June 18, 1991: Hojo and Big Mac Bury Reds

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Date: June 18, 1991
Mets starter: Wally Whitehurst
Mets: 7
Reds: 5
Winning pitcher: Alejandro Pena
Key player(s): Howard Johnson, Kevin McReynolds
Key play: Johnson’s grand slam, McReynolds’ single

The Mets faced the Reds on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played in front of 21,058 fans on hand. Howard Johnson hit a grand slam and Kevin McReynolds got a run-scoring single that lifted the Mets to a 7-5 win over Cincinnati.

Bill Doran and Billy Hatcher hit back-to-back singles against Mets’ starter Wally Whitehurst to begin the top of the first inning. Barry Larkin singled to drive home Doran and a single by Paul O’Neill scored Hatcher for a 2-0 Reds lead. Whitehurst struck out both Hal Morris and Chris Sabo before retiring Glenn Braggs on an inning-ending ground ball to shortstop Kevin Elster. Cincinnati’s Tom Browning then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Whitehurst gave up just a single to Doran in the top of the second. Garry Templeton doubled with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Rick Cerone singled to bring home Templeton with the Mets’ first run of the game. Browning got Elster to hit a force play grounder to shortstop Larkin for the inning’s final out. Whitehurst then set down the Reds in order in the top of the third.

Keith Miller got a one-out single in the bottom of the third inning. Tommy Herr flied out to right fielder O’Neill and an error by third baseman Sabo allowed Mark Carreon to reach base. Hubie Brooks drew a walk to load the bases and Johnson followed with a grand slam for a 5-2 Mets lead. Browning retired Templeton on a ground ball to Larkin for the third out and Whitehurst retired all three Cincinnati batters in the top of the fourth. With two outs in the bottom half, Whitehurst drew a walk and Miller singled to center field. Browning then got Herr to pop out to catcher Jeff Reed and end the inning.

Hatcher doubled and stole third base with two outs in the top of the fifth. Larkin singled to drive home Hatcher and a line drive by O’Neill was caught by center fielder Carreon to close out the inning. Browning hurled a perfect bottom half and Morris hit a leadoff single in the top of the sixth. Sabo followed with a grounder to Elster for a double play and Whitehurst retired Braggs on an inning-ending fly ball to right fielder Brooks. Elster hit a two-out double in the bottom half. Browning then got Whitehurst to fly out to center fielder Hatcher and finish off the inning.

Reed singled to open the top of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Herm Winningham grounded back to Whitehurst and a single by Doran drove home Reed. Mets’ reliever Jeff Innis retired Hatcher on a ground ball to Elster and a wild pitch advanced Doran from second to third base. Innis threw a called third strike past Larkin to close out the inning. For the Reds, reliever Ted Power gave up just a single to Carreon in the bottom half.

O’Neill doubled against Mets’ reliever Rich Sauveur to lead off the top of the eighth inning. A sacrifice bunt by Morris advanced pinch-runner Chris Jones to third base. Facing New York’s Alejandro Pena, Sabo hit a sacrifice fly that plated Jones and tied the game at 5-5. Braggs grounded back to Pena to end the inning and Johnson drew a walk against Cincinnati’s Randy Myers to begin the bottom half. Templeton popped out to Reed and a double by Cerone ensued. Elster was walked intentionally to load the bases and Myers was replaced on the mound by Reds’ reliever Rob Dibble. As a pinch-hitter, McReynolds greeted Dibble with a single that scored Johnson and put the Mets ahead. Miller flied out to right fielder Jones, after which Cerone scored the seventh New York run on an error by Reed. Dibble then retired Herr on a grounder to first baseman Morris for the final out of the inning.

Reed flied out to left fielder McReynolds to begin the top of the ninth. Todd Benzinger singled and Doran lined out to second baseman Herr. Hatcher hit a single to keep the Reds’ chances alive. Pena then struck out Larkin to end the game. The Mets had their second straight victory in the series.