August 20, 1996: Fourteen Strikeouts and a Four-Run 8th

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Date: August 20, 1996
Mets starter: Bobby Jones
Mets: 7
Giants: 3
Winning pitcher: Bobby Jones
Key player(s): Bobby Jones, Todd Hundley, Carl Everett
Key play: Hundley’s home run, Everett’s single

The Mets faced the Giants on a Tuesday afternoon in San Francisco. In the game at Candlestick Park, a total of fourteen strikeouts were compiled by Mets pitchers. Still, it took a four-run eighth inning to give the Mets a 7-3 win.

Lance Johnson doubled against Giants’ starter Osvaldo Fernandez to lead off the top of the first. A sacrifice bunt by Alvaro Espinoza moved Johnson to third base and Bernard Gilkey popped out to second baseman Steve Scarsone. Todd Hundley followed with a home run for a 2-0 Mets lead. Fernandez retired Carlos Baerga on an inning-ending ground ball to first baseman Desi Wilson. Mets’ starter Bobby Jones then struck out the side in order in the bottom half.

With two outs in the top of the second, Rey Ordonez and Jones got back-to-back singles. An ensuing single by Johnson scored Ordonez and sent Jones to third base. Fernandez got Espinoza on a fly ball to left fielder Barry Bonds for the third out of the inning and Jones fanned Bonds to begin the bottom half. Rick Wilkins homered for the Giants’ first run of the game and Wilson singled to left field. Jones then retired Rich Aurelia and Scarsone on consecutive pop-ups to first baseman Baerga to close out the inning.

Fernandez shut down the Mets in the top of the third. Jones recorded strikeouts of Fernandez and Marvin Benard to open the bottom of the inning. Bill Mueller drew a walk and Glenallen Hill hit a home run to tie the game at 3-3. Bonds popped out to third baseman Espinoza to end the inning. Fernandez and Jones then pitched scoreless ball from the fourth to the seventh, with Bobby striking out four more San Francisco batters for a game total of ten.

Alex Ochoa drew a walk to lead off the top of the eighth inning. Edgardo Alfonzo’s sacrifice bunt advanced Ochoa to second base and pinch-hitter Chris Jones was given an intentional walk by Giants’ reliever Doug Creek. Carl Everett followed with a pinch-hit single on which Ochoa was initially out at home via a throw by Bonds to catcher Wilkins. However, third baseman Mueller was called for interfering with Ochoa, who was allowed to score the go-ahead run. On Johnson’s ensuing infield single, first baseman Dave McCarty made an error that allowed Jones to come home and Everett to go to third. Against San Francisco’s Jose Bautista, Espinoza reached on a fielder’s choice grounder that brought home Everett and advanced Johnson to third. Lance scored the Mets’ seventh run on a sacrifice fly by Bernard Gilkey and a walk to Hundley followed. Bautista retired Baerga on a pop-up to shortstop Aurelia to end the inning. Mets’ reliever Doug Henry then struck out two batters in pitching a perfect bottom half.

Bautista hurled a scoreless top of the ninth inning. Mueller drew a walk to lead off the bottom half. Henry fanned Hill and issued a walk to Bonds. John Franco came in to pitch and got pinch-hitter Kim Batiste for the Mets’ fourteenth strikeout of the game. Franco then got pinch-hitter Steve Decker to hit a force play ground ball to shortstop Tim Bogar for the game’s final out. The Mets had a victory with tough pitching and an eighth-inning outburst.