August 23, 1997: Four Home Runs Bury Padres

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Date: August 23, 1997
Mets starter: Dave Mlicki
Mets: 9
Padres: 5
Winning pitcher: Dave Mlicki
Key player(s): Butch Huskey, Edgardo Alfonzo, Todd Hundley, Brian McRae
Key play: Huskey’s RBI double, Mets’ four homers

The Mets faced the Padres on a Saturday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played in front of 34,823 fans on hand. The Mets slugged four home runs in a 9-5 win over San Diego.

Dave Mlicki and the Padres’ Paul Menhart each pitched two scoreless innings to start the game. With two outs in the top of the third, Steve Finley homered for a 1-0 San Diego lead. Tony Gwynn hit a double and Mlicki struck out Ken Caminiti to end the inning. Edgardo Alfonzo singled with one out in the bottom half. Menhart then got John Olerud on a ground ball to first baseman Mark Sweeney for an inning-ending double play.

Mlicki shut down the Padres in the top of the fourth. Carlos Baerga hit a one-out double in the bottom half. Bernard Gilkey went down on strikes and Butch Huskey doubled to drive home Baerga. Rey Ordonez grounded out to third baseman Caminiti to finish off the inning and Finley singled with one out in the top of the fifth. Gwynn followed with a single that advanced Finley to third base. Caminiti hit a sacrifice fly to score Finley and put the Padres ahead, 2-1. Mlicki then retired Sweeney on a fly ball to center fielder Brian McRae for the inning’s final out.

Mlicki walked to open the bottom of the fifth. McRae was struck out and Alfonzo homered for a 3-2 Mets lead. Olerud grounded out to shortstop Chris Gomez and a single by Todd Hundley ensued. Hundley was caught stealing on catcher John Flaherty’s throw to Gomez for the third out of the inning and Mlicki hurled a perfect top of the sixth. With two outs in the bottom half, Huskey homered for the fourth New York run of the game. Menhart then got Ordonez to pop out to second baseman Quilvio Veras and end the inning.

Pinch-hitter Craig Shipley hit a home run against Mlicki to lead off the top of the seventh. Veras and Finley were retired on infield ground balls and a single by Gwynn followed. Caminiti singled off Mets’ reliever Yorkis Perez. Greg McMichael came in to pitch for New York and fanned pinch-hitter Archi Cianfrocco to close out the inning. With one out in the bottom half, McRae and Alfonzo got back-to-back singles against San Diego reliever Sean Bergman. Olerud drew a walk to load the bases and Hundley hit a grand slam for an 8-3 Mets lead. Baerga lined out to first baseman Shipley and a single by McMichael ensued. Bergman then struck out Huskey to finish off the inning.

Greg Vaughn reached on an error by second baseman Baerga to begin the top of the eighth. Gomez hit a double and Flaherty grounded out to third baseman Alfonzo. Shipley went down on strikes and Veras walked to load the bases. McMichael retired Finley on a pop-up to Alfonzo that ended the inning. With two outs and the bases empty in the bottom half, McRae hit the Mets’ fourth homer of the game. Bergman then got Alfonzo to ground out to Veras and finish off the inning.

Gwynn drew a walk against Mets’ reliever Turk Wendell to lead off the top of the ninth. Caminiti followed with a homer for the Padres’ fourth and fifth runs. Pinch-hitter Chris Jones doubled and Vaughn fouled out to Alfonzo. Jones went to third base after Gomez’s fly out to left fielder Huskey and a walk to Flaherty ensued. New York’s John Franco then got Shipley to hit a force play ground ball to Alfonzo for the game’s final out. The Mets had a victory with a sufficient amount of slugging.