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Hershiser Fails To Reach 200


Wade Boggs kept going forward on "Turn Back The Clock Day."

The 41-year-old third baseman moved closer to 3,000 career hits, singling twice and driving in a run Saturday to help the Tampa Bay Devil Rays beat the New York Mets 3-2.

The Mets wore uniforms from their 1969 world championship season, while the Devil Rays wore the uniforms of the old Tampa Tarpons, a one-time Cincinnati Reds minor league affiliate.

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Game Summary

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  • Tom Seaver threw out the first pitch, and Tug McGraw and Ron Swoboda sang the national anthem.

    Mike DiFelice hit a solo homer and left-hander Wilson Alvarez (5-6) shrugged off flu symptoms to allow five hits and strike out seven in six innings for the win.

    Boggs played down the significance of closing in on a milestone that only 20 other players have reached. He went 2-for-4 and needs 15 hits for 3,000.

    "It was special when I was 150 away. The most excitement is when you get it," Boggs said. "The anticipation, the build-up, is there. But you can't let that distract you from what you're trying to do."

    Both of his hits came off Hershiser (9-7), who settled down after a shaky start to keep New York in the game. The Mets starter gave up three runs, seven hits, struck out four and walked three in six innings.

    "I didn't make a real good adjustment from the bullpen to the mound. I'm not using that as an excuse. Don't write it as an excuse," Hershiser said. "I'm just giving you the facts."

    The victory was just the third in 15 interleague games for Tampa Bay and spoiled Hershiser's second bid to become the 95th pitcher to win 200 games.

    The Devil Rays built a 3-0 lead in the first two innings and made it stand after giving up 17 runs in losing the first two games of the series.

    "Orel didn't have his best stuff, that's for sure. He battled the best he could," Mets manager Bobby Valentine said. "Like a veteran can, he pitched through it. He was right on the edge of being pulled the entire time for three innings."

    Roberto Hernandez pitched the ninth for his 27th sav in 30 opportunities for Tampa Bay. Norm Charlton struck out Rickey Henderson with the bases loaded to escape a seventh-inning jam before Benny Agbayani's sacrifice fly trimmed the Mets' deficit to 3-2 in the eighth.

    Alvarez struck out six and limited the Mets to singles by John Olerud, Melvin Mora and Henderson in the first five innings. Thanks to a double play and DiFelice throwing Mora out trying to steal, the left-hander faced the minimum of 12 batters from the second through the fifth.

    Tampa Bay went to the bullpen after the sixth, fearing Alvarez was tiring after battling flu symptoms the past few days.

    "We went about as far as we could with him," manager Larry Rothschild said.

    One of the keys to the victory was keeping Roger Cedeno, who leads the majors with 50 steals, off base. The Mets outfielder went 0-for-3 with a walk.

    "Wilson didn't really give them many opportunities to get guys on base and we kind of slowed their running game down," DiFelice said. "They are a very dangerous team when they have guys on base."

    Tampa Bay scored twice after loading the bases on three walks in the first inning. Boggs singled off Hershiser for a 1-0 lead, and Bubba Trammell drove in the second run with a sacrifice fly.

    DiFelice's third homer, giving him 12 RBIs in his last six starts, made it 3-0 in the second.

    The Mets cut into the three-run deficit in the sixth when Henderson singled, moved to third on a single by Edgardo Alfonzo and scored on Olerud's sacrifice fly.

    Alfonzo doubled and Olerud singled before Agbayani's sacrifice fly the lead to 3-2.

    Notes:

  • The crowd of 40,186 was the largest at Tropicana Field since 40,425 turned out for the home opener on April 9
  • Tampa Bay's Dave Martinez returned to the lineup after missing two games with food poisoning.
  • Boggs extended his hitting streak to nine games.
  • The Mets stole eight bases in the series none Saturday. They were caught stealing five times, once by DiFelice, who has thrown out six consecutive base stealers. The catcher also picked Agbayani off second base after the first two batters reached base for the Mets in the seventh inning
  • Tampa Bay pitchers walked 16 in the first two games of the series. Only once in the club's brief history have they walked more in consecutive games. Last July 28-29, the White Sox drew 17 walks off Devil Rays pitching. The Mets drew four more walks Saturday.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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