May 5, 2000: Leiter Leads Four-Hitter Over Fish

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Date: May 5, 2000
Mets starter: Al Leiter
Mets: 4
Marlins: 1
Winning pitcher: Al Leiter
Key player(s): Al Leiter, Rey Ordonez, Mike Piazza
Key play: Ordonez’s double, Piazza’s home run

The Mets faced the Marlins on a Friday night in Miami, Florida. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Al Leiter and two relievers teamed up for a four-hitter in a 4-1 Mets win over the Fish.

Rickey Henderson drew a walk against Marlins’ starter Jesus Sanchez to lead off the top of the first inning. Henderson advanced to third base on Derek Bell’s single and came home on Edgardo Alfonzo’s sacrifice fly. Mike Piazza grounded to shortstop Alex Gonzalez for a double play that ended the inning. Leiter then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Robin Ventura singled to open the top of the second. Todd Zeile popped out to second baseman Luis Castillo and a fly ball by Jay Payton was caught by center fielder Preston Wilson. Rey Ordonez followed with a double that scored Ventura for a 2-0 Mets lead. Sanchez struck out Leiter to finish off the inning and Gonzalez got a two-out double in the bottom half. Mike Redmond singled to bring home Gonzalez with the first Florida run of the game. Leiter then retired Sanchez on a ground ball to third baseman Ventura for the inning’s final out.

Sanchez set down the side in order in the top of the third. Leiter did the same in the bottom half and Piazza homered to begin the top of the fourth, increasing the Mets’ lead to 3-1. Sanchez retired the next three batters to close out the inning. Leiter then fanned two Marlins hitters in a perfect bottom half.

After a scoreless fifth inning, Sanchez set down the side 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth. Castillo singled to begin the bottom of the inning. Mark Kotsay went down on strikes and Castillo stole second base. Consecutive walks to Cliff Floyd and Wilson loaded the bases and Leiter struck out both Mike Lowell and Derrek Lee to end the inning. Sanchez surrendered only a walk to Payton in the top of the seventh and Redmond doubled with one out in the bottom half. Pinch-hitter Mark Smith drew a walk and Castillo flied out to right fielder Bell. Leiter then fanned Kotsay for the third out of the inning.

Pinch-hitter Jon Nunnally and Henderson drew back-to-back walks against Florida reliever Braden Looper to begin the top of the eighth. Bell’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third base and Alfonzo hit a ground ball on which third baseman Lowell threw to catcher Redmond for an out at home on Nunnally. Piazza walked to load the bases and the Marlins’ Armando Almanza issued a walk to Ventura that forced home Henderson. Almanza retired Zeile on an inning-ending fly ball to right fielder Kotsay. Mets’ reliever Pat Mahomes then held the Fish to a walk to Floyd in the bottom half.

The Mets failed to score after loading the bases against Florida reliever Ricky Bones in the top of the ninth. New York’s John Franco struck out Gonzalez to start the bottom of the inning. Pinch-hitter Danny Bautista was retired on a fly ball to center fielder Payton. John Franco then got pinch-hitter Kevin Millar on a foul pop-up to first baseman Matt Franco to bring the game to an end. The Mets had a solid victory.