August 22, 1998: Piazza's Slam Puts Bite on Snakes

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Date: August 22, 1998
Mets starter: Bobby Jones
Mets: 9
Diamondbacks: 4
Winning pitcher: Bobby Jones
Key player(s): Mike Piazza, Tony Phillips, Rey Ordonez
Key play: Piazza’s grand slam

The Mets faced the Diamondbacks on a Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played in front of 42,654 fans on hand. Mike Piazza hit a grand slam to propel the Mets to a 9-4 win over Arizona.

Mets’ starter Bobby Jones pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. Tony Phillips and Edgardo Alfonzo got back-to-back walks against the Snakes’ Andy Benes to begin the bottom half. Benes recorded outs on each of the next three batters and Matt Williams singled to open the top of the second. David Dellucci hit a force play grounder back to Jones and a single by Jay Bell ensued. Karim Garcia grounded out to first baseman John Olerud and an intentional walk to Kelly Stinnett loaded the bases. Benes doubled to drive home Dellucci and Bell. Andy Fox followed with a single that scored Stinnett and Benes for a 4-0 D’Backs lead. Fox stole second base and Bernard Gilkey grounded back to Jones for the inning’s final out.

Todd Hundley drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the second. Carlos Baerga singled and Rey Ordonez walked to load the bases. Jones went down on strikes and Phillips hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Hundley. Edgardo Alfonzo hit a single to score Baerga and a wild pitch put Mets runners on second and third base. Olerud drew a walk to load the bases. Piazza followed with a grand slam for 6-4 New York lead. Benes then got Brian McRae to ground out to first baseman Travis Lee and end the inning.

After scoreless third and fourth innings, Jones gave up only a single to Gilkey in the top of the fifth. Olerud drew a leadoff walk against Benes in the bottom half. Piazza singled and moved to third base on McRae’s double that scored Olerud. Arizona reliever Felix Rodriguez struck out Hundley and walked Baerga intentionally to load the bases. Ordonez hit a force play ground ball to second baseman Fox that plated Piazza, increasing the Mets’ lead to 8-4. Jones drew a walk that reloaded the bases. Rodriguez then retired Phillips on a fly ball to center fielder Dellucci to close out the inning.

Jones shut down the D’Backs in the top of the sixth. Rodriguez hurled a perfect bottom half and Bobby retired all three Arizona hitters in the top of the seventh. Snakes’ reliever Chris Michalak (in his major league debut) set down the side 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning. For New York, reliever Dennis Cook pitched a perfect top of the eighth. Ordonez doubled to lead off the bottom half. Rey came around to score the Mets’ ninth run on Jermaine Allensworth’s and Phillips’ consecutive ground outs to third baseman Williams. Michalak then got Alfonzo to fly out to left fielder Gilkey and finish off the inning.

Bell drew a walk to open the top of the ninth. Cook followed up with strikeouts of both pinch-hitter Yamil Benitez and Stinnett. Dennis then retired pinch-hitter Tony Batista on a grounder to Olerud for the final out of the game. The Mets had a solid victory.