June 20, 1997: Jones Leads Blanking of Bucs

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Date: June 20, 1997
Mets starter: Bobby Jones
Mets: 1
Pirates: 0
Winning pitcher: Bobby Jones
Key player(s): Bobby Jones, Jason Hardtke
Key play: Hardtke's RBI single

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Friday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the second of four games in a series. Bobby Jones pitched eight and two-thirds shutout innings in a 1-0 Mets win over Pittsburgh.

Jones set down the side in order in the top of the first. Bucs' starter Steve Cooke hurled a scoreless bottom half and Bobby gave up only a single to Mark Smith in the top of the second. Jason Hardtke singled to lead off the bottom of the inning. Alberto Castillo reached on Cooke's error of a sacrifice bunt and Luis Lopez got an infield single to load the bases. Jones followed with a ground ball on which third baseman Joe Randa threw to catcher Jason Kendall for an out at home on Hardtke. Cooke then got Lance Johnson to hit a double play grounder to second baseman Tony Womack that ended the inning.

Jones yielded just a single to Womack in the top of the third. John Olerud and Butch Huskey got back-to-back singles with one out in the bottom half. Alex Ochoa grounded out to first baseman Kevin Young to advance the runners to second and third base. Hardtke was retired on a ground ball to Womack for the inning's third out and Jones set down all three batters on outfield flies in the top of the fourth. Cooke then surrendered only a walk to Castillo in the bottom half.

After a scoreless fifth, Jones shut down the Pirates without a hit in the top of the sixth. A double by Huskey began the bottom of the inning. Huskey moved to third base on Ochoa's ground out to Cooke and scored the game's first run on a single by Hardtke. With Castillo at bat, Hardtke was caught stealing second on Kendall's throw to shortstop Dale Sveum. Castillo drew a walk and went to second on a wild pitch. Lopez was walked intentionally and Cooke retired Jones on a line drive to Sveum to close out the inning.

Jones limited the Bucs to a single by Sveum in the top of the seventh. Pittsburgh relievers Matt Ruebel and Marc Wilkins combined for a scoreless bottom half and Bobby set down the side 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. Wilkins gave up only a single to Ochoa in the bottom of the inning and Smith singled against Jones with two outs in the top of the ninth. Mets' reliever John Franco threw a wild pitch that sent pinch-runner Emil Brown to second base. Franco then got Jose Guillen to ground out to shortstop Lopez and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a shutout victory.