September 20, 1997: McRae's Slam Leads to Win Over Fish

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Date: September 20, 1997
Mets starter: Brian Bohanon
Mets: 7
Marlins: 3
Winning pitcher: Brian Bohanon
Key player(s): Brian McRae, Bernard Gilkey, Carl Everett
Key play: McRae’s grand slam, Everett’s home run, Gilkey’s RBIs

The Mets faced the Marlins on a Saturday afternoon in Florida. The teams played the second of four games in an overlapping weekend series. Brian McRae hit a grand slam in the first inning to lift the Mets to a 7-3 win.

Marlins’ starter Alex Fernandez struck out both Carl Everett and Edgardo Alfonzo to begin the top of the first. John Olerud and Bernard Gilkey got back-to-back singles and Carlos Baerga drew a walk to load the bases. McRae followed with a grand slam to give the Mets a four-run lead. Fernandez fanned Todd Pratt for the third out of the inning. For New York, starter Brian Bohanon pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Fernandez hurled a perfect top of the second. To open the bottom of the inning, Jeff Conine singled and Moises Alou drew a walk. With Charles Johnson at bat, Conine and Alou pulled off a double steal. Third baseman Alfonzo made an error on the play that allowed Conine to score and Alou to move to third. Johnson walked and Kurt Abbott hit a double play ground ball to shortstop Rey Ordonez on which Alou came home for the second Florida run. Bohanon then retired Fernandez on a pop-up to Alfonzo to close out the inning.

After scoreless third and fourth innings, Everett homered to lead off the top of the fifth. Alfonzo hit a single and advanced to third base on a single by Olerud. Gilkey followed with a sacrifice fly to drive home Alfonzo and increase the Mets’ lead to 6-2. Fernandez got Baerga to hit a force play grounder to second baseman Abbott and retired McRae on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Devon White. Bohanon then set down the Fish in order in the bottom half.

Florida reliever Antonio Alfonseca hurled a perfect top of the sixth. Bohanon pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning and Everett reached on a wild pitch third strike to begin the top of the seventh. Alfonzo grounded back to Alfonseca, who followed up by throwing a called third strike past Olerud. Gilkey singled to score Everett with the Mets’ seventh run of the game. Alfonseca then got Baerga to pop out to shortstop Edgar Renteria and finish off the inning.

Alou drew a walk to open the bottom of the seventh. Johnson hit a double to bring home Alou with the Marlins’ third run and Bohanon was replaced on the mound by Mets’ reliever Cory Lidle. Abbott greeted Lidle with a single and a walk to pinch-hitter Cliff Floyd loaded the bases. White was retired on a fly ball to left fielder Gilkey. Lidle got Renteria to line out to second baseman Baerga, who then threw to first baseman Olerud to complete an inning-ending double play.

Florida reliever Kurt Miller pitched a scoreless top of the eighth. New York’s Greg McMichael set down the side in order in the bottom half and Everett singled against the Marlins’ Felix Heredia to begin the top of the ninth. Alfonzo flied out to White and a single by Olerud ensued. Heredia then threw a called third strike past Gilkey and fanned Luis Lopez for the inning’s final out.

Alou lined out to Gilkey to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Gregg Zaun was called out on strikes. McMichael then struck out Abbott to end the game. The Mets had a solid victory over the Fish.