April 30, 2002: Mets Drub D'Backs in Desert

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Date: April 30, 2002
Mets starter: Al Leiter
Mets: 10
Diamondbacks: 1
Winning pitcher: Al Leiter
Key player(s): Mike Piazza, Joe McEwing, Roberto Alomar
Key play: Piazza’s two homers, McEwing’s homer

The Mets faced the Diamondbacks on a Tuesday night in Phoenix. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. The Mets compiled eleven hits in the first three innings and rolled to a 10-1 win over Arizona.

Roberto Alomar singled to open the top of the first. Roger Cedeno flied out to left fielder Luis Gonzalez and a single by Mo Vaughn advanced Alomar to third base. Mike Piazza followed with a home run for a 3-0 Mets lead. Edgardo Alfonzo singled and Jeromy Burnitz drew a walk. A fly ball by Jay Payton was caught by Gonzalez for the second out. Diamondbacks’ starter Rick Helling then retired Joe McEwing on an inning-ending grounder to first baseman Mark Grace.

For the Mets, Al Leiter pitched a scoreless bottom of the first inning. Leiter took a called third strike leading off the top of the second and Alomar hit a triple to center field. Cedeno reached on a ground ball to drive home Alomar. Vaughn grounded out to Grace to advance Cedeno to second base. Piazza connected for his second homer of the game to extend the Mets’ lead to six runs. Alfonzo flied out to center fielder Danny Bautista to end the inning. Leiter then set down the Snakes in order in the bottom half.

Payton reached on an error by shortstop Tony Womack with one out in the top of the third inning. McEwing hit a two-run homer and Leiter singled. Brian Anderson came in to pitch for Arizona and gave up singles to Alomar and Cedeno to load the bases. Vaughn followed with a single on which Leiter came home. Piazza’s ensuing ground out to Grace plated Alomar to increase the Mets’ lead to 10-0. Anderson then retired Alfonzo on a fly ball to Gonzalez for the final out of the inning.

With one out in the bottom of the third, Craig Counsell reached second base on an error by left fielder Cedeno. Anderson and Womack were hit by pitches to load the bases. Junior Spivey reached on an error by Leiter that allowed Counsell to score the first run for the D’Backs. Gonzalez lined out to second baseman Alomar. Roberto then threw to shortstop McEwing for an out on Womack to complete an inning-ending double play.

Anderson and Leiter each pitched scoreless fourth and fifth innings. Snakes’ reliever Mike Morgan shut down the Mets despite singles by Vaughn and Alfonzo in the top of the sixth. Leiter hurled a scoreless bottom half and John Valentin got a pinch-hit single with two outs in the top of the seventh. Cedeno followed with a single to left field. Morgan got Vaughn to fly out to Bautista and end the inning. Leiter then retired the Diamondbacks 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Pinch-hitter Vance Wilson doubled against Arizona’s Jose Parra to lead off the top of the eighth. Trying to advance on the hit, Wilson was out via a throw by right fielder Jose Guillen to third baseman Counsell. Parra set down Alfonzo and Burnitz on consecutive fly balls to Bautista for the inning’s final outs. For the Mets, Grant Roberts retired all three batters in the bottom half. D’Backs’ reliever Eddie Oropesa then pitched a perfect top of the ninth inning.

Mets’ reliever Kane Davis got Guillen to ground out to first baseman Mark Johnson to start the bottom of the ninth. Bautista went down on strikes. Davis then retired Rod Barajas on a ground ball to second baseman McEwing (who had shifted from shortstop) to end the game. The Mets had a solid victory to begin the series in the desert.