April 14, 1998: Leiter Leads Shutout of Cubs

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Date: April 14, 1998
Mets starter: Al Leiter
Mets: 6
Cubs: 0
Winning pitcher: Al Leiter
Key player(s): Al Leiter, Bernard Gilkey
Key play: Leiter’s and Gilkey’s singles

The Mets faced the Cubs on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Al Leiter and two relievers teamed up for a shutout in a 6-0 Mets win over Chicago.

Leiter and Cubs’ starter Geremi Gonzalez each started the game with three scoreless innings pitched. Al hurled a scoreless top of the fourth and Luis Lopez hit a double to lead off the bottom half. Lopez advanced to third base on a balk and came home on a single by Bernard Gilkey. John Olerud singled and Butch Huskey flied out to right fielder Sammy Sosa. Brian McRae hit a single to score Gilkey and moved to second on a throw. Tim Spehr was walked intentionally to load the bases and Rey Ordonez went down on strikes. Leiter followed with a single to bring home Olerud and McRae for a 4-0 Mets lead. Edgardo Alfonzo reached on shortstop Jeff Blauser’s error to load the bases once again. Gonzalez then retired Lopez on a fly ball to center fielder Jose Hernandez to finish off the inning.

Leiter and Chicago reliever Amaury Telemaco each pitched scoreless fifth and sixth innings. Al gave up only a single to Kevin Orie in the top of the seventh and pinch-hitter Rich Becker doubled to begin the bottom half. Alfonzo popped out to Telemaco on a bunt attempt and a single by Lopez sent Becker to third base. Gilkey singled to drive home Becker and increase the Mets’ lead to 5-0. Olerud drew a walk against the Cubs’ Ben VanRyn that loaded the bases. Chicago’s Marc Pisciotta then got Huskey to hit a ground ball to Blauser for an inning-ending double play.

Mets’ reliever Greg McMichael gave up only a single to Brant Brown in the top of the eighth. Ordonez got a two-out single in the bottom half. Becker drew a walk and Alfonzo singled to plate Ordonez with the Mets’ sixth run. Pisciotta retired Lopez on a grounder to second baseman Manny Alexander to end the inning and Mark Grace walked against New York’s John Hudek to open the top of the ninth. Grace stole second base as Sosa was struck out and Orie flied out to left fielder Gilkey. Henry Rodriguez and pinch-hitter Mickey Morandini drew consecutive walks to load the bases. Hudek then fanned Scott Servais for the game’s final out. The Mets had a shutout victory to start the series.