September 14, 1998: McRae's Clutch Hits Beat Astros

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Date: September 14, 1998
Mets starter: Masato Yoshii
Mets: 7
Astros: 4
Winning pitcher: Greg McMichael
Key player(s): Brian McRae
Key play: McRae's home run in 9th & double in 13th

The Mets and Astros began a four-game series at the Astrodome on a Monday night. It was a 4-hour and 8-minute game that went into extra innings. Brian McRae came up with two clutch hits, one of which was a 13th inning double that produced a 7-4 win for the Mets.

In the top of the first inning, John Olerud got a two-out double off Houston starter Jose Lima. Mike Piazza followed with a home run for two Met runs. The Astros came back in the bottom of the inning with a run-scoring double by Bill Spiers, an RBI single by Jeff Bagwell and a two-run homer by Carl Everett to grab a 4-2 lead against Mets' starter Masato Yoshii.

Over the next seven innings, Lima shut down the Mets on four hits. Only in the fourth did the Mets have a runner as far as third base. Meanwhile, Yoshii and relievers Rigo Beltran and Jeff Tam held the Houston batters scoreless on three hits.

Piazza singled off Astros' reliever Billy Wagner to begin the top of the ninth inning. McRae hit a two-run homer to tie the game at 4-4. Later in the inning, the Mets had two runners on base with one out, but Houston's Jay Powell came in and got Luis Lopez to hit into an inning-ending double play. Turk Wendell then set down the Astros in order in the bottom of the inning.

Wendell held off a Houston scoring chance after two singles in the bottom of the tenth inning. In the 11th, the Astros had two runners on base with one out before Dennis Cook got two strikeouts to end the inning. Greg McMichael then pitched a perfect bottom of the twelfth to keep the game tied.

In the top of the 13th, Edgardo Alfonzo led off with double and went to third on an error by Houston right fielder Derek Bell. Olerud grounded out and Piazza was given an intentional walk. Doug Henry came in to relieve Mike Magnante and gave up a double to McRae that brought home Alfonzo and Piazza. Brian later scored on Henry's wild pitch to extend the Met lead to three runs.

John Franco held the Astros scoreless in the bottom of the 13th to end the game. The Mets had an impressive comeback victory. The triumph pulled the Mets even with the Chicago Cubs at the top of the National League Wild Card race.