June 25, 1998: Baerga's Single Beats Orioles

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Date: June 25, 1998
Mets starter: Hideo Nomo
Mets: 3
Orioles: 2
Winning pitcher: Dennis Cook
Key player(s): Matt Franco, Wayne Kirby, Edgardo Alfonzo, Carlos Baerga
Key play: Franco’s and Kirby’s triples, Baerga’s single in 9th

The Mets faced the Orioles on a Thursday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the finale of four games in a home-and-home interleague series. Carlos Baerga hit a run-scoring single in the ninth inning for a 3-2 Mets win over Baltimore.

Hideo Nomo and the Birds’ Scott Erickson each started the game with three scoreless innings pitched. Leading off the top of the fourth, Roberto Alomar homered for a 1-0 Orioles lead. Nomo retired the next three batters and Erickson gave up only a single to Brian McRae in the bottom half. Erickson drew a one-out walk in the top of the fifth. Brady Anderson went down on strikes and a wild pitch advanced Erickson to second base. Joe Carter doubled to drive home Erickson with the second Baltimore run. Nomo then got Rafael Palmeiro to line out to center fielder McRae and end the inning.

Edgardo Alfonzo drew a walk with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Matt Franco hit a triple to score Alfonzo and reduce the Orioles’ lead to 2-1. Erickson got Mike Piazza to ground out to shortstop Mike Bordick and retired John Olerud on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Anderson. Nomo shut down the Birds in the top of the sixth and Baerga singled to open the bottom half. Erickson then recorded outs on each of the next three hitters to finish off the inning.

Nomo pitched a scoreless top of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Wayne Kirby hit a triple to lead off the bottom half. Alfonzo was retired on a pop-up to second baseman Alomar. Franco was hit by a pitch and Piazza followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Kirby, tying the game at 2-2. A passed ball by catcher Lenny Webster advanced Franco to second and an intentional walk to Olerud ensued. Erickson was then replaced on the mound by Baltimore reliever Jesse Orosco, who got Baerga to hit a force play grounder to Bordick for the inning’s final out.

Mets’ reliever Dennis Cook yielded only a single to Palmeiro in the top of the eighth. Orosco hurled a scoreless bottom half and Cook held the Birds to a single by Bordick in the top of the ninth. Alfonzo drew a walk against Orioles’ reliever Armando Benitez to begin the bottom of the inning. Benitez followed up with strikeouts of both pinch-hitter Luis Lopez and Piazza. Olerud drew a walk and Baerga came to bat. Carlos delivered a single to plate Alfonzo and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a victory to close out the series.