July 9, 1989: Three Runs in 7th Stifle Reds

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Date: July 9, 1989
Mets starter: Bob Ojeda
Mets: 6
Reds: 3
Winning pitcher: Rick Aguilera
Key player(s): Juan Samuel, Rick Aguilera, Kevin Elster
Key play: Elster’s sacrifice fly, Samuel’s home run

The Mets faced the Reds on a Sunday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams concluded a four-game series just prior to the All-Star Break. The Mets scored three times in the seventh inning for a 6-3 win over Cincinnati.

Mets’ starter Bob Ojeda struck out Luis Quinones to begin the top of the first inning. Todd Benzinger and Barry Larkin followed with back-to-back singles. Eric Davis singled to score Benzinger from second base. Ojeda fanned Paul O’Neill and Rolando Roomes for the final outs of the inning. With two outs in the bottom half, Darryl Strawberry hit a double that brought home Howard Johnson from first base to tie the game at 1-1. Reds’ starter Rick Mahler then retired Kevin McReynolds on a ground ball to shortstop Larkin to end the inning.

Ojeda set down all three Cincinnati hitters in the top of the second. Mackey Sasser reached on an error by second baseman Quinones with one out in the bottom of the inning. Kevin Elster singled and Ojeda’s sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third. Juan Samuel reached on Larkin’s error that plated Sasser and Elster for a 3-1 Mets lead. Mahler got Lee Mazzilli to line out to center fielder Davis and end the inning. Ojeda pitched a scoreless top of the third. Mahler then retired the Mets in order in the bottom half.

Roomes got a one-out single and stole second base in the top of the fourth inning. Lenny Harris singled to score Roomes and moved to second on right fielder Strawberry’s error. Jeff Reed hit a line drive to Strawberry on which Harris was doubled up for the third out. Mahler set down the Mets 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning. The teams did not score in the fifth and Ojeda held the Reds to a single by O’Neill in a scoreless top of the sixth. Mahler then recorded his fourth straight perfect inning in the bottom half.

Reed reached on shortstop Elster’s error to start the top of the seventh inning. An ensuing double by Mahler scored pinch-runner Herm Winningham to tie the game at 3-3. Mets’ reliever Rick Aguilera retired the next three batters and Gregg Jefferies opened the bottom half with a double off Cincinnati’s Norm Charlton. Facing reliever Rob Dibble, pinch-hitter Phil Lombardi grounded out to first baseman Benzinger to move Jefferies to third. Elster hit a sacrifice fly to score Jefferies and put the Mets ahead. Aguilera drew a walk and Samuel homered to extend the Mets’ lead to three runs. Dibble was then replaced on the mound by Kent Tekulve, who got Mazzilli on an inning-ending fly ball to right fielder O’Neill.

Aguilera set down the Reds in order in the top of the eighth. Tekulve pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning. Harris popped out to Elster to lead off the top of the ninth. Bo Diaz flied out to left fielder McReynolds. Aguilera then retired pinch-hitter Kal Daniels on a fly ball to McReynolds to end the game. The Mets had a victory to finish off the unofficial first half of the season.