August 21, 2001: Four-Run 1st Leads Mets Past Rockies

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Date: August 21, 2001
Mets starter: Al Leiter
Mets: 5
Rockies: 2
Winning pitcher: Al Leiter
Key player(s): Mike Piazza, Rey Ordonez
Key play: Piazza’s single and homer, Ordonez’s single

The Mets faced the Rockies on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. The Mets climbed out to an early four-run lead and rolled to a 5-2 win over Colorado.

Mets’ starter Al Leiter pitched a perfect top of the first inning. To begin the bottom half, Matt Lawton singled to left field. Lawton advanced to second base on an error by second baseman Brent Butler and a walk to Edgardo Alfonzo ensued. Mike Piazza hit a single to drive home Lawton and send Alfonzo to third. Todd Zeile fouled out to right fielder Alex Ochoa and a wild pitch brought home Alfonzo. Benny Agbayani drew a walk and Jay Payton hit a force play ground ball to third baseman Jeff Cirillo. Joe McEwing was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Rey Ordonez singled to score Piazza and Payton for a 4-0 Mets lead. Rockies’ starter Mike Hampton then threw a called third strike past Leiter for the inning’s final out.

Leiter yielded just a single to Cirillo in the top of the second. With two outs in the bottom half, Piazza homered for the Mets’ fifth run of the game. Zeile hit a single and Agbayani grounded out to Cirillo to end the inning. After scoreless third and fourth innings, Terry Shumpert doubled to lead off the top of the fifth. Shumpert stole third base and scored on Juan Uribe’s ground out to shortstop Ordonez. Leiter retired Hampton on an inning-ending pop-up to third baseman McEwing. Hampton then held the Mets to a single by Agbayani in the bottom half.

Mark Little singled to open the top of the sixth inning. Butler flied out to center fielder Payton and a single by Todd Helton followed. Cirillo got a bunt single to load the bases and Ochoa grounded to McEwing for a double play that ended the inning. Hampton set down the Mets in order in the bottom half and Shumpert hit a leadoff single in the top of the seventh. Leiter got Uribe on a double play grounder to Ordonez and struck out Sal Fasano to finish off the inning. Colorado reliever Kane Davis then retired the side 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Little hit a one-out single against Mets’ reliever Jerrod Riggan in the top of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Greg Norton singled to advance Little to third base and John Franco came in to pitch for New York. A wild pitch moved Norton to second and Helton was struck out. Cirillo hit a single to bring home Little with the Rockies’ second run. Franco retired Ochoa on a fly ball to left fielder Agbayani to close out the inning. Colorado’s Justin Speier then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Mets’ reliever Armando Benitez got Shumpert to fly out to left fielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo to open the top of the ninth. Uribe went down on strikes. Benitez then fanned pinch-hitter Jose Ortiz to end the game. The Mets had a victory to start the series.