June 17, 1996: Mets Defeat Pirates in 10 Innings

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Date: June 17, 1996
Mets starter: Mark Clark
Mets: 7
Pirates: 6
Winning pitcher: Dave Mlicki
Key player(s): Lance Johnson, Jeff Kent, Jose Vizcaino
Key play: Johnson's homer, Kent's homer, Vizcaino's single

The Mets and Pirates played on a Monday afternoon in Pittsburgh. The weekday matinee featured home runs by two players named Johnson and a Bucs comeback after the Mets had built a six-run lead. The ending was a 7-6 victory for the Mets in ten innings.

Lance Johnson hit a double off Pirates' starter Esteban Loaiza to begin the top of the first inning. A one-out single by Bernard Gilkey scored Lance before Jeff Kent hit a two-run homer. In the second, the Mets' Johnson hit a three-run homer off Loaiza to give his team a 6-0 lead.

The Pirates got a run in the bottom of the third against Mets' starter Mark Clark. With two out, Carlos Garcia doubled and came home on a single by Al Martin. Clark then allowed only three Pittsburgh singles while pitching scoreless ball from the fourth inning to the sixth.

In the top of the seventh, Pirates' reliever Jason Christiansen shut down the Mets for the second straight inning. John Wehner led off the bottom half with a double. Jason Kendall followed with a single to score Wehner. Clark was then replaced by reliever Pedro A. Martinez.

For Pittsburgh, Mark Johnson came up to pinch-hit for Christiansen. The Pirates' Johnson hammered a two-run homer off Martinez to cut the Mets' lead to 6-4. The next two Pirate batters reached base and Pedro was removed from the game. Paul Byrd came in and recorded two outs, but then gave up a two-run triple to Charlie Hayes that tied the game, 6-6. The Mets failed to score after loading the bases in the top of the eighth and Byrd set down Pittsburgh in order in the bottom half.

In the ninth, Dave Mlicki held the Pirates scoreless to send the game to extra innings. Pittsburgh reliever Francisco Cordova struck out the first two Met batters in the top of the tenth. Lance Johnson then singled and stole second base. Jose Vizcaino hit another single to bring home Lance with the go-ahead run for New York. Cordova got Gilkey on a ground ball for the final out of the inning.

John Franco retired the first two Pittsburgh batters in the bottom of the tenth. He then allowed two singles and Mark Johnson came up to the plate. Franco got Mark to ground out and end the game. The Mets had a win as the Pirates' fans filed out of Three Rivers Stadium disappointed.