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Vizcaino Strings Nine Straight Hits

April 26, 1996

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Last Saturday, the day after Jonathan Vizcaino was born, his dad, Jose, got the game-winning hit for the New York Mets.

Pop hasn’t stopped hitting since.

There was another hit on Sunday, a home run on Monday and then a remarkable streak of nine straight hits that ended Wednesday.

During the streak, which set a Mets club record, Vizcaino had five singles, three doubles and a triple. The stretch ended in the eighth inning of the Mets’ 9-3 victory over when Vizcaino, already equipped with two singles, a double and triple in the game, struck out.

``I was trying to go for the cycle,″ he confessed. ``It was the biggest mistake I ever made.″

The nine straight hits broke Mets club records of eight straight set by Jerry Grote in 1970 and matched by Keith Hernandez in 1985. The National League record for consecutive hits is 10, held by nine players. The last to do it was Bip Roberts in 1992. The major league record is 12 set in 1938 by Pinky Higgins and matched in 1952 by Walt Dropo.

Vizcaino left last Friday night’s game after one inning when he got word that his wife, Jessica, was giving birth. At the time, he was batting an ordinary .239. After the arrival of Jonathan, papa Vizcaino went 12-for-23, raising his average to .333.

The hot stretch was not that unusual, according to manager Dallas Green.

``He goes in streaks,″ Green said. ``He runs a real hot hand like he is now and then he backs down a little. But he got some real big hits for us last year and he’s doing the same this year.″

Vizcaino was squeezed out of the Mets shortstop job by the arrival of rookie Rey Ordonez, but shifted to second and has been a solid contributor.

``I’m a better hitter now than I ever was,″ he said.

After he tripled for his ninth straight hit, Vizcaino scored on a single by Bernard Gilkey.

Ordonez and Butch Huskey welcomed him by rubbing their arms on his back, hoping some of his hits would rub off on them. That followed a ritual that began in training camp when Huskey was hitting nine home runs and teammates were trying to transfer some of his offense.

Sure enough, after the reverse rubbing, Huskey followed with his first home run of the season and Vizcaino struck out in his next at-bat.

``I guess I took some of his hits out of him,″ Huskey said. ``I’m sorry for him but it ’s OK for me. I’m no dummy. They all rubbed me in spring training and took it all away from me.″

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