April 11, 2002: Astacio Leads Mets Past Cubs

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Date: April 11, 2002
Mets starter: Pedro Astacio
Mets: 3
Cubs: 2
Winning pitcher: Pedro Astacio
Key player(s): Pedro Astacio, Edgardo Alfonzo, Mike Piazza
Key play: Alfonzo’s single, Piazza’s home run

The Mets faced the Cubs on a Thursday afternoon in Chicago. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. Pedro Astacio held the Cubs scoreless for seven innings in an eventual 3-2 Mets win.

The Mets failed to score after loading the bases against Cubs’ starter Juan Cruz in the top of the first. Corey Patterson drew a one-out walk against Astacio in the bottom half. Sammy Sosa hit a single and Fred McGriff flied out to center fielder Jay Payton. Alex Gonzalez hit a force play ground ball to third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo for the third out and Cruz pitched a scoreless top of the second. Astacio then set down the side in order in the bottom half.

Roberto Alomar singled with one out in the top of the third. Alomar stole second base and Mike Piazza went down on strikes. Alfonzo singled to drive home Alomar and give the Mets a 1-0 lead. Jeromy Burnitz grounded back to Cruz for the inning’s final out and Patterson got a single with two outs in the bottom half. Astacio then hit Sosa with a pitch and retired McGriff on a foul fly ball to right fielder Burnitz to close out the inning.

Cruz set down all nine Mets batters from the fourth inning to the sixth. Astacio responded with a trio of scoreless bottom halves and Rey Ordonez singled against Cruz with one out in the top of the seventh. Ordonez advanced to second base on Astacio’s sacrifice bunt and came around to score as Roger Cedeno reached on an error by second baseman Delino DeShields. Chicago reliever Donovan Osborne retired Mark Johnson on a ground ball to first baseman McGriff to finish off the inning. Astacio then yielded only a single to Joe Girardi in the bottom half.

Osborne got Alomar on a fly ball to left fielder Roosevelt Brown to begin the top of the eighth. Against Cubs’ reliever Joe Borowski, Piazza homered to increase the Mets’ lead to 3-0. Alfonzo was called out on strikes and Borowski retired Burnitz on a fly ball to Brown that ended the inning. Sosa hit a solo home run with one out in the bottom half. McGriff singled and Astacio was replaced on the mound by Mets’ reliever Kane Davis. Gonzalez and Brown greeted Davis singles that loaded the bases and Scott Strickland came in to pitch for New York. Pinch-hitter Mario Encarnacion lined out to Strickland, who then threw to Alfonzo for an out at third base on McGriff and an inning-ending double play.

Cubs’ reliever Carlos Zambrano retired the side on three straight infield grounders in the top of the ninth. Leading off the bottom half, Mark Bellhorn hit a home run against the Mets’ Armando Benitez. Girardi singled and moved to second base on DeShields’ sacrifice bunt. Patterson grounded out to second baseman Alomar to advance Girardi to third. Benitez then got Sosa to pop out to shortstop Ordonez and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a series-closing victory.