April 9, 1999: Piazza and Ventura Slug Mets Past Expos

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Date: April 9, 1999
Mets starter: Masato Yoshii
Mets: 10
Expos: 3
Winning pitcher: Masato Yoshii
Key player(s): Mike Piazza, Robin Ventura
Key play: Piazza’s and Ventura’s home runs, Piazza’s two-run single

The Mets faced the Expos on a Friday night in Montreal. The teams played the second of four games in a series at Olympic Stadium. Mike Piazza and Robin Ventura hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning to lift the Mets to a 10-3 win.

Rickey Henderson drew a walk against Expos’ starter Mike Thurman to lead off the top of the first. With Edgardo Alfonzo at bat, Henderson was caught stealing second base on catcher Michael Barrett’s throw to shortstop Orlando Cabrera. Alfonzo walked and John Olerud followed with another base on balls. Piazza slugged a homer for a three-run Mets lead. Ventura also connected for a home run to extend the New York lead to 4-0. Thurman retired Brian McRae and Jermaine Allensworth on infield ground balls for the inning’s final outs. Mets’ starter Masato Yoshii then set down the side on three consecutive infield grounders in the bottom half.

Thurman pitched a scoreless top of the second. Vladimir Guerrero hit a double to lead off the bottom of the inning. Brad Fullmer grounded out to second baseman Alfonzo and a two-run homer by Barrett ensued. Shane Andrews flied out to right fielder Allensworth and a pop-up by Manny Martinez was caught by first baseman Olerud to end the inning. Thurman retired the Mets in order in the top of the third. Yoshii then hurled a perfect bottom half.

Thurman shut down the Mets in the top of the fourth. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Vladimir Guerrero homered to reduce the Mets’ lead to 4-3. Fullmer singled and Barrett hit a ground ball to shortstop Rey Ordonez for an inning-ending double play. Henderson drew a one-out walk against Thurman in the top of the fifth. Alfonzo hit a single and Olerud walked to load the bases. Piazza singled against Montreal reliever J. D. Smart to drive home Henderson and Alfonzo. On the play, Olerud moved to third base via an error by right fielder Vladimir Guerrero. Ventura grounded out to second baseman Wilton Guerrero to plate Olerud and increase the Mets’ lead to 7-3. McRae drew a walk and Smart retired Allensworth on an inning-ending ground ball to third baseman Andrews. Yoshii then limited the Expos to a walk to Andrews in the bottom half.

Yoshii and Montreal’s Bobby Ayala each pitched scoreless sixth and seventh innings. Ordonez drew a walk against Expos’ reliever Mike Maddux to open the top of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Roger Cedeno was struck out and Henderson walked. Alfonzo hit a single to score Ordonez for an 8-3 Mets lead. Maddux got Olerud on a ground ball to Wilton Guerrero for a double play that closed out the inning. Mets’ reliever Dennis Cook then retired the side in order in the bottom half.

Pinch-hitter Todd Pratt singled against Montreal reliever Anthony Telford to begin the top of the ninth. Ventura hit a single and McRae’s ground out to shortstop Mike Mordecai advanced the runners to second and third base. Allensworth got an infield single to score Pratt and send Ventura to third. Ordonez followed with a force play ground ball to Mordecai that brought home Ventura with the Mets’ tenth run. Telford then retired Cedeno on a grounder to first baseman Fullmer to finish off the inning.

Mets’ reliever John Franco retired Vladimir Guerrero on a ground ball to Alfonzo to open the bottom of the ninth. Fullmer went down on strikes. Franco then got Darron Cox to ground out to Alfonzo and end the game. The Mets had a solid victory.