June 20, 1991: Mets Beat Braves in Slugging Contest

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Date: June 20, 1991
Mets starter: Dwight Gooden
Mets: 9
Braves: 7
Winning pitcher: Dwight Gooden
Key player(s): Howard Johnson, Hubie Brooks, Dwight Gooden, Gregg Jefferies
Key play: Johnson’s double, Mets’ home runs

The Mets faced the Braves on a Thursday night in Atlanta. Each team slugged four home runs in the opener of a four-game series. The Mets came away with a 9-7 win.

Following a scoreless first inning, Kevin McReynolds singled against Braves’ starter John Smoltz to lead off the top of the second. Howard Johnson hit a single and Hubie Brooks followed with a force play ground ball to shortstop Rafael Belliard. Mackey Sasser hit a sacrifice fly to drive home McReynolds for a 1-0 Mets lead. Smoltz retired Garry Templeton on a ground ball to first baseman Tommy Gregg for the third out of the inning. For New York, Dwight Gooden pitched a perfect bottom half.

Smoltz shut down the Mets in the top of the third. Ron Gant doubled with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Terry Pendleton hit a two-run homer and Lonnie Smith flied out to right fielder Brooks to end the inning. To begin the top of the fourth, McReynolds singled and moved to second base on a wild pitch. Johnson went down on strikes and Brooks hit a double to drive home McReynolds. Sasser was hit by a pitch and Templeton flied out to right fielder David Justice. Smoltz retired Gooden on a ground ball to catcher Greg Olson to close out the inning. Dwight then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Dave Magadan drew a one-out walk against Smoltz in the top of the fifth. Gregg Jefferies grounded out to third baseman Pendleton and a walk to McReynolds ensued. Johnson hit a double that scored Magadan and McReynolds with the go-ahead runs. Brooks followed with a two-run homer to increase the Mets’ lead to 6-2. Atlanta reliever Marvin Freeman retired Sasser on a grounder to Belliard to end the inning and Olson homered to lead off the bottom half. Belliard hit a single and came around to score on a double by pinch-hitter Mark Lemke. Gooden got Gant to pop out to shortstop Templeton and retired Pendleton on a grounder back to the mound. Dwight then got Smith to ground out to Templeton and finish off the inning.

Gooden and Braves’ reliever Rick Mahler each pitched scoreless ball in the sixth and seventh innings. Brooks hit a home run against Atlanta’s Randy St. Claire to begin the top of the eighth. St. Claire retired Sasser on a fly ball to center fielder Gant and got Templeton on a ground ball back to the mound. Gooden homered to extend the Mets’ lead to 8-4. Daryl Boston went down on strikes for the inning’s final out. With one out in the bottom half, Pendleton slugged a solo home run. Smith was retired on a grounder to Templeton. Gooden then struck out Justice to finish off the inning.

With one out in the top of the ninth, Jefferies hit a home run (the Mets’ fourth of the game) for a 9-5 New York lead. McReynolds singled and St. Claire was replaced on the mound by Braves’ reliever Mike Stanton. Johnson greeted Stanton with a single to left field. Stanton then got Keith Miller to hit a ground ball to shortstop Jeff Blauser for an inning-ending double play.

Jeff Treadway singled against Mets’ reliever Pete Schourek to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Brian Hunter followed with the Braves’ fourth homer for the sixth and seventh Atlanta runs. Olson hit a single off New York’s Alejandro Pena. Blauser popped out to second baseman Jefferies and a pop-up by pinch-hitter Mike Heath was caught by Templeton. Pena then retired Gant on a ground ball to Templeton for the final out of the game. The Mets had a victory in a slugging battle.