August 3, 1996: Four-Run 3rd Plucks Redbirds
|Date: August 3, 1996|
|Mets starter: Pete Harnisch|
|Winning pitcher: Pete Harnisch|
|Key player(s): Butch Huskey, Todd Hundley, John Franco|
|Key play: Hundley’s home run, Huskey’s single|
The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Saturday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the second of three games in a weekend series. The Mets scored four runs in the third inning and came away with a 5-4 win over St. Louis.
Following a scoreless first inning, Mets’ starter Pete Harnisch set down the side in order in the top of the second. Todd Hundley hit a home run against the Cards’ Alan Benes to lead off the bottom half. Butch Huskey drew a walk and Alex Ochoa popped out to shortstop Ozzie Smith. Edgardo Alfonzo walked and Rey Ordonez was retired on a ground ball to catcher Danny Sheaffer. Harnisch then grounded back to Benes for the third out of the inning.
Harnisch hurled a perfect top of the third. Lance Johnson doubled to begin the bottom half. Alvaro Espinoza drew a walk and Bernard Gilkey followed with a force play grounder to first baseman Willie McGee. Hundley walked to load the bases and advanced to third on Huskey’s single that drove home Johnson and Gilkey. Todd came home on Ochoa’s ground out to second baseman Mike Gallego. Alfonzo hit a single to score Huskey for the Mets’ fourth run of the inning and a 5-0 lead. On his own hit, Edgardo got caught in a rundown and was tagged by Smith for the inning’s final out.
Ray Lankford singled to open the top of the fourth. Lankford stole second base and Ron Gant popped out to first baseman Huskey. Brian Jordan hit a single to bring home Lankford and a fly ball by McGee was caught by left fielder Gilkey. Gary Gaetti slugged a two-run homer to reduce the Mets’ lead to 5-3. Harnisch threw a called third strike past Sheaffer to close out the inning. Benes then shut down the Mets in the bottom half.
Harnisch and St. Louis reliever Mark Petkovsek each pitched scoreless and hitless ball in the fifth and sixth innings. Pete surrendered only a walk to Gallego in the top of the seventh and the Redbirds’ T. J. Mathews retired the side in order in the bottom half. Smith singled against Harnisch to begin the top of the eighth. Lankford flied out to Gilkey and a walk to Gant ensued. Mets’ reliever Jerry DiPoto struck out Jordan and walked McGee to load the bases. Gaetti drew a walk to force home Smith with the Cardinals’ fourth run of the game. New York’s John Franco got Sheaffer to ground out to second baseman Alfonzo and end the inning. Mathews then set down the Mets 1-2-3 in the bottom half.
Gallego hit a leadoff single in the top of the ninth. Luis Alicea’s sacrifice bunt moved Gallego to second base and Smith lined out to Alfonzo. Franco threw a called third strike past Lankford for the final out of the game. The Mets had a victory that dropped the Redbirds out of first place in the National League Central Division.