June 5, 1998: Four Homers Lead Rout of Red Sox

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Date: June 5, 1998
Mets starter: Al Leiter
Mets: 9
Red Sox: 2
Winning pitcher: Al Leiter
Key player(s): John Olerud, Alberto Castillo, Luis Lopez, Bernard Gilkey
Key play: Mets’ four home runs

The Mets faced the Red Sox on a Friday night in Boston. The teams played the opener of a three-game interleague series at Fenway Park. The Mets slugged four home runs in a 9-2 win over the Sox.

Bernard Gilkey hit a one-out double against Boston starter Pedro Martinez in the top of the first inning. Mike Piazza was hit by a pitch and John Olerud singled to drive home Gilkey. Martinez struck out Carlos Baerga and got Edgardo Alfonzo on a ground ball to third baseman John Valentin to end the inning. Mets’ starter Al Leiter then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Following a scoreless second inning, Martinez retired the first two Mets batters in the top of the third. Alberto Castillo and Olerud hit back-to-back home runs to extend the New York lead to 3-0. Baerga singled and Alfonzo hit a force play grounder to Valentin for the inning’s third out. Leading off the bottom half, Mike Benjamin singled and advanced to third base on an ensuing single by Jason Varitek. Darren Bragg went down on strikes and Darren Lewis drew a walk to load the bases. Valentin hit a ground ball on which third baseman Alfonzo threw to catcher Castillo for an out at home on Benjamin. Leiter then fanned Nomar Garciaparra to close out the inning.

Butch Huskey singled with one out in the top of the fourth. With Luis Lopez at bat, Huskey moved to second on Martinez’s errant pickoff throw. Lopez followed with a two-run homer and Brian McRae grounded out to Valentin. Gilkey hit the Mets’ fourth homer of the game for a 6-0 lead and Martinez retired Castillo on an inning-ending ground ball to Valentin. Leading off the bottom half, Mo Vaughn homered for the Red Sox’ first run and Jim Leyritz drew a walk. Damon Buford popped out to Alfonzo. Leiter then got Benjamin to hit a grounder to Alfonzo for an inning-ending double play.

Leiter and Boston reliever Brian Barkley each pitched scoreless and hitless fifth and sixth innings. To begin the top of the seventh, Gilkey singled to left field. Castillo drew a walk and Olerud singled to score Gilkey. Baerga hit a single to drive home Castillo with the Mets’ eighth run. Alfonzo followed with a sacrifice fly against the Sox’ John Wasdin to plate Olerud for a 9-1 New York lead. Wasdin struck out Matt Franco and Huskey to end the inning. Mets’ reliever Turk Wendell then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Wasdin and the Mets’ Brad Clontz each hurled a scoreless eighth inning. The Mets were set down in order by Wasdin in the top of the ninth. For New York, reliever John Hudek struck out Garciaparra to start the bottom of the inning. Vaughn followed with his second homer and Leyritz was struck out. Hudek then retired Buford on a fly ball to center fielder McRae to end the game. The Mets had a victory to begin the weekend series.