July 7, 1995: Hundley's Homer in 9th Caps Comeback

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Date: July 7, 1995
Mets starter: Bobby Jones
Mets: 9
Pirates: 8
Winning pitcher: Jerry DiPoto
Key player(s): Todd Hundley, Bobby Bonilla, Chris Jones, Tim Bogar
Key play: Bogar’s and Chris Jones’ singles in 7th, Hundley’s home run

The Mets and Pirates faced each other on a Friday night in Pittsburgh. The teams played the opener of a three-game series at Three Rivers Stadium. Todd Hundley hit a home run in the ninth inning to complete a Mets comeback for a 9-8 win over the Bucs.

In the top of the first inning, Edgardo Alfonzo singled with one out against Pittsburgh starter Denny Neagle. An ensuing single by Aaron Ledesma advanced Alfonzo to third base. On his own hit, Ledesma was out at second via a throw by right fielder Orlando Merced to shortstop Jay Bell. Bobby Bonilla hit a single to score Alfonzo for a 1-0 Mets lead. Neagle struck out Chris Jones to end the inning. Mets’ starter Bobby Jones then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Following a scoreless second inning, Neagle set down the Mets in order in the top of the third. Jacob Brumfield singled to open the bottom of the inning. Bell reached on an error by third baseman Ledesma and a single by Merced drove home Brumfield. Mark Johnson hit a force play ground ball to first baseman Bogar on which Bell moved to third. Jeff King hit a sacrifice fly to score Bell and put the Pirates ahead. Al Martin hit a single and moved to third on a single by Carlos Garcia that brought home Johnson. On a double steal, Martin scored the Bucs’ fourth run and Garcia went to second. An error by second baseman Alfonzo on the play allowed Garcia to advance to third. Don Slaught singled to score Garcia. Neagle followed with a double to drive home Slaught and extend the Pittsburgh lead to 6-1. Brumfield and Bell drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Bobby Jones was then replaced on the mound by Mets’ reliever Eric Gunderson, who fanned Merced to close out the inning.

Bonilla homered to lead off the top of the fourth. Chris Jones flied out to center fielder Brumfield and a single by Kelly Stinnett ensued. Neagle retired Bogar on a fly ball to Brumfield and struck out Jose Vizcaino to end the inning. Gunderson pitched a perfect bottom half and Brett Butler hit a one-out triple in the top of the fifth. Alfonzo popped out to first baseman Johnson and a single by Ledesma plated Butler with the Mets’ third run of the game. Neagle then got Bonilla to hit a force play grounder to Bell for the third out of the inning.

With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Slaught singled against Mets’ reliever Blas Minor. Neagle went down on strikes and Slaught advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Brumfield drew a walk and Bell singled to load the bases. An ensuing single by Merced scored Slaught and Brumfield to increase the Bucs’ lead to 8-3. Minor got Johnson on a fly ball to center fielder Butler for the inning’s final out. Neagle held the Mets to singles by Bogar and Vizcaino in a scoreless top of the sixth. Mets’ reliever Doug Henry then retired the Pirates 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.

Butler singled to lead off the top of the seventh. Alfonzo hit a force play ground ball to Bell and moved to second base on a single by Ledesma. Pittsburgh reliever Jeff McCurry issued a walk to Bonilla to load the bases. Chris Jones singled to score Alfonzo and Ledesma. Dan Plesac came in to pitch for the Bucs and struck out pinch-hitter Hundley. An ensuing wild pitch sent Bonilla to third and Chris Jones to second. Bogar hit a single to drive home Bonilla and Chris Jones, cutting the Pittsburgh lead to 8-7. Plesac retired Vizcaino on an inning-ending grounder to Bell. Henry then set down the side in order in the bottom half.

Plesac and the Pirates’ Dan Miceli combined to pitch a scoreless top of the eighth inning. Mets’ reliever Jerry DiPoto held the Bucs to a single by Johnson in the bottom half. Bonilla started the top of the ninth with a single to right field. A sacrifice bunt by Chris Jones moved Bonilla to second base. Hundley followed with a two-run homer to give the Mets a one-run lead. Pinch-hitter Rico Brogna and Vizcaino followed with consecutive singles. Joe Orsulak hit a force play grounder to Bell on which Brogna advanced to third. Miceli then threw a called third strike past Butler to end the inning.

Mets’ reliever John Franco retired pinch-hitter Kevin Young on a fly ball to right fielder Chris Jones to begin the top of the ninth. Dave Clark singled and Slaught flied out to Chris Jones. Nelson Liriano drew a walk to keep the Pirates’ chances alive. Franco then got pinch-hitter Steve Pegues on a ground ball to Alfonzo to end the game. The Mets had a victory on the strength of a big comeback.