July 25, 1999: Mets Complete Sweep of Cubs

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Date: July 25, 1999
Mets starter: Al Leiter
Mets: 5
Cubs: 1
Winning pitcher: Al Leiter
Key player(s): Rickey Henderson, Al Leiter
Key play: Serafini’s five walks in 1st inning, Henderson’s homer and single

The Mets faced the Cubs on a Sunday night at Shea Stadium. The teams concluded a three-game series with a game that was nationally televised by ESPN. The Mets completed a series sweep and increased their winning streak to five games with a 5-1 victory over Chicago.

Mets’ starter Al Leiter retired the Cubs in order in the top of the first inning. Chicago’s Dan Serafini issued a walk to Rickey Henderson to begin the bottom half. Edgardo Alfonzo reached on an error by second baseman Jeff Blauser and a walk to John Olerud loaded the bases. Mike Piazza hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Henderson with the first run of the game. Serafini walked Benny Agbayani to reload the bases and followed with a free pass to Robin Ventura to force home Alfonzo. Melvin Mora drew a walk (Serafini’s fifth of the inning) to score Olerud and extend the Mets’ lead to 3-0. Serafini then got Rey Ordonez on a ground ball to shortstop Manny Alexander for an inning-ending double play.

Glenallen Hill singled with one out in the top of the second. Jose Hernandez flied out to center fielder Mora. With Gary Gaetti at bat, Hill stole second base and advanced to third on an error by catcher Piazza. Gaetti doubled to bring home Hill for the first Chicago run. Benito Santiago popped out to shortstop Ordonez to end the inning. With one out in the bottom half, Henderson homered to make the score 4-1. Serafini then got Alfonzo and Olerud on outfield fly balls for the inning’s final outs.

Following a scoreless third inning, Leiter shut down the Cubs in the top of the fourth. Ordonez singled with one out in the bottom half. Rey advanced to second base on Leiter’s sacrifice bunt and came home on Henderson’s ensuing single. Alfonzo hit a fly ball to right fielder Sammy Sosa for the third out. Leiter and Serafini each hurled scoreless fifth and sixth innings. The Cubs had runners on first and second base with two outs in the top of the seventh. Alexander was retired on a grounder to Ordonez to close out the inning. Chicago reliever Rod Beck then held the Mets to a double by Henderson in a scoreless bottom half.

Leiter walked Mark Grace to open the top of the eighth inning. Sosa followed with a single to left field. Hill hit a ground ball to third baseman Ventura for a double play. Hernandez grounded out to Ventura to finish off the inning. Cubs’ reliever Rick Aguilera hit Piazza with a pitch to begin the bottom half. Piazza moved to second base on a wild pitch and Agbayani flied out to left fielder Hill. Ventura drew a walk and Mora was retired on grounder back to Aguilera. Ordonez then went down on strikes for the final out of the inning.

Mets’ reliever Jason Isringhausen threw a called third strike past Gaetti to start the top of the ninth. Santiago doubled and pinch-hitter Mickey Morandini grounded out to second baseman Alfonzo. Isringhausen then struck out Blauser to end the game. The Mets had a sweep of the three-game series and lengthened their win streak to five.