August 18, 1998: Four Homers Sink Rockies in DH Opener

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Date: August 18, 1998
Mets starter: Al Leiter
Mets: 6
Rockies: 2
Winning pitcher: Al Leiter
Key player(s): Edgardo Alfonzo, Todd Hundley, John Olerud, Brian McRae
Key play: Mets’ four home runs

The Mets and Rockies faced each other in a doubleheader on a Tuesday evening. The teams played a two-hour and thirty-six minute opener of the twinbill at Shea Stadium. The Mets slugged four home runs for a 6-2 win over Colorado.

Mets’ starter Al Leiter pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. Tony Phillips singled against the Rockies’ Pedro Astacio to lead off the bottom half. Edgardo Alfonzo was hit by a pitch and John Olerud followed with a force play ground ball to first baseman Todd Helton. A single by Mike Piazza scored Phillips for a 1-0 Mets lead. Astacio then retired Brian McRae on a fly ball to right fielder Larry Walker and threw a called third strike past Todd Hundley to end the inning.

After a scoreless second, Leiter gave up just a single to Neifi Perez in the top of the third. Alfonzo homered for the Mets’ second run to begin the bottom half. Astacio set down the next three New York batters and Dante Bichette reached on an error by third baseman Alfonzo to open the top of the fourth. Vinny Castilla hit a double and Helton went down on strikes. Mike Lansing popped out to shortstop Rey Ordonez and an intentional walk to Kirt Manwaring loaded the bases. Leiter then fanned Astacio for the inning’s final out.

Hundley hit a home run to begin the bottom of the fourth. Astacio retired the next three hitters to end the inning and Darryl Hamilton doubled to lead off the top of the fifth. Hamilton advanced to third base on Perez’s sacrifice bunt and scored the Rockies’ first run on a double by Walker. Bichette grounded out to second baseman Luis Lopez and a single by Castilla plated Walker to reduce the Mets’ lead to 3-2. Helton followed with a single to left field. Leiter then got Lansing on a grounder to Alfonzo to close out the inning.

Alfonzo drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the fifth. Olerud hit a two-run homer and Piazza was struck out. McRae followed with the Mets’ fourth homer of the game for the team’s sixth run. Hundley drew a walk and Astacio retired Lopez on an inning-ending fly ball to left fielder Bichette. Leiter held the purple and black to a single by Hamilton in the top of the sixth. Colorado reliever Mike DeJean then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Castilla and Helton got back-to-back singles with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. Leiter got Lansing to hit a grounder to Lopez for the third out and Alfonzo singled to begin the bottom half. Edgardo stole second base and moved to third on Olerud’s ground out to second baseman Lansing. Piazza followed with a ground ball on which third baseman Castilla threw to catcher Manwaring for an out at home on Alfonzo. McRae drew a walk and DeJean retired Lenny Harris on a fly ball to Bichette that ended the inning. Leiter yielded just a single to pinch-hitter Terry Shumpert in the top of the eighth. Lopez singled against Rockies’ reliever Curt Leskanic to open the bottom half. With Ordonez at bat, Luis was caught stealing on Manwaring’s throw to shortstop Perez. Leskanic then got Ordonez and pinch-hitter Matt Franco on consecutive grounders to Lansing to finish off the inning.

Mets’ reliever Turk Wendell retired Walker on a ground ball to Lopez to start the top of the ninth. Bichette lined out to right fielder Harris. Wendell then struck out Castilla to end the game. The Mets had a victory to begin the doubleheader.