August 11, 1996: Clark Leads Mets Past Marlins

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Date: August 11, 1996
Mets starter: Mark Clark
Mets: 5
Marlins: 3
Winning pitcher: Mark Clark
Key player(s): Mark Clark, Todd Hundley, Carlos Baerga
Key play: Hundley’s and Baerga’s home runs

The Mets faced the Marlins on a Sunday afternoon in Miami, Florida. The teams played the finale of a four-game series. Mark Clark pitched eight and one-third solid innings in a 5-3 Mets win over the Fish.

Lance Johnson and Alvaro Espinoza got back-to-back singles against Marlins’ starter Marc Valdes to begin the top of the first. A balk advanced the runners to second and third base and Bernard Gilkey grounded out to shortstop Edgar Renteria to drive home Johnson. Todd Hundley was retired on a fly ball to center fielder Devon White. Carlos Baerga reached on second baseman Luis Castillo’s error that allowed Espinoza to score the Mets’ second run. Alex Ochoa singled and Valdes retired Edgardo Alfonzo on a fly ball to right fielder Gary Sheffield for the third out. Clark then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Valdes gave up only a single to Rey Ordonez in the top of the second. Leading off the bottom of the inning, White hit a home run to reduce the Mets’ lead to 2-1. Greg Colbrunn singled and Alex Arias flied out to center fielder Johnson. Rob Natal followed with a double play ground ball to third baseman Espinoza to end the inning and Valdes yielded just a single to Baerga in the top of the third. Clark then set down all three Florida batters in the bottom half.

After scoreless fourth and fifth innings, Hundley and Baerga hit consecutive homers to begin the top of the sixth. Ochoa grounded out to third baseman Arias and a fly ball by Alfonzo was caught by Sheffield. Ordonez was retired on a line drive to Renteria, who singled with two outs in the bottom half. Renteria advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Clark then got Sheffield to fly out to center fielder Johnson and finish off the inning.

Florida reliever Chris Hammond retired the side in order in the top of the seventh. Clark pitched a perfect bottom half and Hundley hit a one-out double in the top of the eighth. Hundley moved to third base on Baerga’s ground out to first baseman Colbrunn and scored on a single by Ochoa for a 5-1 Mets lead. Ochoa went around to third on Hammond’s errant pickoff throw and Alfonzo flied out to Sheffield to end the inning. Clark then held the Fish to a single by pinch-hitter Joe Orsulak in the bottom half.

Marlins’ reliever Miguel Batista gave up only a single to Johnson in the top of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Kurt Abbott tripled against Clark to lead off the bottom of the inning. Renteria was called out on strikes and Sheffield drew a walk. Mets’ reliever John Franco walked Jeff Conine to load the bases and White singled to drive home Abbott. Colbrunn hit a force play grounder to first baseman Roberto Petagine to bring home Sheffield with the third Florida run. Franco then threw a called third strike past Arias for the game’s final out. The Mets had a victory to close out the series.