May 8, 1994: Bonilla's Homer Beats Redbirds

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Date: May 8, 1994
Mets starter: Mauro Gozzo
Mets: 3
Cardinals: 2
Winning pitcher: Mauro Gozzo
Key player(s): Bobby Bonilla, Mauro Gozzo, Josias Manzanillo
Key play: Bonilla’s home run

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Sunday afternoon in St. Louis. The teams played the finale of a four-game series. Bobby Bonilla homered in the eighth inning to lift the Mets to a 3-2 win over the Redbirds.

Mauro Gozzo and the Cards’ Vicente Palacios each started the game with three scoreless innings pitched. Gozzo surrendered only a pair of walks while Palacios gave up a single to Fernando Vina and two walks in addition to recording six strikeouts. Jeff Kent got an infield single with one out in the top of the fourth. With Joe Orsulak at bat, Kent advanced all the way to third base on a wild pitch. Orsulak drew a walk and David Segui hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Kent for a 1-0 Mets lead. Palacios then got Kelly Stinnett on a force play ground ball to shortstop Jose Oquendo for the inning’s third out.

With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Gregg Jefferies walked and stole second base. Jefferies moved to third as Mark Whiten drew a walk. Whiten stole second and Todd Zeile was walked intentionally to load the bases. Bernard Gilkey followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Jefferies with the tying run and Terry McGriff hit a force play grounder to shortstop Vina to end the inning. To begin the top of the fifth, Gozzo singled and Vina drew a walk. Jeromy Burnitz’s sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third. Kevin McReynolds hit a sacrifice fly that brought home Gozzo and put the Mets ahead, 2-1. Palacios threw a called third strike past Bonilla to close out the inning. Gozzo then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Palacios set down the Mets in order in the top of the sixth. Jefferies doubled for the Cardinals’ first hit with one out in the bottom of the inning. Whiten hit a single to score Jefferies and retie the game at 2-2. On his own hit, Whiten went to second base via a throw. Zeile reached on a fielder’s choice ground ball and Gilkey lined out to third baseman Bonilla. McGriff was retired on an inning-ending ground ball to Vina, who was hit by a pitch with two outs in the top of the seventh. With St. Louis’s Rich Rodriguez on the mound facing Burnitz, Vina stole second. Rodriguez fanned Burnitz for the inning’s final out. Gozzo then shut down the Redbirds in the bottom half.

With one out in the top of the eighth, Bonilla slugged a homer against Cards’ reliever Willie Smith to regain a one-run lead for the Mets. Kent grounded out to shortstop Ozzie Smith and a line drive by Orsulak was caught by left fielder Gilkey to end the inning. Mets’ reliever Josias Manzanillo pitched a scoreless bottom half and Willie Smith retired all three New York batters in the top of the ninth. Gilkey went down on strikes to open the bottom of the inning. McGriff was retired on a ground ball to Vina. Manzanillo then got Geronimo Pena to line out to Bonilla and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a victory to close out the weekend series.