July 4, 2001: Rusch Leads Six-Hitter Over Cubs

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Date: July 4, 2001
Mets starter: Glendon Rusch
Mets: 2
Cubs: 1
Winning pitcher: Glendon Rusch
Key player(s): Glendon Rusch, Robin Ventura, John Franco, Armando Benitez
Key play: Ventura’s sacrifice fly, Rusch’s squeeze bunt

The Mets faced the Cubs on a Wednesday afternoon at Shea Stadium. On Independence Day, the teams played the second of three games in a series. Glendon Rusch and two relievers teamed up for a six-hitter in a 2-1 Mets win over Chicago.

Corey Patterson singled with one out in the top of the first inning. Sammy Sosa drew a walk and Rusch got Ron Croomer to hit a ground ball to second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo for an inning-ending double play. Joe McEwing singled against Cubs’ starter Kevin Tapani to lead off the bottom half. Timo Perez popped out to shortstop Ricky Gutierrez and a single by Alfonzo advanced McEwing to third base. Robin Ventura followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home McEwing for a 1-0 Mets lead. Tapani then struck out Todd Zeile to finish off the inning.

Gutierrez and Miguel Cairo got back-to-back singles to open the top of the second. Gary Matthews flied out to right fielder Perez and a double by Robert Machado drove home Gutierrez with the tying run. Tapani was retired on a popped-up bunt to Rusch, who then got Eric Young on a fly ball to Perez that closed out the inning. With one out in the bottom half, Jay Payton singled and moved to third base on a double by Vance Wilson (his first major league hit.) Rusch laid down a squeeze sacrifice bunt to score Payton and put the Mets ahead by a run. Tapani then fanned McEwing for the inning’s third out.

Rusch and Tapani each pitched scoreless ball from the third inning to the seventh. Glendon gave up only a single to Mathews while his teammates came up empty despite four singles and a walk against Tapani. Pinch-hitter Joe Girardi got a leadoff single against Mets’ reliever John Franco in the top of the eighth. Young grounded to shortstop McEwing for a double play and Franco retired got Patterson on a grounder to Alfonzo to end the inning. Chicago’s Todd Van Poppel then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Mets’ reliever Armando Benitez struck out Sosa to start the top of the ninth. Croomer was retired on a pop-up to shortstop Rey Ordonez. Benitez then got Gutierrez to ground out to Alfonzo and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a six-hit holiday victory.