September 1, 1996: Two Runs in 10th Beat Giants

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Date: September 1, 1996
Mets starter: Bobby Jones
Mets: 6
Giants: 5
Winning pitcher: John Franco
Key player(s): Edgardo Alfonzo, Lance Johnson, Andy Tomberlin
Key play: Alfonzo’s sacrifice flies, Johnson’s triple, Tomberlin’s double

The Mets and Giants faced each other on a Sunday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. The Mets came from behind with two runs in the bottom of the 10th inning for a 6-5 win over San Francisco.

Bobby Jones and the Giants’ Allen Watson each pitched two scoreless innings to start the game. Jones yielded only a single to Trenidad Hubbard in the top of the third and reached on an error by left fielder Barry Bonds with one out in the bottom half. Lance Johnson doubled to advance Jones to third base and Bobby scored on a sacrifice fly by Edgardo Alfonzo. Watson then retired Bernard Gilkey on a fly ball to Bonds that ended the inning.

Following a scoreless fourth, Jones shut down the Giants again in the top of the fifth. Alvaro Espinoza reached on an error by first baseman Desi Wilson to begin the bottom of the inning. A balk moved Espinoza to second base and Alvaro went to third on Rey Ordonez’s infield single. A sacrifice bunt by Jones sent Ordonez to second. Johnson followed with a triple that drove home Espinoza and Ordonez. Alfonzo hit his second sacrifice fly of the game to score Johnson and increase the Mets’ lead to 4-0. Watson then struck out Gilkey to finish off the inning.

Bonds singled and stole second base to begin the top of the sixth. Wilson grounded out to second baseman Alfonzo to advance Bonds to third. Steve Scarsone hit a single to score Bonds and was caught stealing on a throw by catcher Todd Hundley to Alfonzo. Jones got Rich Aurilia on an inning-ending fly ball to left fielder Gilkey. Watson then hurled a perfect bottom half.

Doug Mirabelli hit a double to lead off the top of the seventh inning. Watson drew a walk and Hubbard got a bunt single against Mets’ reliever Paul Byrd that loaded the bases. Bill Mueller doubled to drive home Mirabelli and Watson, cutting the Mets’ lead to 4-3. An ensuing single by Glenallen Hill against reliever Jerry DiPoto brought home Hubbard with the tying run and sent Mueller to third. Bonds hit a ground ball on which shortstop Ordonez threw to Hundley for an out at home on Mueller. Wilson followed with a grounder to Ordonez for an inning-ending double play. Watson then shut down the Mets in the bottom half.

DiPoto pitched a scoreless top of the eighth. Alfonzo singled against San Francisco’s Rich DeLucia to open the bottom of the inning. Gilkey went down on strikes and Hundley singled to right field. Pinch-hitter Brent Mayne grounded out to shortstop Aurelia and an intentional walk to pinch-hitter Roberto Petagine loaded the bases. DeLucia then retired Espinoza on a fly ball to right fielder Hill to close out the inning.

Mets’ reliever John Franco shut down the Giants in the top of the ninth. With two outs in the bottom half, Johnson singled to left field. DeLucia issued consecutive walks Alfonzo and Gilkey to load the bases and San Francisco reliever Jim Poole got Hundley on a called third strike to end the inning. To begin the top of the 10th, Scarsone drew a walk. Aurilia hit a force play ground ball to back to Franco and moved to second on Marvin Benard’s ground out to Alfonzo. Rick Wilkins hit a double that scored Aurilia and put the Giants ahead, 5-4. Franco then retired Dax Jones on a fly ball to center fielder Johnson to finish off the inning.

Poole issued a walk to pinch-hitter Tim Bogar to begin the bottom of the 10th. Rod Beck came in to pitch for San Francisco and struck out pinch-hitter Chris Jones. Pinch-hitter Andy Tomberlin doubled to drive home Bogar with the tying run and advanced to third base on a throw. Ordonez was given an intentional walk. Carl Everett then hit an infield grounder on which Tomberlin scored to end the game. The Mets had an extra-inning victory to close out the series.