June 28, 1990: Mets Hold Off Reds Rally

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Date: June 28, 1990
Mets starter: Dwight Gooden
Mets: 5
Reds: 4
Winning pitcher: Dwight Gooden
Key player(s): Kevin Elster, Howard Johnson, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden
Key play: Elster's and Johnson's doubles, Strawberry's home run, Gooden's single

The Mets faced the Reds on a Thursday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a four-game series. The Mets survived a Cincinnati rally effort and came away with a 5-4 win.

Mets' starter Dwight Gooden gave up only a double to Chris Sabo in the top of the first inning. The Reds' Jose Rijo yielded just a single to Gregg Jefferies in the bottom half and Gooden surrendered only a double to Paul O'Neill in the top of the second. Kevin McReynolds singled to lead off the bottom of the inning. Daryl Boston went down on strikes and a single by Mackey Sasser advanced McReynolds to third base. Kevin Elster followed with a double to drive home McReynolds and Sasser. Gooden grounded out to shortstop Barry Larkin and a double by Howard Johnson plated Elster for a 3-0 Mets lead. Rijo then got Dave Magadan to line out to second baseman Ron Oester and finish off the inning.

After scoreless third and fourth innings, Sabo got a two-out single in the top of the fifth. Eric Davis connected for a home run to reduce the Mets' lead to 3-2. O'Neill was struck out to end the inning and Rijo set down the side in order in the bottom half. Gooden pitched a perfect top of the sixth and Darryl Strawberry homered against Rijo to lead off the bottom of the inning. McReynolds flied out to center fielder Davis and a walk to Boston ensued. Cincinnati reliever Tim Birtsas retired Sasser on a ground ball to second baseman Luis Quinones. Elster was walked intentionally and Gooden singled to bring home Boston for a 5-2 Mets lead. On the play, Elster advanced to third and Gooden to second via an error by Larkin. Birtsas then retired Johnson on a line drive to Larkin that closed out the inning.

Billy Hatcher hit a triple with one out in the top of the seventh. Larkin singled to score Hatcher and cut the Mets' lead to 5-3. Sabo was retired on a pop-up to second baseman Jefferies. Larkin stole second base and Davis grounded out to shortstop Elster to end the inning. Birtsas then retired the side 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

O'Neill hit a leadoff single against Gooden in the top of the eighth. Todd Benzinger grounded out to Jefferies to move O'Neill to second base. Against Mets' reliever John Franco, pinch-hitter Glenn Braggs got a single on which O'Neill stayed at second. Joe Oliver followed with a force play grounder to Elster on which Jefferies made a throwing error that allowed O'Neill to score. Franco retired Quinones on a ground ball to third baseman Johnson for the final out of the inning. The Reds' Norm Charlton then gave up just a single to Mark Carreon in the bottom half.

Hatcher singled to begin the top of the ninth. Larkin popped out to Franco on a bunt attempt and Sabo went down on strikes. Davis hit a single and Franco got O'Neill on a pop-up to Elster that brought the game to an end. The Mets had a victory to start the series.