April 30, 1997: Five-Run Burst Beats Padres

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Date: April 30, 1997
Mets starter: Bobby Jones
Mets: 6
Padres: 2
Winning pitcher: Bobby Jones
Key player(s): Butch Huskey, Carlos Baerga, Bernard Gilkey, Edgardo Alfonzo
Key play: Huskey’s sacrifice fly, Gilkey’s and Alfonzo’s doubles

The Mets faced the Padres on a Wednesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a two-game series. The Mets scored five runs in the sixth and eighth innings for a 6-2 win over San Diego.

Mets’ starter Bobby Jones gave up only a single to Chris Gomez in the top of the first. The Padres’ Sterling Hitchcock pitched a perfect bottom half and Greg Vaughn singled to lead off the top of the second. Derrek Lee drew a walk and John Flaherty popped out to catcher Todd Hundley. Chris Jones walked to load the bases and Hitchcock went down on strikes. Quilvio Veras hit a single to drive home Vaughn and Lee for a 2-0 San Diego lead. Bobby Jones fanned Gomez for the inning’s third out. Hitchcock then retired the side in order in the bottom half.

Bobby Jones set down all three batters in the top of the third. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Rey Ordonez singled and stole second base. Bobby Jones was called out on strikes and Lance Johnson hit a double to drive home Ordonez, cutting the Padres’ lead to 2-1. Manny Alexander was struck out to end the inning and Bobby Jones yielded just a single to Flaherty in the top of the fourth. Hitchcock then surrendered only a walk to Bernard Gilkey in the bottom half.

After a scoreless fifth, Ken Caminiti got a one-out single in the top of the sixth. Vaughn hit a force play ground ball to third baseman Huskey, whose ensuing error allowed Lee to reach base. Flaherty followed with a force play grounder to Huskey for the final out of the inning and consecutive singles by Johnson and Carlos Baerga opened the bottom half. John Olerud hit a single to load the bases and Gilkey popped out to first baseman Lee. Hundley drew a walk to force home Johnson with the tying run. Huskey hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Baerga and give the Mets a 3-2 lead. On the play, Olerud got caught in a rundown and was tagged out by shortstop Gomez to end the inning.

Bobby Jones held the Padres to a single by Chris Jones in the top of the seventh. Hitchcock yielded just a single to Ordonez in the bottom half and Mets’ reliever Greg McMichael gave up only a double to Gomez in the top of the eighth. Baerga doubled against Hitchcock to lead off the bottom of the inning. Olerud grounded out to Lee to advance Baerga to third base. Gilkey hit a double against San Diego’s Marc Kroon to bring home Baerga for a 4-2 Mets lead. Hundley drew a walk and came around to score with Gilkey on a double by Edgardo Alfonzo. The Padres’ Tim Scott issued a walk to Alex Ochoa and got Ordonez to pop out to second baseman Veras. Pinch-hitter Matt Franco then grounded back to Scott for the third out of the inning.

Lee drew a walk against Mets’ reliever Toby Borland to begin the top of the ninth. Flaherty flied out to left fielder Gilkey and a passed ball by Hundley sent Lee to second base. Chris Jones walked and Borland was replaced on the mound by New York’s John Franco. Pinch-hitter Don Slaught drew a walk that loaded the bases. John Franco then got Veras to hit a ground ball to third baseman Alfonzo for a game-ending double play. The Mets had a victory to start the two-game set.