June 17, 1991: Six Runs in 3rd Lead Mets Past Reds

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Date: June 17, 1991
Mets starter: Ron Darling
Mets: 10
Reds: 6
Winning pitcher: Ron Darling
Key player(s): Hubie Brooks, Howard Johnson, Garry Templeton
Key play: Johnson’s and Brooks’ homers, Templeton’s single

The Mets faced the Reds on a Monday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Six runs in the third inning lifted the Mets to a 10-6 win over Cincinnati.

Mets’ starter Ron Darling pitched a perfect top of the first inning. Leading off the bottom half, Daryl Boston singled and advanced to third base on an error by center fielder Herm Winningham. Dave Magadan hit a single to score Boston and went to third on Gregg Jefferies’ single to right field. Jefferies stole second and Howard Johnson was walked intentionally to load the bases. Hubie Brooks followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Magadan for a 2-0 Mets lead. Reds’ starter Scott Scudder then got Mark Carreon to hit a ground ball to first baseman Hal Morris for a double play that ended the inning.

After a scoreless second, Darling shut down the Reds in the top of the third. Magadan was hit by a pitch to open the bottom half. Jefferies flied out to right fielder Paul O’Neill and a two-run homer by Johnson ensued. Brooks drew a walk and moved to second base on Cincinnati reliever Kip Gross’s wild pitch. Carreon walked and Rick Cerone singled to load the bases. Garry Templeton hit a single to drive home Brooks and Carreon. On the play, left fielder Billy Hatcher made an error that allowed Cerone to score and Templeton to go to third. Darling grounded out to third baseman Chris Sabo. Boston reached on an error by Morris on which Templeton scored the Mets’ sixth run of the inning for an 8-0 lead. Gross then got pinch-hitter Kevin Elster to hit a force play grounder to shortstop Barry Larkin for the inning’s final out.

Morris hit a one-out double in the top of the fourth. Sabo got an infield single and Jeff Reed singled to drive home Morris. Hatcher hit a ground ball on which Sabo was out at home via a throw by third baseman Johnson to catcher Cerone. Darling struck out pinch-hitter Todd Benzinger to end the inning and Johnson drew a walk against Reds’ reliever Jack Armstrong with one out in the bottom half. Brooks followed with a home run that increased the Mets’ lead to 10-1. Carreon flied out to Winningham and a single by Cerone ensued. Armstrong then retired Templeton on a pop-up to Larkin to close out the inning.

Darling and Armstrong each pitched a scoreless fifth. To begin the top of the sixth, O’Neill singled and came around to score on an ensuing double by Morris. Sabo hit a single to advance Morris to third base. Reed followed with a grounder back to Darling on which Morris got caught between bases and was tagged out by Cerone. Hatcher hit a sacrifice fly to plate Sabo from third and reduce the Mets’ lead to 10-3. Darling fanned Armstrong for the third out of the inning and Brooks hit a one-out single in the bottom half. Carreon singled and Cerone drew a walk that loaded the bases. Armstrong then retired Templeton on a pop-up to Morris and struck out Darling to finish off the inning.

Bill Doran hit a home run against Mets’ reliever Doug Simons to begin the top of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Chris Jones singled and came home on a double by Luis Quinones. O’Neill flied out to right fielder Brooks and an error by Johnson allowed Morris to reach base. Against New York’s Julio Valera, Sabo hit a force play grounder to second baseman Jefferies to drive home Quinones for the Reds’ sixth run of the game. Sabo stole second and went to third on a passed ball. Valera issued a walk to Reed and threw a called third strike past Hatcher for the third out of the inning. Boston and Elster got back-to-back singles against Armstrong to open the bottom half. Cincinnati relievers Don Carman and Ted Power then retired the next three batters to close out the inning.

Glenn Braggs drew a leadoff walk against Valera in the top of the eighth. Doran singled and Jones was struck out. Quinones went down on strikes and O’Neill walked to load the bases. Mets’ reliever Rich Sauveur struck out pinch-hitter Mariano Duncan to end the inning. Power then yielded only a single to Cerone in the bottom half.

Sabo drew a walk against Mets’ reliever Jeff Innis to open the top of the ninth inning. Reed hit a force play ground ball to shortstop Elster and moved to second base on pinch-hitter Joe Oliver’s ground out to Johnson. Innis then struck out Braggs to end the game. The Mets had a victory to start the series.