April 30, 1999: Four Runs in 1st Slay Giants

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Date: April 30, 1999
Mets starter: Allen Watson
Mets: 7
Giants: 2
Winning pitcher: Allen Watson
Key player(s): Allen Watson, Robin Ventura, Edgardo Alfonzo, Turk Wendell
Key play: Ventura’s double and homer

The Mets faced the Giants on a Friday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Four runs in the first inning lifted the Mets to a 7-2 win over San Francisco.

Mets’ starter Allen Watson shut down the Giants in the top of the first. Rickey Henderson drew a walk against San Francisco’s Shawn Estes to lead off the bottom half. Edgardo Alfonzo singled to advance Henderson to third base and John Olerud went down on strikes. A balk brought home Henderson and moved Alfonzo to second. Mike Piazza walked and went to third on Robin Ventura’s double that scored Alfonzo. Mike Kinkade drew a walk to load the bases and a wild pitch plated Piazza. A walk to Brian McRae reloaded the bases and Rey Ordonez hit a force play ground ball to third baseman Charlie Hayes to drive home Ventura for a 4-0 Mets lead. Another wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third. Estes then struck out Watson to end the inning.

Watson and Estes each pitched scoreless ball from the second inning to the fourth. Ramon Martinez got a leadoff single in the top of the fifth. Estes reached on catcher Piazza’s error of a sacrifice bunt and Stan Javier hit a force play grounder to second baseman Alfonzo. F. P. Santangelo singled to score Martinez and stole second as Ellis Burks was struck out. Watson threw a called third strike past Jeff Kent to close out the inning and Ventura slugged a solo homer with one out in the bottom half. Kinkade went down on strikes and consecutive singles by McRae and Ordonez followed. With pinch-hitter Jermaine Allensworth at bat, a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. Estes then got Allensworth on a fly ball to center fielder Santangelo for the inning’s final out.

With one out in the top of the sixth, Scott Servais hit a solo home run against Mets’ reliever Dennis Cook. J. T. Snow singled and Martinez grounded to shortstop Ordonez for an inning-ending double play. The Giants’ Felix Rodriguez yielded just a single to Alfonzo in the bottom half and Santangelo drew a two-out walk against Cook in the top of the seventh. Burks walked and New York’s Turk Wendell fanned Kent to end the inning. Ventura and Kinkade got back-to-back singles against San Francisco reliever Julian Tavares to begin the bottom half. McRae popped out to second baseman Kent and a fly ball by Ordonez was caught by Santangelo. Tavares then got Wendell to ground out to Kent and finish off the inning.

Wendell surrendered just a walk to Snow in the top of the eighth. Alfonzo singled with one out in the bottom half. A double by Olerud drove home Alfonzo and increased the Mets’ lead to 6-2. Olerud moved to third base on Piazza’s single and scored the seventh New York run on Ventura’s sacrifice fly. Trying to advance on the play, Piazza was out via a relay throw by Hayes to Kent for a double play that ended the inning.

Wendell threw a called third strike past pinch-hitter Armando Rios to begin the top of the ninth. Javier grounded out to third baseman Ventura and a single by Santangelo ensued. Turk then retired Burks on a fly ball to center fielder McRae for the final out of the game. The Mets had a series-opening victory.