August 14, 1996: Mets Hold Off Cubs Rally
|Date: August 14, 1996|
|Mets starter: Bobby Jones|
|Winning pitcher: Bobby Jones|
|Key player(s): Lance Johnson, Carlos Baerga, John Franco|
|Key play: Johnson’s triple, Baerga’s double, McRae’s double play|
The Mets faced the Cubs on a Wednesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. The Mets held off a Chicago comeback attempt and came away with an 8-5 win.
Mets’ starter Bobby Jones pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. To begin the bottom half, Lance Johnson singled and advanced to third base on a single by Alvaro Espinoza. Bernard Gilkey hit a single to score Johnson and a walk to Todd Hundley loaded the bases. Carlos Baerga was hit by a pitch to force home Espinoza. Alex Ochoa followed with a force play ground ball to third baseman Dave Magadan that plated Gilkey with the Mets’ third run and a walk to Edgardo Alfonzo reloaded the bases. Rey Ordonez popped out to second baseman Ryne Sandberg. Cubs’ starter Jim Bullinger then got Jones on a force play grounder to shortstop Jose Hernandez to finish off the inning.
After a scoreless second, Jones yielded only a single to Hernandez in the top of the third. Baerga singled to lead off the bottom half. Ochoa went down on strikes and Alfonzo hit a double to left field. Ordonez was walked intentionally to load the bases and Jones put down a sacrifice bunt to bring home Baerga. Johnson tripled to score Alfonzo and Ordonez for a 6-0 Mets lead and Chicago reliever Randy Myers issued a walk to Espinoza. Myers fanned Gilkey for the third out and Mark Grace hit a leadoff triple in the top of the fourth. Jones followed up with three consecutive strikeouts to end the inning. Myers then hurled a scoreless bottom half.
Jones and the Cubs’ Kent Bottenfield each pitched a perfect fifth. Bobby yielded just a single to Brian McRae in the top of the sixth and Espinoza drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the inning. Gilkey was hit by a pitch and Hundley walked to load the bases. Baerga hit a double to drive home Espinoza and Gilkey, increasing the Mets’ lead to eight runs. Bottenfield retired Ochoa on a ground ball to Magadan and got Alfonzo on an inning-ending pop-up to Hernandez. Jones shut down the Cubs once again in the top of the seventh. Chicago reliever Terry Adams then set down the side in order in the bottom half.
McRae and Magadan got back-to-back singles with one out in the top of the eighth inning. Grace slugged a three-run homer and Mets’ reliever Paul Byrd retired Sammy Sosa on a pop-up to second baseman Alfonzo. Luis Gonzalez homered to cut the Mets’ lead to 8-4 and a walk to Tyler Houston ensued. Byrd retired pinch-hitter Scott Bullett on a grounder to Alfonzo to close out the inning. Cubs’ reliever Larry Casian then pitched a scoreless bottom half.
Hernandez doubled to open the top of the ninth. Mike Hubbard followed with a single that scored Hernandez with the fifth Chicago run. John Franco came in to pitch for the Mets and got McRae to hit a ground ball to shortstop Ordonez for a double play. Franco then retired pinch-hitter Leo Gomez on a line drive to right fielder Ochoa to end the game. The Mets had a victory despite a late Cubs’ rally effort.