August 31, 1996: Mets End Eight-Game Skid

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Date: August 31, 1996
Mets starter: Robert Person
Mets: 7
Giants: 2
Winning pitcher: Robert Person
Key player(s): Roberto Petagine, Alvaro Espinoza, Rey Ordonez
Key play: Ordonez’s two doubles, Petagine’s home run, Espinoza’s home run

The Mets faced the Giants on a Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium. After losing their previous eight games, the Mets looked to get back on the winning track. The team ended its skid with a 7-2 victory over San Francisco.

Robert Person and the Giants’ Osvaldo Fernandez each started the game with two scoreless innings pitched. Person shut down San Francisco in the top of the third and a double by Rey Ordonez opened the bottom half. Ordonez moved to third base on Person’s sacrifice bunt and scored on an ensuing single by Lance Johnson. Fernandez retired Edgardo Alfonzo on a fly ball to right fielder Glenallen Hill and gave up a single to Bernard Gilkey. Todd Hundley then went down on strikes to end the inning.

Barry Bonds doubled to lead off the top of the fourth. Rick Wilkins grounded out to second baseman Alfonzo (moving Bonds to third) and a walk to David McCarty followed. Rich Aurelia hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Bonds and tie the game. Jay Canizaro singled and Fernandez grounded out to shortstop Ordonez to end the inning. The Mets were held without a run in the bottom half. Person then set down three straight San Francisco batters after a walk to Marvin Benard in the top of the fifth.

Ordonez hit a double off Giants’ reliever Tim Scott to begin the bottom of the fifth inning. Rey advanced to third on Person’s sacrifice bunt and scored to put the Mets ahead on Johnson’s ground out to second baseman Canizaro. Scott walked Alfonzo and retired Gilkey on an inning-ending ground ball to Canizaro. The Giants had two runners on base with two outs in the top of the sixth. Mets’ reliever Dave Mlicki then came in to pitch and threw a called third strike past pinch-hitter Trenidad Hubbard to close out the inning.

San Francisco’s Doug Creek walked Carl Everett with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Roberto Petagine hit a two-run homer to extend the Mets’ lead to 4-1. Alvaro Espinoza followed with a homer for the fifth New York run. Mark Dewey came in to pitch for the Giants and threw out Ordonez on a ground ball back to the mound. Dewey fanned Mlicki for the third out of the inning. Dave then hurled a scoreless top of the seventh.

Johnson started the bottom of the seventh inning with a single to center field. Dewey retired Alfonzo and Gilkey on fly balls to center fielder Benard and yielded a double to Hundley that brought home Johnson. San Francisco reliever Jim Poole walked Everett intentionally and got Petagine on a grounder to Canizaro to end the inning. Wilkins homered and McCarty singled to begin the top of the eighth. Aurelia drew a walk and Mets’ reliever Doug Henry threw a called third strike past Canizaro. Henry then set down the next two batters to finish off the inning.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Alex Ochoa singled off Giants’ reliever Jose Bautista. Johnson got an infield single and Alfonzo singled to drive home Ochoa with the Mets’ seventh run. Henry flied out to Benard for the final out of the inning. To lead off the top of the ninth, Bill Mueller flied out to left fielder Andy Tomberlin. Hill was retired on a ground ball to Ordonez. Henry then got Bonds on a called third strike to end the game. The Mets had a win after eight straight defeats.