July 12, 1990: Mets Beat Reds in DH Opener

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Date: July 12, 1990
Mets starter: Dwight Gooden
Mets: 10
Reds: 3
Winning pitcher: Dwight Gooden
Key player(s): Howard Johnson, Darryl Strawberry, Daryl Boston, Todd Hundley,
Key play: Boston’s home run, Hundley’s double, Johnson’s single

The Mets faced the Reds in a doubleheader on a Thursday evening in Cincinnati. The teams played a three-hour and twenty-three-minute opener of the twinbill at Riverfront Stadium. The Mets erupted for seven runs in the last two innings for a 10-3 win.

Howard Johnson hit a home run against Reds’ starter Rick Mahler to lead off the top of the first. Dave Magadan flied out to center fielder Eric Davis and a pop-up by Gregg Jefferies was caught by shortstop Barry Larkin. Darryl Strawberry homered for the Mets’ second run and Kevin McReynolds got an infield single. Mahler retired Daryl Boston on a foul pop-up to third baseman Chris Sabo for the third out. Mets’ starter Dwight Gooden then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Mahler set down the side in order in the top of the second. Billy Hatcher and Ron Oester got back-to-back singles with one out in the bottom of the inning. Gooden retired both Joe Oliver and Mahler on fly balls to right fielder Strawberry for the inning’s final outs and the Mets failed to score after loading the bases in the top of the third. A double by Sabo began the bottom half. Sabo advanced to third base after Larkin’s fly out to center fielder Boston and came home on a sacrifice fly by Hal Morris. Gooden then got Davis to ground out to shortstop Kevin Elster and finish off the inning.

Mahler gave up only a single to Elster in the top of the fourth. Paul O’Neill doubled to lead off the bottom half. Hatcher grounded out to third baseman Johnson and a single by Oester drove home O’Neill to tie the game at 2-2. Gooden fanned Mahler to close out the inning and Magadan singled to open the top of the fifth. Jefferies hit a single on which Magadan was out at third base via a throw by right fielder O’Neill to Sabo. Strawberry hit a force play ground ball to first baseman Morris and stole second. Mahler got McReynolds to pop out to Morris and end the inning. Gooden then surrendered only a walk to Sabo in the bottom half.

Leading off the top of the sixth, Boston slugged a home run to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. Mahler retired the next three batters and Davis singled to begin the bottom of the inning. O’Neill went down on strikes. With Hatcher at bat, Davis stole second base and moved to third on an error by catcher Todd Hundley. Hatcher hit a single to score Davis (retying the game) and stole second. Oester was retired on a fly ball to left fielder McReynolds. Gooden then struck out Oliver to end the inning.

Cincinnati reliever Norm Charlton yielded only a single to Jefferies in the top of the seventh. Gooden shut down the Reds in the bottom half and McReynolds drew a walk to open the top of the eighth. Boston fouled out to catcher Oliver on a bunt attempt and Charlton was replaced by Cincinnati’s Rob Dibble. McReynolds stole second base and Elster drew a walk. Hundley hit a double score McReynolds (Todd's first major league RBI) and put the Mets back in front by a run. Pinch-hitter Tom O'Malley walked to load the bases and advanced to third base on Johnson’s single that plated both Elster and Hundley. Magadan followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home O’Malley and increase the New York lead to 7-3. With Reds’ reliever Tim Layana on the mound, Johnson was caught stealing on Oliver’s throw to Larkin for the inning’s third out. Mets’ reliever Bob Ojeda then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Strawberry drew a one-out walk in the top of the ninth. McReynolds singled and Boston hit a force play ground ball to first baseman Todd Benzinger. Boston stole second base and Strawberry came home on second baseman Mariano Duncan’s error. Elster followed with a homer to extend the Mets’ lead to seven runs. Layana then retired Hundley on a grounder to Larkin to close out the inning.

Sabo fouled out to Hundley to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Larkin was retired on a fly ball to Boston. Ojeda then struck out pinch-hitter Glenn Braggs to end the game. The Mets had a victory to start the doubleheader.