April 28, 1999: Piazza Homers in 9th Inning
|Date: April 28, 1999|
|Mets starter: Al Leiter|
|Winning pitcher: Turk Wendell|
|Key player(s): John Olerud, Mike Piazza|
|Key play: Piazza's home run|
The Mets and Padres faced each other on a Wednesday night at Shea Stadium. After losing to San Diego the previous night, the Mets looked to even things up with the defending National League Champions. A two-run homer by Mike Piazza in the ninth inning gave the Mets a 4-3 win.
Mets' starter Al Leiter retired the first two Padre hitters in the top of the first inning. He then walked Tony Gwynn and yielded a run-scoring double to Phil Nevin. Leiter got Wally Joyner on a ground ball to second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo for the third out of the inning. The Mets tied the game in the bottom half on John Olerud's solo home run off San Diego starter Sterling Hitchcock.
Leiter and Hitchcock each pitched scoreless ball in the second and third innings. In the top of the fourth, Joyner walked with one out and Dave Magadan hit into an inning-ending double play. Alfonzo doubled to score Piazza and give the Mets a 2-1 lead in the bottom half. In the fifth and sixth innings, neither team scored a run despite a total of five hits between them.
Joyner walked to lead off the top of the seventh inning. Magadan followed with a single and Ruben Rivera's ground out advanced the runners to second and third base. Leiter struck out Damian Jackson and retired pinch-hitter Eric Owens on a grounder to Alfonzo for the third out. The Mets were then shut down by Padres' reliever Carlos Reyes in the bottom of the inning.
Armando Benitez came in to pitch for the Mets in the top of the eighth. Quilvio Veras led off with a walk and stole second base. Benitez struck out Reggie Sanders and gave up a double to Gwynn that brought home Veras. Nevin followed with another double to score Gywnn and put San Diego ahead, 3-2. After an intentional walk to Joyner, Benitez set down the next two batters to end the inning. The Mets then failed to score in the bottom half.
In the top of the ninth, Mets' reliever Turk Wendell retired the Padres in order. Olerud led off the bottom of the inning with a single off San Diego's Trevor Hoffman. Piazza followed with a home run to end the game. The Mets had an exciting victory.