August 5, 1997: Mets Defeat Cardinals in 10

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Date: August 5, 1997
Mets starter: Pete Harnisch
Mets: 5
Cardinals: 4
Winning pitcher: Cory Lidle
Key player(s): Matt Franco, Edgardo Alfonzo, Lance Johnson
Key play: Franco’s single, Alfonzo’s sacrifice fly

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the latter half of a two-game series. The Mets scored single runs in the ninth and tenth innings for a 5-4 win over St. Louis.

Mets’ starter Pete Harnisch pitched a perfect top of the first inning. Leading off the bottom half, Lance Johnson doubled against the Cards’ Matt Morris. Johnson advanced to third base on Bernard Gilkey’s ground out to second baseman Delino DeShields. A sacrifice fly by John Olerud scored Johnson with the first run of the game. Morris retired Todd Hundley on an inning-ending grounder to shortstop Royce Clayton. Harnisch then set down the Redbirds in order in the top of the second.

Edgardo Alfonzo drew a walk to begin the bottom of the second inning. A passed ball by catcher Mike DiFelice moved Alfonzo to second base and Butch Huskey went down on strikes. Luis Lopez singled to drive home Alfonzo and went to second on an error by center fielder Willie McGee. Rey Ordonez and Harnisch were retired on ground balls to DeShields to close out the inning. Pete held the Cardinals to a single by DiFelice in the top of the third. Morris then limited the Mets to a leadoff single by Johnson in a scoreless bottom half.

Harnisch yielded only a double to McGee in the top of the fourth inning. To begin the bottom half, Hundley drew a walk and went to second base on Alfonzo’s ground out to DeShields. Huskey hit a double to bring home Hundley and extend the Mets’ lead to 3-0. Morris then fanned Lopez and got Ordonez on a fly ball to right fielder John Mabry for the inning’s final out.

DiFelice drew a one-out walk in the top of the fifth. Clayton doubled and Morris was struck out. DeShields hit a single to drive home DiFelice and Clayton for the Cards’ first two runs of the game. Ron Gant was retired on a fly ball to center fielder Johnson for the third out and Morris set down the Mets 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning. Harnisch hurled a scoreless top of the sixth. Morris then retired all three New York batters on infield grounders in the bottom half.

With two outs in the top of the seventh inning, Clayton singled against Mets’ reliever Juan Acevedo. An ensuing double by Morris scored Clayton and tied the game. Acevedo got DeShields on a fly ball to Johnson that ended the inning and Morris retired the Mets in order again in the bottom half. For New York, reliever Greg McMichael set down all three St. Louis hitters in the top of the eighth. Morris then followed up with his fourth straight perfect inning.

To open the top of the ninth, Gary Gaetti singled and advanced to second base on Mabry’s sacrifice bunt. DiFelice hit a single to drive home Gaetti for a 4-3 St. Louis lead. Clayton followed with a force play ground ball to third baseman Alfonzo. In an attempt for a double play, first baseman Olerud made an error that allowed Clayton to reach base. After Clayton stole second, McMichael struck out Morris to end the inning.

With one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Morris issued a walk to Hundley that ended his string of fifteen consecutive batters retired. Redbirds’ reliever Dennis Eckersley walked Alfonzo and got Huskey to pop out to Clayton. With the Mets only an out away from defeat, pinch-hitter Matt Franco hit a single that plated pinch-runner Alex Ochoa with the tying run. Ordonez drew a walk to load the bases. Tony Fossas then came in to pitch for the Cardinals and retired Jason Hardtke on a fly ball to Mabry that finished off the inning and sent the game onward.

Mets’ relievers John Franco and Cory Lidle combined to shut down the Cards in the top of the 10th. Johnson led off the bottom half with a single to left field. Gilkey reached on an error by DiFelice and an ensuing bunt single by Olerud loaded the bases. Fossas was replaced on the mound by St. Louis reliever John Frascatore, who got Ochoa to hit a ground ball on which Clayton threw to DiFelice for an out at home on Johnson. Alfonzo then hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Gilkey and end the game. The Mets had an extra-inning victory.