning to the third. Jason Kendall singled to lead off the top of the fourth. Al Martin hit a single and Kevin Young followed with a force play ground ball back to Reed. Turner Ward hit a sacrifice fly that scored Kendall from third base for a 1-0 Pittsburgh lead. Reed got Jose Guillen on a force play grounder to shortstop Rey Ordonez for the inning’s third out. Loaiza then shut down the Mets in the bottom half.

Reed hurled a scoreless top of the fifth. Brian McRae hit a triple with one out in the bottom of the inning. Tim Spehr doubled to bring home McRae and tie the game at 1-1. Ordonez was retired on a pop-up to catcher Kendall. Reed grounded out to third baseman Doug Strange to end the inning and held the Bucs to a single by Ward in the top of the sixth. Loaiza then limited the Mets to a leadoff single by Edgardo Alfonzo in the bottom of the inning.

Reed gave up just a single to Strange in the top of the seventh. Carlos Baerga singled against Pirates’ reliever Elmer Dessens to begin the bottom half. McRae went down on strikes and Spehr flied out to left fielder Martin. Ordonez hit a single and pinch-hitter Matt Franco followed with an inning-ending force play ground ball to shortstop Lou Collier. New York’s Greg McMichael set down the side in order in the top of the eighth. Dessens then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Guillen hit a one-out single in the top of the ninth. Strange followed with a double on which Guillen tried to score. Left fielder Bernard Gilkey made a throw to Ordonez, who relayed to catcher Spehr for an out at home on Guillen. McMichael retired Collier on a grounder to Ordonez to close out the inning and John Olerud drew a walk against Pittsburgh reliever Chris Peters to open the bottom half. Baerga bunted into a force play and McRae walked against the Bucs’ Marc Wilkins. Spehr popped out to second baseman Tony Womack and a wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third. Ordonez reached on an error by shortstop Kevin Polcovich that brought home Baerga with the winning run. The Mets had come away with a victory.