May 24, 2002: Mets Win with Four Walks in 10th

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Date: May 24, 2002
Mets starter: Shawn Estes
Mets: 5
Marlins: 4
Winning pitcher: Scott Strickland
Key player(s): Jeromy Burnitz, Tim Raines, Jay Payton
Key play: Burnitz’s homer in 8th, Raines’ homer in 9th, Payton’s walk in 10th

The Mets and Marlins began a four-game set on a Friday night at Shea Stadium. Entering the overlapping weekend series, the Mets were in first place in the National League East standings. Four walks in the 10th inning gave the Mets a 5-4 win, keeping them atop the division by a game.

After a pair of scoreless innings, Florida’s Preston Wilson drew a walk with one out in the top of the third. Cliff Floyd singled and an errant pickoff throw by Mets’ starter Shawn Estes moved the runners to second and third base. An ensuing single by Mike Lowell brought home Wilson and Floyd for a 2-0 Marlins lead. Estes retired the next two batters and set down the Fish in order in the top of the fourth. Marlins’ starter Josh Beckett then pitched his fourth straight perfect inning in the bottom half.

Wilson hit a one-out double in the top of the fifth inning. Preston later stole third base and scored on a double by Lowell. Trying to stretch his hit, Lowell was out at third on a throw by center fielder Timo Perez to end the inning. The Mets cut the Florida lead to 3-1 in the bottom half on Rey Ordonez’s single that brought home Jeromy Burnitz. Beckett then retired pinch-hitter Mo Vaughn on a fly ball to center fielder Wilson for the third out.

Mets’ reliever Grant Roberts retired the Marlins 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth inning. Beckett shut down New York in the bottom half and Roberts followed up with a scoreless top of the seventh. Florida’s Michael Tejera and Braden Looper combined to hold the Mets to no runs in the latter half of the seventh inning. The Fish were then shut down by the Mets’ David Weathers in the top of the eighth.

Roger Cedeno and Roberto Alomar began the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back doubles for a run. Mike Piazza struck out and Burnitz came up to bat. Jeromy hit a two-run homer to give the Mets a 4-3 lead. With two outs, Jay Payton singled off Looper and went to second on a balk by reliever Oswaldo Mairena. Mark Johnson then struck out to end the inning.

In the top of the ninth, Eric Owens led off with a single against Mets’ reliever Armando Benitez. Charles Johnson hit into a double play and Tim Raines came up to pinch-hit for Mairena. Raines hammered a home run to tie the game at 4-4. With his save opportunity gone, Benitez retired Luis Castillo on a fly ball to left fielder Cedeno to close out the inning. The Mets were then set down in order by Florida’s Vic Darensbourg in the bottom half.

Scott Strickland recorded two strikeouts in pitching a scoreless top of the 10th. In the bottom of the inning, Alomar and Piazza opened with walks and advanced on Burnitz’s sacrifice bunt. Edgardo Alfonzo was walked intentionally to load the bases with one out. Darensbourg then walked Payton to force home Alomar with the winning run. The Mets had an extra-inning victory on a quartet of bases on balls.