May 3, 1991: Cone Leads Shutout of Giants

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Date: May 3, 1991
Mets starter: David Cone
Mets: 3
Giants: 0
Winning pitcher: David Cone
Key player(s): David Cone, Rick Cerone, Kevin Elster
Key play: Downs’ wild pitch, Cerone’s and Elster’s doubles

The Mets faced the Giants on a Friday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. David Cone pitched eight scoreless innings to lead the way in a 3-0 Mets win over San Francisco.

Cone set down the side in order in the top of the first. Vince Coleman singled against Giants’ starter Kelly Downs to lead off the bottom half. Coleman stole second base and advanced to third on catcher Steve Decker’s throwing error. Tommy Herr was retired on a ground ball to first baseman Will Clark. With Dave Magadan at bat, Coleman came home on a wild pitch for a 1-0 Mets lead. Magadan and Hubie Brooks drew back-to-back walks and Howard Johnson popped out to second baseman Robby Thompson. Downs then got Kevin McReynolds to ground out to third baseman Matt Williams and finish off the inning.

Cone retired all twelve San Francisco batters from the second inning to the fifth. Downs responded by hurling two-hit scoreless ball in the bottom halves. With one out in the top of the sixth, Dave Anderson reached on right fielder Brooks’ error to become the Giants’ first baserunner of the game. Downs followed with a force play bunt to first baseman Magadan and moved to third on a single by Mike Felder. Cone then got Willie McGee to hit a force play grounder to shortstop Kevin Elster for the inning’s final out.

Brooks singled against Downs to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Johnson popped out to shortstop Anderson and a fly ball by McReynolds was caught by left fielder Felder. Rick Cerone hit a double to score Brooks and increase the Mets’ lead to 2-0. Elster doubled to bring home Cerone with the third New York run. Cone flied out to center fielder McGee to end the inning and yielded just a single to Clark in the top of the seventh. San Francisco reliever Trevor Wilson then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Thompson and Anderson got consecutive singles to open the top of the eighth. Mike Kingery went down on strikes and Felder’s ground out to Magadan advanced the runners to second and third base. Cone retired McGee on an inning-ending fly ball to left fielder McReynolds and a walk to Johnson began the bottom half. McReynolds flied out to McGee and (with Cerone at the plate) Johnson was caught by a pickoff throw and tagged out at second by Anderson. Wilson then got Cerone on a ground ball to Clark that ended the inning.

Clark singled against Mets’ reliever John Franco to lead off the top of the ninth. Williams was retired on a grounder to Elster and pinch-hitter Greg Litton grounded out to third baseman Johnson. Franco then got Decker to ground out to Elster and end the game. The Mets had a shutout victory to start the weekend series.