June 7, 2002: Mets Defeat Tribe to End Skid
|Date: June 7, 2002|
|Mets starter: Al Leiter|
|Winning pitcher: Al Leiter|
|Key player(s): Edgardo Alfonzo, Timo Perez, Vance Wilson|
|Key play: Alfonzo’s homer and single|
The Mets faced the Indians on a Friday night in Cleveland. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. The Mets ended a five-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over the Tribe.
With one out in the top of the first inning, Edgardo Alfonzo homered to put the Mets on top by a run. Roberto Alomar grounded back to Indians’ starter Danys Baez, who followed up with a strikeout of Mike Piazza to end the inning. New York’s Al Leiter pitched a scoreless bottom half and Mo Vaughn drew a walk to open the top of the second. Tony Tarasco hit a force play ground ball to third baseman Travis Fryman and a walk to Roger Cedeno ensued. Rey Ordonez singled to load the bases and Vance Wilson reached on right fielder Chris Magruder’s error that allowed Tarasco to come home. Timo Perez hit a single to score Cedeno and lengthen the Mets’ lead to 3-0. Baez then got Alfonzo on a grounder to second baseman Ricky Gutierrez for an inning-ending double play.
Fryman walked to lead off the bottom of the second. Gutierrez reached on third baseman Alfonzo’s throwing error and a single by Milton Bradley loaded the bases. Chad Allen followed with a double play ground ball to Alfonzo on which Fryman scored the first run for the Tribe. Eddie Perez grounded out to Alfonzo to finish off the inning and Baez gave up just a double to Alomar in the top of the third. Omar Vizquel drew a one-out walk in the bottom half. With Ellis Burks at bat, Vizquel was caught by Leiter’s pickoff throw and tagged out by second baseman Alomar. Burks hit a single and Leiter retired Jim Thome on a grounder to shortstop Ordonez for the inning’s final out.
After scoreless fourth and fifth innings, Baez shut down the Mets in the top of the sixth. Burks hit a single to begin the bottom half. Thome slugged a home run to tie the game at 3-3. Fryman flied out to center fielder Timo Perez and consecutive grounders by Gutierrez and Bradley (to Alfonzo) closed out the inning. To open the top of the seventh, Wilson was hit by a pitch and moved to second base on Timo Perez’s sacrifice bunt. Alfonzo singled to bring home Wilson and give the Mets a one-run lead. Baez got Alomar to hit a ground ball to shortstop Vizquel for a double play that ended the inning. Leiter then yielded just a double to Allen in the bottom half.
Baez and Cleveland reliever Ricardo Rincon combined for a perfect top of the eighth. Thome drew a one-out walk against Leiter in the bottom of the inning. For the Mets, reliever Scott Strickland retired Fryman on a fly ball to Timo Perez. New York’s Mark Guthrie issued a walk to pinch-hitter Matt Lawton. Mets’ reliever Armando Benitez got Bradley to fly out to Timo Perez and finish off the inning. The Indians’ David Riske then hurled a scoreless top of the ninth.
Pinch-hitter Bill Selby grounded back to Benitez to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning. Eddie Perez went down on strikes and Magruder drew a walk. Benitez then retired Vizquel on a line drive to left fielder Timo Perez (who had shifted from center) for the final out of the game. The Mets had a victory to halt their skid and start the weekend series.