May 2, 1990: Viola Fans 11 in Shutout

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Date: May 2, 1990
Mets starter: Frank Viola
Mets: 5
Reds: 0
Winning pitcher: Frank Viola
Key player(s): Frank Viola, Mike Marshall, Howard Johnson
Key play: Marshall’s homer and double, Johnson’s homer

The Mets and Reds faced each other on a Wednesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the first half of a two-game series. Frank Viola fanned eleven batters in pitching a shutout as the Mets defeated Cincinnati, 5-0.

Viola recorded two strikeouts in a perfect top of the first inning. Reds’ starter Tom Browning shut down the Mets in the bottom half and Frank struck out two more batters in a scoreless top of the second. Leading off the bottom of the inning, Mike Marshall homered to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. Barry Lyons and Kevin Elster were retired on consecutive fly balls to right fielder Paul O’Neill. Viola hit a single and advanced to third base when Mark Carreon reached on an error by Browning. Tim Teufel then flied out to left fielder Rolando Roomes to end the inning.

Viola fanned Joe Oliver and Browning to begin the top of the third. Chris Sabo singled and Mariano Duncan reached on an error by shortstop Elster. Barry Larkin flied out to left fielder Kevin McReynolds to finish off the inning and Howard Johnson hit a home run to open the bottom half. Browning set down the next three New York hitters and consecutive ground outs to third baseman Johnson began the top of the fourth. O’Neill doubled and moved to third on an error by Elster. Viola then struck out Roomes to end the inning.

Lyons led off the bottom of the fourth with a single to left field. Elster went down on strikes and Viola’s sacrifice bunt advanced Lyons to second base. Carreon hit a double to drive home Lyons with the Mets’ third run of the game. Browning threw a called third strike past Teufel for the third out and Viola fanned Oliver to begin the top of the fifth. Frank retired Browning and Sabo on infield ground balls to close out the inning and McReynolds got a two-out single in the bottom half. An ensuing double by Marshall scored McReynolds to increase the Mets’ lead to 4-0. Browning then got Lyons to fly out to center fielder Billy Hatcher and end the inning.

Viola held the Reds to a single by Larkin in a scoreless top of the sixth. Browning retired the side in order in the bottom half and O’Neill was struck out to start the top of the seventh. Roomes grounded out to Elster and a walk to Oliver followed. Viola fanned pinch-hitter Ron Oester for the third out and Cincinnati reliever Kip Gross hurled a perfect bottom of the inning. Sabo and Duncan were retired on infield grounders to begin the top of the eighth. Viola then got Larkin on a called third strike (Frank’s eleventh of the game) to close out the inning.

With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Marshall singled and advanced to third base on a single by Lyons. Elster followed with a sacrifice fly that brought home Marshall with the Mets’ fifth run. Gross got Viola on a ground ball to shortstop Larkin that ended the inning and Todd Benzinger grounded out to second baseman Teufel to open the top of the ninth. Hatcher and O’Neill followed with back-to-back singles and Roomes was retired on a pop-up to Teufel. Viola then got Oliver to pop out to Teufel and end the game. The Mets had a victory over the National League West Division leaders on Frank’s shutout.