September 1, 1990: Valera Wins Major League Debut

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Date: September 1, 1990
Mets starter: Julio Valera
Mets: 6
Giants: 5
Winning pitcher: Julio Valera
Key player(s): Julio Valera, Darryl Strawberry, Tommy Herr, Howard Johnson
Key play: Strawberry’s and Herr’s home runs, Herr’s throw in 8th, Johnson’s single in 8th

The Mets faced the Giants on a Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium. For New York, Julio Valera took the mound for his first game as a major leaguer. Valera came away with the win as the Mets defeated San Francisco, 6-5.

Valera pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. Leading off the bottom half, Tommy Herr (recently acquired in a trade) drew a walk in his first plate appearance as a Met. Dave Magadan hit into a force play and Gregg Jefferies flied out to left fielder Kevin Mitchell. An ensuing home run by Darryl Strawberry gave the Mets a 2-0 lead. Giants’ starter John Burkett retired Kevin McReynolds on an inning-ending ground ball to third baseman Matt Williams. Valera then set down all three San Francisco batters in the top of the second.

Howard Johnson started the bottom of the second inning with a single to right field. Daryl Boston grounded out to Williams and a walk to newly-acquired Charlie O'Brien followed. On Valera’s bunt, shortstop Jose Uribe mishandled Williams’ throw and Johnson came around to score. Herr went down on strikes and Magadan doubled to drive home O’Brien. Burkett fanned Jefferies for the third out of the inning. Brett Butler singled with two outs in the top of the third and advanced to third base on Valera’s errant pickoff throw. A double by Mike Kingery scored Bulter for the Giants’ first run. Valera got Will Clark to fly out to center fielder Boston and end the inning. Burkett then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Williams drew a one-out walk in the top of the fourth. Terry Kennedy doubled and Robby Thompson hit an infield single to drive home Williams from third base. Pinch-hitter Ernest Riles popped out to shortstop Johnson and a pinch-hit single by Bill Bathe plated Kennedy to cut the Mets’ lead to 4-3. Valera retired Butler on a fly ball to right fielder Strawberry to close out the inning. San Francisco reliever Randy O’Neal set down the Mets in order in the bottom half. Valera shut down the Giants in the top of the fifth and Herr homered to begin the bottom of the inning. O’Neal then retired the next three Mets batters on infield grounders.

Valera and O’Neal each pitched a perfect sixth inning. Mets’ reliever Bob Ojeda hurled a scoreless top of the seventh. San Francisco’s Mark Dewey shut down the Mets in the bottom half and Mitchell doubled to open the top of the eighth. Williams hit a single off Mets’ reliever Ron Darling, who followed up by striking out Kennedy. Thompson reached on third baseman Jefferies’ error that allowed Mitchell to score. Facing reliever John Franco, Riles hit a grounder on which second baseman Herr threw to catcher O’Brien for an out on Williams to keep the Mets ahead by a run. Franco then retired pinch-hitter Gary Carter on a fly ball to Strawberry to end the inning.

With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Strawberry doubled off Giants’ reliever Jeff Brantley. McReynolds got an infield single to send Darryl to third base. Johnson singled to score Strawberry for a 6-4 Mets lead. Boston popped out to shortstop Riles and an ensuing intentional walk to O’Brien loaded the bases. Brantley then got Franco on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Butler.

Franco walked Butler to start the top of the ninth. Greg Litton grounded out to Franco and a wild pitch advanced Butler from second to third base. Clark went down on strikes and Mitchell drew a walk. Williams singled to drive home Butler with the fifth San Francisco run. Franco then retired Kennedy on a ground ball back to the mound for the final out of the game. The Mets had a victory with the win going to Valera in his first major league game.


  • In pre-game ceremonies, Ed Kranepool was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame.