July 5, 1995: Bonilla Hits Winning Single in 9th

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Date: July 5, 1995
Mets starter: Dave Mlicki
Mets: 5
Cubs: 4
Winning pitcher: John Franco
Key player(s): Bobby Bonilla, Brett Butler, Mark Grace
Key play: Grace’s homer, Hickerson’s wild pitch, Bonilla’s single in 9th

The Mets played the Cubs on a Wednesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams squared off in the third match of four-game series. Bobby Bonilla hit a ninth-inning single to drive in the winning run for a 5-4 Mets victory over Chicago.

Brian McRae was hit by a pitch and moved to second base on Jose Hernandez’s ground out to begin the top of the first inning. Mets’ starter Dave Mlicki threw a wild pitch to advance McRae to third. An infield single by Mark Grace brought home McRae for a 1-0 Cubs lead. Mlicki hit Sammy Sosa with a pitch and retired Todd Zeile on a fly ball to right fielder Chris Jones. Luis Gonzalez flied out to center fielder Brett Butler to end the inning. Cubs’ starter Frank Castillo then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Mlicki threw a called third strike past Shawon Dunston to open the top of the second inning. Scott Servais followed with a solo home run. Castillo and McRae hit consecutive ground balls for the second and third outs. The Mets failed to score in the bottom half. Mlick set down Chicago 1-2-3 in the top of the third. Castillo then retired the Mets in order in the bottom of the inning.

Zeile and Gonzalez started the top of the fourth with consecutive singles to left field. Mlicki fanned the next three batters to end the inning. With two outs in the bottom half, Jeff Kent homered for the Mets’ first run of the game. Castillo followed up with an inning-ending strikeout of Jones. The Cubs loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the fifth. Mlicki then struck out Gonzalez to snuff out the Chicago scoring chance.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Jose Vizcaino reached on an error by second baseman Hernandez. A sacrifice bunt by Mlicki advanced Vizcaino to second and Butler’s ground out moved Jose to third. Joe Orsulak doubled to score Vizcaino and tie the game. Rico Brogna reached on Hernandez’s second error, sending Orsulak to third. An ensuing single by Bonilla plated Orsulak to put the Mets ahead, 3-2. Castillo then got Todd Hundley on a ground ball to Hernandez for the third out of the inning.

Dunston led off the top of the sixth with a home run to retie the game. Mlicki struck out the next three Chicago hitters and Castillo yielded consecutive one-out singles to Jones and Vizcaino in the bottom half. Mlicki’s sacrifice bunt scored Jones with the go-ahead run and sent Vizcaino to second. Cubs’ reliever Chris Nabholz got Butler to ground out to shortstop Dunston. Grace homered with one out in the top of the seventh to tie the game at 4-4. Mlicki retired the next two batters to end the inning. Nabholz then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Mets’ reliever Doug Henry pitched a perfect top of the eighth inning. Chicago’s Mike Perez set down the Mets in order in the bottom half. With two outs in the top of the ninth, Hernandez hit a triple and Grace drew a walk. John Franco then came in to pitch and retired Sosa on a fly ball to left fielder Orsulak for the final out of the inning.

Cubs’ reliever Bryan Hickerson got Aaron Ledesma on a line drive to right fielder Sosa to begin the bottom of the ninth. On a third strike to Butler, Hickerson threw a wild pitch that allowed Brett to reach first base. Orsulak hit a fly ball to center fielder McRae for the second out of the inning. Butler stole second and Brogna drew a walk. Bonilla followed with a single to right field, scoring Butler to end the game. The Mets had an exciting win to end a four-game losing streak.