September 5, 1998: Phillips' Homer in 8th Beats Braves

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Date: September 5, 1998
Mets starter: Bobby Jones
Mets: 5
Braves: 4
Winning pitcher: Turk Wendell
Key player(s): John Olerud, Tony Phillips
Key play: Olerud’s and Phillips’ home runs

The Mets faced the Braves on a Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played in front of 43,573 fans on hand. Tony Phillips hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to lift the Mets to a 5-4 win over Atlanta.

Bobby Jones and the Braves’ Kevin Millwood each started the game with four scoreless innings pitched. Leading off the top of the fifth, Andruw Jones homered for a one-run Atlanta lead. Greg Colbrunn was hit by a pitch and Bobby Jones retired the next three batters to end the inning. Edgardo Alfonzo got an infield single with two outs in the bottom half. John Olerud followed with a home run to put the Mets ahead, 2-1. Millwood then got Mike Piazza on a line drive to right fielder Michael Tucker for the inning’s final out.

Chipper Jones got a one-out single in the top of the sixth. Ryan Klesko drew a walk and Javy Lopez singled to drive home Chipper Jones with the tying run. Andruw Jones hit a single to load the bases and Colbrunn doubled to score Klesko and Lopez for a 4-2 Braves lead. Bobby Jones struck out Tony Graffanino and Millwood to finish off the inning and consecutive singles by Brian McRae and Lenny Harris opened the bottom half. Carlos Baerga flied out to left fielder Klesko and a single by Rey Ordonez loaded the bases. Atlanta reliever Odalis Perez then fanned pinch-hitter Todd Pratt and retired Phillips on a fly ball to Tucker to end the inning.

Mets’ reliever Rigo Beltran hurled a scoreless top of the seventh. Olerud got a one-out single against Perez in the bottom half. Piazza singled off the Braves’ Dennis Martinez to advance Olerud to third base. Atlanta reliever John Rocker got McRae to hit a force play ground ball to second baseman Graffanino that plated Olerud with the third New York run. Rocker retired pinch-hitter Butch Huskey on an inning-ending fly ball to right fielder Gerald Williams. Mets’ reliever Turk Wendell then set down the side in order in the top of the eighth.

Braves’ reliever Rudy Seanez got Baerga to ground out to first baseman Colbrunn to begin the bottom of the eighth inning. Ordonez was retired on a fly ball to Klesko and a walk to pinch-hitter Matt Franco ensued. Ralph Milliard came in as a pinch-runner and Phillips came up to bat. Tony slugged a homer that gave the Mets a one-run lead. Seanez then struck out Alfonzo to end the inning.

Mets’ reliever John Franco threw a called third strike past Graffanino to start the top of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Wes Helms (in his major league debut) was called out on strikes and a walk to pinch-hitter Eddie Perez followed. John Franco then got Williams to pop out to third baseman Alfonzo and end the game. The Mets had a comeback victory.