Edgardo Alfonzo's two homers send Johnson to 8-4 defeat
Posted: Wednesday October 06, 1999 09:04 AM
John Olerud congratulates Edgardo Alfonzo after Alfonzo's go-ahead grand slam. AP
PHOENIX (AP) -- Edgardo Alfonzo ruined Randy Johnson at the start
and buried the Arizona Diamondbacks at the finish.
Alfonzo, who had a solo home run in the first inning, hit a
grand slam with two outs in the ninth off reliever Bobby Chouinard
as the New York Mets beat the Diamondbacks 8-4 Tuesday night in the
opener of their NL playoff series.
Johnson, who left the game with the bases loaded and one out in
the ninth, lost his sixth straight postseason decision, a major
league record. He struck out 11 and held on through an exhausting
138 pitches as Arizona rallied from a 4-1 deficit to tie it at 4.
John Olerud became the first left-handed batter to hit a homer
off Johnson in two years with his two-run shot in the third that
made it 3-0.
The Diamondbacks rallied on home runs by Erubiel Durazo and Luis
Gonzalez to make it 4-all.
Johnson settled down to pitch four hitless innings, but another
lefty, Robin Ventura, led off the ninth with a single. With one
out, Rey Ordonez singled, then Johnson walked Melvin Mora to load
the bases and bring on Chouinard.
Third baseman Matt Williams made a diving stop, his second of
the game, on Rickey Henderson's grounder, and threw home to force
But Alfonzo hit Chouinard's 3-1 pitch just inside the left field
foul pole for the grand slam.
Johnson, whose postseason record fell to 2-6, allowed seven runs
on eight hits. Turk Wendell pitched one inning and was the winner.
"I didn't know if it was a foul or fair ball," Alfonzo said.
"I was waiting, and then they said it was fair."
Johnson now is in sole possession of the longest postseason
losing streak by a pitcher. Joe Bush (1914-23) and Doyle Anderson
(1973-87) both lost five in a row.
"Randy Johnson is one of the best pitchers in baseball right
now," Alfonzo said. "You have to be patient and wait for a pitch
The Mets showed no sign of being emotionally spent despite an
overnight flight from their 5-0 wild-card playoff victory Monday
night at Cincinnati.
With one out in the first, Alfonzo, who had 27 homers in the
regular season, hit Johnson's 0-2 pitch over the left-center field
wall. On Monday night, Alfonzo also homered in the first inning the
previous day against the Reds.
Olerud and Mike Piazza followed with singles before Johnson
struck out Benny Agbayani and Ventura to end the inning. Johnson
retired the side in order in the second, but walked Henderson to
start the third.
With one out, Olerud made it 3-0 when he hit Johnson's 2-2 pitch
over the right-field fence, the first left-hander to hit a homer
off the Big Unit since Jim Edmonds did it twice on Sept. 23, 1997.
Arizona cut the lead to 3-1 in the third when Tony Womack
tripled to deep left field, then scored on Jay Bell's sacrifice
fly. Ventura led off the fourth with a double, moved to second on
Shawon Dunston's bunt single and scored on a sacrifice bunt by Rey
Ordonez to make it 4-1.
Durazo, who started the season in Double-A El Paso but became
Arizona's starting first baseman in July, made it 4-2 with a solo
homer in the fourth.
Bell led off the sixth with a single, then Gonzalez hit a home
run an estimated 452 feet into the right-field seats to tie it at
Johnson was coming off what he has called his best season, when
he struck out 364, fourth-most in baseball history, and led the
National League in ERA at 2.48.
Notes: Mets Manager Bobby Valentine said Orel Hershiser likely
will not start any games in the series. ... Henderson stole second
twice. ... The Mets committed just 68 errors in the regular season,
a major league record. ... Three of the first six hits off Johnson
were by left-handed batters. ... Johnson threw 78 pitches in the
first four innings. ... Williams saved a run with a diving stop on
pitcher Masato Yoshii's grounder with a runner at second in the
fourth inning. ... The 49,584 at the game made up the largest paid
crowd in Bank One Ballpark's two-year history.
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