April 8, 2003: Wigginton's Homer Lifts Mets Over Fish

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Date: April 8, 2003
Mets starter: Al Leiter
Mets: 4
Marlins: 2
Winning pitcher: Al Leiter
Key player(s): Ty Wigginton, Tsuyoshi Shinjo
Key play: Shinjo’s sacrifice fly, Wigginton’s home run

The Mets faced the Marlins on a Tuesday night in Miami. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Ty Wigginton’s three-run homer led the way to a 4-2 Mets win over Florida.

Following a scoreless first inning, Wigginton singled to open the top of the second. Jeromy Burnitz reached on an error by first baseman Derrek Lee to advance Wigginton to third base. Tsuyoshi Shinjo followed with a sacrifice fly to score Wigginton for a 1-0 Mets lead. Al Leiter’s sacrifice bunt moved Burnitz to second and Marlins’ starter Mark Redman retired Roberto Alomar on an inning-ending ground ball to third baseman Mike Lowell. Leiter then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Cliff Floyd drew a one-out walk in the top of the third inning. Mike Piazza singled to send Floyd to third base and Mo Vaughn popped out to Lowell. Wigginton followed with a home run to extend the Mets’ lead to 4-0. Redman got Burnitz on a pop-up to shortstop Alex Gonzalez to end the inning and Juan Pierre reached second on a single and an error by catcher Piazza with one out in the bottom half. Ivan Rodriguez drew a walk and Lee singled to drive home Pierre. Leiter then got Lowell to hit a grounder to third baseman Wigginton for a double play that closed out the inning.

Redman gave up just a single to Shinjo in the top of the fourth. Leiter hurled a perfect bottom half and Redman shut down the Mets in the top of the fifth. Luis Castillo got a one-out single in the bottom of the inning. Pierre followed with a bunt single and Rodriguez walked to load the bases. Lee hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Castillo for the second Florida run of the game. Leiter then got Lowell on a force play grounder to shortstop Rey Sanchez to close out the inning.

After a scoreless sixth, Redman set down the side in order in the top of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Mike Mordecai singled against Leiter to lead off the bottom half. Castillo hit a force play ground ball to Sanchez and moved to second base on Pierre’s ground out to first baseman Vaughn. Rodriguez drew a walk and Mets’ reliever David Weathers got Lee to hit an inning-ending force play grounder to Sanchez. With two outs in the top of the eighth, Wigginton doubled against the Marlins’ Vladimir Nunez. Florida reliever Armando Almanza retired Burnitz on a fly ball to center fielder Pierre to finish off the inning. For New York, Weathers and reliever Mike Stanton combined for a scoreless bottom half.

Fish reliever Braden Looper yielded only a single to Shinjo in the top of the ninth. Castillo singled against the Mets’ Armando Benitez with one out in the bottom of the inning. Pierre grounded out to second baseman Alomar and a walk to Rodriguez ensued. Benitez then got Lee on a fly ball to left fielder Floyd to end the game. The Mets had a victory to open the series.