April 18, 2003: Clark's Homer Sinks Marlins

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Date: April 18, 2003
Mets starter: Al Leiter
Mets: 6
Marlins: 3
Winning pitcher: David Weathers
Key player(s): Mike Piazza, Ty Wigginton, Tony Clark
Key play: Piazza’s and Wigginton’s RBI singles, Clark’s home run

The Mets faced the Marlins on a Friday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Tony Clark hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to give the Mets a 6-3 win over Florida.

Mets’ starter Al Leiter pitched a perfect top of the first. Cliff Floyd singled against the Marlins’ Mark Redman with two outs in the bottom half. Mike Piazza drew a walk and Mo Vaughn hit a single to drive home Floyd for a 1-0 Mets lead. Redman then retired Ty Wigginton on a ground ball to shortstop Mike Mordecai for the third out.

After scoreless second and third innings, Luis Castillo singled to open the top of the fourth. Castillo stole second base and scored the tying run on a single by Juan Encarnacion. Mike Lowell drew a walk and stole second. Derrek Lee followed with a double that brought home Encarnacion and Lowell for a 3-1 Florida lead. Mike Redmond grounded out to third baseman Wigginton and a strikeout of Todd Hollandsworth followed. Mordecai was given an intentional walk and stole second. Leiter fanned Redman to close out the inning. Redman then surrendered just a walk to Jeromy Burnitz in the bottom half.

Leiter shut down the Fish in the top of the fifth. Roberto Alomar got a leadoff double in the bottom of the inning. Alomar moved to third base on Rey Sanchez’s ground out to second baseman Castillo. Floyd popped out to first baseman Lee and a single by Piazza plated Alomar, cutting the Marlins’ lead to 3-2. Redman struck out Vaughn to end the inning and a single by Lee began the top of the sixth. Lee stole second and Leiter struck out the next three batters to finish off the inning. Florida reliever Michael Tejera then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Mets’ reliever Graeme Lloyd retired the side in order in the top of the seventh. Floyd singled against Tejera with one out in the bottom of the inning. Piazza drew a walk and Vaughn was struck out. Wigginton hit a single against Marlins’ reliever Vladimir Nunez to drive home Floyd and tie the game at 3-3. Nunez then fanned Burnitz to end the inning.

Mets’ reliever David Weathers hurled a scoreless top of the eighth. Roger Cedeno got a one-out single in the bottom half. Alomar drew a walk and Clark came up to pinch hit for Sanchez. Tony delivered a homer that put the Mets ahead by three runs. Floyd went down on strikes and Piazza singled. Nunez then retired Vaughn on a fly ball to left fielder Hollandsworth to finish off the inning.

Mets’ reliever Armando Benitez struck out Mordecai to start the top of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Brian Banks drew a walk and Juan Pierre singled to center field. Benitez got Castillo to hit a ground ball to second baseman Alomar for a game-ending double play. The Mets had a victory to begin the weekend series.