July 12, 1998: Tam's First Major League Win

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Date: July 12, 1998
Mets starter: Hideo Nomo
Mets: 5
Expos: 2
Winning pitcher: Jeff Tam
Key player(s): Brian McRae, Butch Huskey, Jeff Tam, Dennis Cook
Key play: McRae’s home run

The Mets faced the Expos on a Sunday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played the finale of a four-game series. Jeff Tam recorded his first major league win in a 5-2 Mets triumph over Montreal.

Mets’ starter Hideo Nomo pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. Leading off the bottom half, Lenny Harris doubled against the Expos’ Javier Vazquez. Harris advanced to third base on John Olerud’s ground out to first baseman Brad Fullmer and came home on a single by Mike Piazza. Vazquez then got Todd Hundley to fly out to center fielder Rondell White and retired Carlos Baerga on a ground ball to second baseman Orlando Cabrera that ended the inning.

Nomo and Vazquez each hurled scoreless ball from the second inning to the fifth. To open the top of the sixth, Vladimir Guerrero and Fullmer drew back-to-back walks. White followed with a force play grounder to shortstop Rey Ordonez and a walk to Mark Grudzielanek loaded the bases. Shane Andrews drew the fourth Montreal walk of the inning to force home Guerrero and tie the game. Tam came in to pitch for the Mets and got Mike Hubbard on a force play ground ball to first baseman Olerud that plated White for a 2-1 Montreal lead. Jeff then got Vazquez to ground out to second baseman Baerga and finish off the inning.

With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Butch Huskey got his third consecutive single. An ensuing homer by Brian McRae put the Mets on top by a run. Vazquez set down the next two batters to close out the inning and Tam pitched a perfect top of the seventh. Expos’ reliever Steve Kline issued consecutive walks to Olerud and Piazza with one out in the bottom half. Montreal’s Mike Maddux then got pinch-hitter Bernard Gilkey on a double play grounder to third baseman Andrews that ended the inning.

For the Mets, reliever Greg McMichael retired all three batters in the top of the eighth. To begin the bottom half, Baerga singled and moved to second base on Huskey’s fourth single of the game. McRae’s sacrifice bunt advanced pinch-runner Wayne Kirby to third and Huskey to second. Ordonez followed with a sacrifice fly to drive home Kirby and extend the Mets’ lead to 4-2. Luis Lopez singled to score Huskey with the fifth New York run. Maddux then retired Edgardo Alfonzo on a fly ball to White for the inning’s final out.

Mets’ reliever Dennis Cook struck out Andrews to start the top of the ninth inning. Hubbard also went down on strikes. Cook then fanned pinch-hitter Jose Vidro to end the game. The Mets had a series-closing victory.

Notes

  • The win for Tam was his only one in the National League.
  • The save for Cook was his first as a Met.