September 27, 1997: Castillo's Double in 9th Beats Braves

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Date: September 27, 1997
Mets starter: Rick Reed
Mets: 2
Braves: 1
Winning pitcher: Joe Crawford
Key player(s): Alberto Castillo, John Olerud, Rick Reed
Key play: Olerud’s sacrifice fly, Castillo’s double

The Mets played the Atlanta Braves on a Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams faced each other in the penultimate game of the regular season. Alberto Castillo hit a run-scoring double in the ninth inning to give the Mets a 2-1 victory over the division-winning Braves.

Rick Reed and Atlanta starter John Smoltz dueled in a scoreless battle for the first six innings of the game. Reed surrendered two hits and struck out five batters from the first to the sixth. Meanwhile, Smoltz recorded eight strikeouts in pitching two-hit ball himself. In the top of the seventh, Reed gave up a one-out double to Greg Colbrunn before striking out Ryan Klesko. Rick followed up by getting Javy Lopez for an inning-ending ground out to third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo. Atlanta reliever Mike Cather then pitched a perfect bottom half.

In the top of the eighth inning, Michael Tucker led off with a single and went to second base on right fielder Butch Huskey’s error. Tucker moved to third on Rafael Belliard’s sacrifice bunt. Tommy Gregg drew a walk and Andruw Jones reached on a fielder’s choice grounder to score Tucker. Reed then got Mike Mordecai to hit a ground ball to shortstop Rey Ordonez for a double play to end the inning.

Braves’ reliever Mark Wohlers walked pinch-hitter Carlos Mendoza to start the bottom of the eighth. Matt Franco followed with a pinch-hit single. A sacrifice bunt by Carl Everett advanced Mendoza to third and pinch-runner Shawn Gilbert to second. Alfonzo walked to load the bases. John Olerud hit a fly ball to center fielder Jones that brought home Mendoza to tie the game. Wohlers then got Bernard Gilkey to hit into a force play for the third out.

Mets’ reliever Joe Crawford shut down Atlanta in the top of the ninth inning. With one out in the bottom half, Luis Lopez drew a walk and stole second base. Castillo hit an ensuing double to right field. Lopez scored easily to end the game. The Mets had an exciting win over the National League East Division champions.