June 28, 1999: Ventura Slugs Marlins

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Date: June 28, 1999
Mets starter: Al Leiter
Mets: 10
Marlins: 4
Winning pitcher: Al Leiter
Key player(s): Robin Ventura, Edgardo Alfonzo
Key play: Ventura’s home runs, Alfonzo’s triple

The Mets faced the Marlins on a Monday night in Miami, Florida. The teams played the opener of a four-game series. Robin Ventura hit three-run homers in consecutive innings to lead the Mets to a 10-4 win.

Al Leiter and the Marlins’ Brian Meadows each started the game with two scoreless innings pitched. Meadows shut down the Mets again in the top of the third and Kevin Millar doubled to open the bottom half. Mike Redmond drew a walk and Meadows went down on strikes. Luis Castillo was struck out and Alex Gonzalez singled to score Millar. Bruce Aven hit a single to drive home Redmond with the second Florida run and Kevin Orie walked to load the bases. Leiter then fanned Preston Wilson for the inning’s third out.

Edgardo Alfonzo hit a double to lead off the top of the fourth. John Olerud drew a walk and Mike Piazza followed with a force play ground ball to third baseman Orie. On the play, Orie made an errant throw that allowed Olerud to go to third base and Piazza to second. Ventura followed with a home run that put the Mets ahead, 3-2. Brian McRae singled and Meadows got Benny Agbayani on a grounder to shortstop Gonzalez for an inning-ending double play. Leiter then yielded just a single to Redmond in the bottom half.

Rey Ordonez doubled against Marlins’ reliever Brian Edmondson to begin the top of the fifth. Leiter’s sacrifice bunt moved Ordonez to third base and Roger Cedeno was hit by a pitch. Edmondson threw a wild pitch that sent Cedeno to second. Alfonzo hit a triple to bring home Ordonez and Cedeno for a 5-2 Mets lead. Against Florida’s Vic Darensbourg, Olerud drew a walk and Piazza singled to score Alfonzo. Ventura slugged his second three-run homer to lengthen the New York lead to 9-2. Darensbourg got McRae to fly out to right fielder Danny Bautista and retired Agbayani on a line drive to Gonzalez that finished off the inning. Leiter then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Darensbourg set down the side in order in the top of the sixth. Leiter shut down the Fish in the bottom of the inning and Darensbourg hurled a scoreless top of the seventh. Castillo got a one-out single against Leiter in the bottom half. Gonzalez followed with a single off Mets’ reliever Turk Wendell. Aven lined out to third baseman Ventura, after which Robin made an error that sent Castillo to third. Orie singled to score Castillo and reduce that Mets’ lead to 9-3. Wendell then fanned Wilson for the final out of the inning.

Agbayani drew a walk against Marlins’ reliever Archie Corbin with one out in the top of the eighth. With pinch-hitter Melvin Mora at bat, Agbayani went to second base on a wild pitch. Mora drew a walk and Wendell was called out on strikes. Cedeno hit a single on which Agbayani was out at home via a throw by center fielder Wilson to catcher Redmond to end the inning. Leading off the bottom half, Bautista homered against Wendell for the fourth Florida run. Millar was struck out and Redmond drew a walk. Pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay flied out to left fielder Agbayani and a single by Castillo ensued. Mets’ reliever Armando Benitez then fanned Gonzalez to close out the inning.

Luis Lopez hit a double against Fish reliever Braden Looper to begin the top of the ninth. Olerud singled to bring home Lopez with the Mets’ tenth run of the game. Todd Pratt singled and pinch-hitter Matt Franco went down on strikes. Looper threw a called third strike past McRae and retired pinch-hitter Bobby Bonilla on an inning-ending pop-up to Gonzalez. To open the bottom half, New York’s John Franco got Aven to fly out to right fielder Cedeno. John Franco then threw called third strikes past both Orie and Wilson for the game’s final outs. The Mets had a victory to start the series.