May 22, 1998: Mets Win with Piazza Coming

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Date: May 22, 1998
Mets starter: Rick Reed
Mets: 3
Brewers: 2
Winning pitcher: Rick Reed
Key player(s): John Olerud, Dennis Cook
Key play: Olerud's single in 5th, Cook's pickoffs in 8th

Prior to the Mets' game against the Brewers, the atmosphere around Shea Stadium was one of excitement. The announcement that Mike Piazza had just been acquired in a trade had the fans buzzing with great joy. Amid the thrilling news, the Mets defeated Milwaukee by a score of 3-2.

The Mets got a first inning run off Brewers' starter Brad Woodall. John Olerud was hit by a pitch with two out and scored on Butch Huskey's double to center field. The 1-0 lead lasted through the third as Rick Reed retired the first nine Milwaukee hitters of the game.

In the fourth, Fernando Vina led off with a double for the Brewers' first hit off Reed. Rick retired the next two batters before Dave Nilsson singled to score Vina from second base. The game was tied, 1-1.

Alberto Castillo led off the bottom of the fifth with a walk. Rey Ordonez singled and, after two outs, Bernard Gilkey was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Olerud then hit a single to right field, scoring Castillo and Ordonez to put the Mets ahead, 3-1.

Nilsson got a two-out single off Reed to score Jeff Cirillo for Milwaukee's second run in the sixth. Rick retired the Brewers in order in the seventh, keeping the Mets' one-run lead intact. He departed for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the inning.

Dennis Cook took the mound for the Mets in the top of the eighth. He walked Marquis Grissom leading off and Vina singled. With Cirillo batting, Cook threw to second baseman Carlos Baerga and caught Grissom for the first out. Dennis then picked off Vina at first, with Olerud throwing to shortstop Ordonez for the tag at second base. However, Cook could not finish the inning as he walked Cirillo before allowing a single to Jeromy Burnitz and being removed from the game.

John Franco came in to relieve Cook. Wearing his new #45 uniform number (he gave up #31 for Piazza), Franco got Nilsson to line out to left field to end the Brewer threat. John then retired Milwaukee 1-2-3 in the ninth, sealing the victory for the Mets. It was a day of double pleasure for the fans at Shea with the coming of Piazza and a win to boot.