July 23, 1999: Mets Come Back to Defeat Cubs

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Date: July 23, 1999
Mets starter: Masato Yoshii
Mets: 5
Cubs: 4
Winning pitcher: Dennis Cook
Key player(s): Benny Agbayani, Mike Piazza
Key play: Agbayani’s triple, Piazza’s RBI single

The Mets faced the Cubs on a Friday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. The Mets came from behind for a 5-4 win over Chicago.

Tyler Houston got a one-out single against Mets’ starter Masato Yoshii in the top of the first inning. Mark Grace doubled and Sammy Sosa hit a home run for a 3-0 Cubs lead. Henry Rodriguez went down on strikes and Yoshii retired Jeff Reed on a pop-up to first baseman John Olerud for the third out. Chicago’s Kevin Tapani then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Yoshii set down the side in order in the top of the second. Mike Piazza got an infield single to lead off the bottom of the inning. Piazza advanced to third base on a double by Robin Ventura and scored the Mets’ first run on Brian McRae’s ground out to shortstop Jose Hernandez. Benny Agbayani was retired on a grounder to third baseman Houston. Tapani then got Rey Ordonez to fly out to left fielder Rodriguez and end the inning.

Yoshii and Tapani each pitched two-hit scoreless ball from the third inning to the fifth. Sosa flied out to right fielder Roger Cedeno to open the top of the sixth. Rodriguez drew a walk and moved to third base on a single by Reed. Hernandez singled to bring home pinch-runner Manny Alexander and increase the Cubs’ lead to 4-1. Yoshii was replaced on the mound by Mets’ reliever Rigo Beltran, who got Curtis Goodwin to hit a force play ground ball to shortstop Ordonez. Beltran then struck out Tapani to finish off the inning.

Edgardo Alfonzo singled to begin the bottom of the sixth. Olerud hit a single and Piazza popped out to shortstop Alexander. A wild pitch advanced Alfonzo to third base and Olerud to second. Ventura grounded out to second baseman Mickey Morandini to plate Alfonzo and a walk to McRae followed. Agbayani hit a triple to drive home Olerud and McRae, tying the game at 4-4. Tapani then retired Ordonez on a line drive to Alexander for the third out of the inning.

Mets’ reliever Dennis Cook set down all three batters in the top of the seventh. With one out on the bottom half, Cedeno walked and Alfonzo singled to left field. For Chicago, Felix Heredia came in to pitch and got Olerud to fly out to left fielder Hernandez (who had shifted from shortstop.) With Scott Sanders on the mound for the Cubs, Cedeno stole third base. Piazza followed with a single that scored Cedeno and put the Mets ahead by a run. Sanders then retired Ventura on a line drive to Alexander that closed out the inning.

Mets’ reliever Turk Wendell hurled a perfect top of the eighth. Chicago’s Rod Beck retired the side 1-2-3 in the bottom half and New York’s Armando Benitez struck out Hernandez to start the top of the ninth. Goodwin was retired on a pop-up to Benitez. Armando then fanned pinch-hitter Glenallen Hill for the game’s final out. The Mets had a comeback victory.