April 5, 1998: Yoshii Leads Shutout of Pirates

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Date: April 5, 1998
Mets starter: Masato Yoshii
Mets: 7
Pirates: 0
Winning pitcher: Masato Yoshii
Key player(s): Masato Yoshii, Luis Lopez, Bernard Gilkey, Edgardo Alfonzo
Key play: Garcia’s error, Alfonzo’s home run

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Sunday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played the third of four games in an overlapping weekend series. Masato Yoshii and two relievers teamed up for a shutout in a 7-0 Mets win over Pittsburgh.

Yoshii (in his major league debut) retired the side in order in the top of the first inning. Edgardo Alfonzo singled against Bucs’ starter Jose Silva to lead off the bottom half. Alfonzo stole second base and stayed there on Luis Lopez’s ensuing infield single. Bernard Gilkey followed with a single on which third baseman Freddy Garcia made an error, allowing Alfonzo and Lopez to come home. John Olerud grounded out to first baseman Kevin Young and a single by Butch Huskey scored Gilkey for a 3-0 Mets lead. Silva then struck out Rich Becker and got Alberto Castillo on a force play ground ball to shortstop Lou Collier to end the inning.

Yoshii and Silva each pitched scoreless ball from the second inning to the fifth. Masato set down all three batters in the top of the sixth and Huskey drew a leadoff walk in the bottom half. Becker hit a single and Castillo followed with a sacrifice bunt to send the runners to second and third base. With Rey Ordonez at bat, a passed ball by catcher Jason Kendall brought home Huskey and advanced Becker to third. Ordonez singled to score Becker and increase the Mets’ lead to 5-0. A sacrifice bunt by Yoshii moved Ordonez to second. Silva then retired Alfonzo on a fly ball to right fielder Jose Guillen for the inning’s third out.

Yoshii shut down the Pirates in the top of the seventh. Pittsburgh reliever Jeff Tabaka hurled a scoreless bottom half and the Mets’ Greg McMichael set down the side in order in the top of the eighth. Brian McRae hit a two-out double in the bottom of the inning. Alfonzo homered to extend the Mets’ lead to seven runs. Tabaka retired Lopez on a fly ball to left fielder Al Martin to end the inning and Kendall singled against New York’s Mel Rojas to begin the top of the ninth. Martin followed with a force play grounder to third baseman Alfonzo. Young flied out to left fielder Gilkey and a single by Jermaine Allensworth ensued. Guillen then grounded back to Rojas for the final out of the game. The Mets had a shutout victory.