May 11, 2000: Leiter and Zeile Beat Bucs

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Date: May 11, 2000
Mets starter: Al Leiter
Mets: 3
Pirates: 2
Winning pitcher: Al Leiter
Key player(s): Al Leiter, Todd Zeile
Key play: Zeile’s single and homer

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Thursday night in Pittsburgh. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. Al Leiter pitched a complete game and Todd Zeile drove in two runs in a 3-2 Mets win over the Bucs.

Rickey Henderson drew a walk against Pirates’ starter Jimmy Anderson to leadoff the top of the first inning. Derek Bell followed with a double on which Henderson was out at home via a relay throw by second baseman Mike Benjamin to catcher Jason Kendall. On the play, Bell advanced to third base. Edgardo Alfonzo reached second as right fielder Brian Giles made an error on a sacrifice fly that scored Bell. Mike Piazza grounded out to first baseman Kevin Young and a walk to Robin Ventura ensued. Zeile singled to plate Alfonzo for a 2-0 Mets lead. Anderson retired Benny Agbayani on a line drive to Benjamin for the third out. Leiter then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Anderson set down the side in order in the top of the second. Young and Wil Cordero got back-to-back singles to begin the bottom of the inning. Pat Meares followed with a force play ground ball to second baseman Alfonzo on which Young went to third. With Luis Sojo at bat, Young escaped a rundown via an error by first baseman Zeile on a pickoff attempt as Meares went to second. Sojo singled to bring home Young and reduce the Mets’ lead to 2-1. Anderson’s sacrifice bunt sent Sojo to second. Leiter then got Chad Hermansen on a fly ball to right fielder Agbayani to end the inning.

Anderson gave up only a single to Piazza in the top of the third. Leiter shut down the Bucs in the bottom half and Zeile hit a home run to begin the top of the fourth, extending the Mets’ lead to 3-1. Agbayani doubled and Kurt Abbott was called out on strikes. With Leiter at the plate, Agbayani was caught stealing on Kendall’s throw to third baseman Sojo. Anderson retired Leiter on an inning-ending grounder to shortstop Meares. Al then set down all three batters in the bottom half.

Anderson retired the Mets on three straight infield ground balls in the top of the fifth. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Hermansen homered for the Pirates’ second run of the game. Benjamin was struck out and Kendall drew a walk. Giles hit a force play grounder to shortstop Abbott that closed out the inning. Anderson then pitched a scoreless top of the sixth.

Cordero drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth inning. Meares went down on strikes and Sojo doubled. Pinch-hitter Bruce Aven hit a ground ball on which third baseman Ventura threw to catcher Piazza for an out at home on Cordero that ended the inning. The Mets failed to score after loading the bases against Pittsburgh reliever Scott Sauerbeck in the top of the seventh. Leiter then yielded only a single to Benjamin in the bottom half.

Sauerbeck pitched a perfect top of the eighth. Leiter retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning and Bucs’ reliever Jason Christiansen set down all three hitters in the top of the ninth. Meares singled to open the bottom half. Sojo fouled out to Piazza and a strikeout of pinch-hitter Adrian Brown followed. Leiter then got Hermansen to pop out to Zeile and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a victory in their last game ever at Three Rivers Stadium.