April 18, 2002: Leiter Pitches Two-Hit Shutout

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Date: April 18, 2002
Mets starter: Al Leiter
Mets: 1
Expos: 0
Winning pitcher: Al Leiter
Key player(s): Al Leiter, Mike Piazza
Key play: Piazza’s double in 4th

The Mets faced the Expos on a Thursday night in Montreal. The teams played the opener of a four-game series at Olympic Stadium. Al Leiter pitched a two-hit shutout in a 1-0 Mets win.

Leiter and the Expos’ Javier Vazquez each pitched three scoreless innings to start the game. Al set down all nine Montreal batters while Vazquez limited the Mets to doubles by Timo Perez and Rey Ordonez. In the top of the fourth, Roberto Alomar led off with a single to center field. Mike Piazza doubled to drive home Alomar with the game’s first run. Edgardo Alfonzo flied out to right fielder Vladimir Guerrero. Jeromy Burnitz was retired on a fly ball to Guerrero that advanced Piazza to third base. Vazquez got Mark Johnson to fly out to left fielder Lou Collier and end the inning. Leiter then retired the Expos in order once again in the bottom half.

Vazquez yielded only an infield single to Roger Cedeno in the top of the fifth. To open the bottom of the inning, Michael Barrett hit a double to left field. Lee Stevens was called out on strikes and Orlando Cabrera grounded out to second baseman Alomar. Chris Truby drew a walk and Collier hit an inning-ending force play ground ball to shortstop Ordonez. Vazquez retired the Mets 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth. With two outs in the bottom half, Jose Vidro doubled for the second Montreal hit. Leiter then issued an intentional walk to Guerrero and got Barrett on a grounder to Alomar for the inning’s third out.

Leiter and Vazquez each hurled perfect seventh and eighth innings. Piazza got a one-out single against Expos’ reliever Matt Herges in the top of the ninth. Alfonzo took a called third strike and Burnitz singled to send Piazza to third base. Herges then retired Johnson on a ground ball to second baseman Vidro to close out the inning.

Vidro grounded out to Ordonez to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Guerrero was retired on a ground ball to third baseman Alfonzo. Leiter then struck out Barrett to end the game. The Mets had a shutout victory on Al’s complete game to start the weekend series.