June 30, 1994: Two Runs in 8th Down Padres

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Date: June 30, 1994
Mets starter: Bret Saberhagen
Mets: 3
Padres: 1
Winning pitcher: Bret Saberhagen
Key player(s): Rico Brogna, Todd Hundley, Jeff Kent
Key play: Brogna’s home run, Hundley’s double, Kent’s single

The Mets faced the Padres on a Thursday night in San Diego. The teams played the opener of a four-game series at Jack Murphy Stadium. The Mets scored twice in the eighth inning for a 3-1 win.

Following a scoreless first inning, Rico Brogna led off the top of the second with a home run to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. Padres’ starter Joey Hamilton retired the next three batters to close out the inning and Luis Lopez doubled against the Mets’ Bret Saberhagen with two outs in the bottom half. Saberhagen fanned Brad Ausmus for the third out and Hamilton pitched a perfect top of the third. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Scott Livingstone drew a walk and advanced to third base on a double by Tony Gwynn. Saberhagen then got Derek Bell on a ground ball to second baseman Jeff Kent for the inning’s final out.

After pitching perfect halves in the fourth inning, Hamilton and Saberhagen each allowed one hit in a scoreless fifth. Hamilton held the Mets to a two-out single by Bobby Bonilla in the top of the sixth. Bell homered with two outs in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. Saberhagen fanned Phil Plantier and Billy Bean for the second and third outs and the Mets failed to score against Hamilton in the top of the seventh. Saberhagen then set down all three San Diego hitters in the bottom half.

Pinch-hitter Fernando Vina drew a walk to lead off the top of the eighth inning. On Jose Vizcaino’s ensuing bunt, catcher Ausmus threw to shortstop Lopez for an out at second base on Vina. Todd Hundley hit a double to drive home Vizcaino and put the Mets ahead, 2-1. Padres’ reliever Doug Brocail balked to move Hundley to third and retired Joe Orsulak on a grounder to first baseman Bean. Bonilla was given an intentional walk and Kent singled to score Hundley with the Mets’ third run. Brocail got Brogna on an inning-ending ground ball to Lopez. Mets’ reliever Josias Manzanillo then set down the side in order in the bottom half.

Brocail retired the Mets 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth. Bell grounded out to shortstop Vizcaino to begin the bottom of the inning. Plantier was retired on a pop-up to third baseman Bonilla. Manzanillo then got Bean to ground out to Kent and end the game. The Mets had a victory to start the series and the eleven-game west coast trip.