Thursday, May 12, 2016

Game of the Day (5/12/91)

Mets 4, Giants 2 (11). San Francisco started Trevor Wilson, who was on the way to his best season. New York countered with Frank Viola, who was having one of his worst. It's still arguable which of them would end up with a better 1991.

New York opened the scoring in the top of the first, as Hubie Brooks doubled and Howard Johnson singled him home. Willie McGee singled in the bottom of the inning, but was caught stealing. However, Wilson was perfect in the second, and the Giants tied it in the home half on a Greg Litton double and a Steve Decker RBI single. Dave Anderson singled as well, but Wilson struck out to leave the go-ahead run in scoring position.

Viola drew a walk to lead off the third, and Tom Herr worked one as well one out later. A groundout moved the runners to second and third, but Johnson then struck out to leave them both on. Mike Felder also led off the third with a walk, but Viola ended the inning much more quickly, with the help of a double play from McGee. Kevin McReynolds opened the fourth with a double, but was still at second when the inning ended, and the Giants pulled ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the inning. Kevin Mitchell singled, but was caught stealing; however, Litton's walk and Decker's double were enough to produce a run after the second out was made.

Wilson was flawless in the fifth, while Viola worked around a leadoff hit from Felder in the bottom of the inning. Wilson was relieved by Mike LaCoss in the top of the sixth; in his absence, the Giant lead lasted two pitches, the second of which was hit over the right field fence by Johnson for a game-tying solo homer. LaCoss also allowed a single to McReynolds, but recovered to leave him on without another fair ball being hit. Viola worked a 1-2-3 sixth, while LaCoss gave up a Mark Carreon single and nothing else in the seventh. In the home seventh, pinch hitter Darnell Coles singled, moved to second on a groundout and reached third on an errant pickoff throw, but stalled there.

The rally attempts from both sides continued in the eighth. Jeff Brantley walked Johnson and gave up a single to McReynolds to start the top of the inning; a bunt and an intentional walk loaded the bases with one out, but pinch hitters Mackey Sasser and Daryl Boston popped up and struck out, respectively. Doug Simons took over for Viola in the bottom of the inning and allowed a two-out double to Matt Williams, but Jeff Innis relieved and left him on. Brantley struggled even more in the ninth, allowing two singles (Carreon and Brooks) and two walks (Johnson and McReynolds); a double play from Herr in the middle of the inning was all that kept the tie intact. Innis then managed a flawless bottom of the ninth, sending the game to extras.

Dave Righetti walked Chris Donnels to begin the tenth, and pinch hitter Keith Miller singled one batter later. Carreon then grounded into a double play to squander yet another scoring chance. John Franco relieved in the bottom of the inning and kept the bases clean. Tom Herr drew a free pass to start the eleventh; he stole second two outs later, and McReynolds was then intentionally walked. Dave Magadan followed with an RBI single, and Donnels added a single of his own to push the lead to 4-2. Franco retired the side in order again in the home eleventh to end the game.

This game entered the eighth inning tied at 2. From that point forward, the Mets limited San Francisco to one baserunner over the remaining four innings. Meanwhile, New York had multiple runners in every inning, drawing seven walks and adding six singles.

On the one hand, the Mets failed to convert on the first three of their golden opportunities. If they had gone on to lose, it would have been a very painful loss. But on the other hand, the team that creates the most opportunities usually wins, and that's what happened here.

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