Remembering Mets History (1996) Alex Ochoa Hits For the Cycle

Wednesday, July 3, 1996: A large crowd of 43,000 came to Veterans Stadium to see Dallas Green's visiting New York Mets (38-45) take on Jim Fregosi's Philadelphia Phillies (34-48). Both teams were at the bottom of the NL East & would finish fourth (Mets) & fifth (Phils) at the end of the year.

The '96 Mets had a spectacular year from Todd Hundley who set a Mets record at the time with most HRs in a season (41). He also drove in 112 runs. Bernard Gilkey hit 30 HRs & led the club with 117 RBIs. 

Lance Johnson set a Mets record with 227 hits while batting .333. In 82 games a young Alex Ochoa batted .294 in 82 games. This game was his best. On this day Ochoa had a career day. He hit for the cycle with five hits, three RBIs & three runs scored.

The starting pitchers were Terry Mulholland for Philly & Mark Clark for New York. Clark was the Mets best pitcher of 1996 going 14-11 with a 3.42 ERA.

Ochoa, had just come up to the club from AAA Norfolk on June 22nd. He started out his big night with a base hit to center field, in his first at bat. He advanced Jeff Kent who scored on Butch Huskey's base hit. The Phils tied it with Pete Incaviglia's triple in the bottom of the frame. A Todd Zeile double, put the Phils up 2-1.

The Mets had a big 4th, with one out Jeff Kent doubled. Todd Hundley doubled him in to tie it. Next young Alex Ocoa tripled to right field, scoring Hundley. Ochoa came home on Rey Ordonez's base hit, giving New York a 4-0 lead.

In the 6th inning, the Mets were leading 4-3, Ochoa doubled off Mulholland , for his third hit of the evening. Butch Huskey followed with a HR, putting the Mets up 6-3. 

But Clark lost the lead in the bottom of the 6th, with RBI hits from former Met, Greg Jefferies & future Met, Todd Zeile. It was a tie game until the 8th.

In the 8th, Ochoa hit a solo HR, his first of the year & more importantly, he completed the cycle & gave the Mets a 8-6 lead. The HR came off reliever, Ken Ryan.

In the 9th inning, with reliever Steve Frey on the mound, Bernard Gilkey hit his 6th HR of the year. Jeff Kent then drew a walk & advanced on a passed ball. Ochoa then came up & doubled, scoring Kent with the Mets tenth run of the game. The Mets won the game 10-6 and Alex Ochoa finished the day batting .390.

The winning Mets pitcher that day was Paul Byrd & Doug Henry recorded the save. It was Henry's sixth save of the year, he was filling in for John Franco who was out with a bad back. He would save nine on the year, second to Franco's 28.

Trivia: Bobby Valentine would take over as manager in late August.


Anonymous said…
Can we get some sort of concerted fan effort to get the Mets to go back to their pinstriped uniforms with the blue hats, at the very least, once every homestand?

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