September 1, 2003: Mets Hold Off Braves on Labor Day

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Date: September 1, 2003
Mets starter: Jeremy Griffiths
Mets: 3
Braves: 2
Winning pitcher: Dan Wheeler
Key player(s): Timo Perez, Jason Phillips, Marco Scutaro
Key play: Phillips’ single, Perez’s and Scutaro’s sacrifice flies

The Mets faced the Braves on Labor Day afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams began a three-game series in front of 23,877 fans on hand. The Mets survived a trio of late Atlanta scoring threats and came away with a 3-2 win.

Jeremy Griffiths and the Braves’ Greg Maddux each pitched three scoreless innings to start the game. With one out in the top of the fourth, Gary Sheffield drew a walk and advanced to third base on a single by Chipper Jones. Andruw Jones singled to score Sheffield for a 1-0 Atlanta lead. Robert Fick flied out to right fielder Roger Cedeno. Griffiths then struck out Vinny Castilla to end the inning.

Timo Perez doubled to lead off the bottom of the fourth. Mike Piazza flied out to center fielder Andruw Jones and a single by Jason Phillips drove home Perez to tie the game. Phillips moved to third base on Ty Wigginton’s single and scored on Marco Scutaro’s sacrifice fly to put the Mets ahead, 2-1. Jeff Duncan was given an intentional walk. Maddux then fanned Griffiths for the inning’s final out.

To begin the top of the fifth inning, Henry Blanco drew a walk and advanced to second base on Maddux’s sacrifice bunt. Blanco came around to score the tying run on Rafael Furcal’s single to center field. Furcal stole second and Marcus Giles drew a walk. Following a double steal, Sheffield was walked intentionally to load the bases. Griffiths got Chipper Jones to hit a ground ball to first baseman Phillips for an inning-ending double play. Maddux then shut down the Mets in the bottom half.

Griffiths and Maddux each pitched a scoreless sixth inning. Jeremy struck out pinch-hitter Darren Bragg to open the top of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Johnny Estrada was hit by a pitch and consecutive singles by Furcal and Giles loaded the bases. Dan Wheeler came in to pitch for the Mets and retired Sheffield on a pop-up to third baseman Wigginton. Wheeler then got Chipper Jones to fly out to left fielder Perez and finish off the inning.

Braves’ reliever Trey Hodges retired Raul Gonzalez on a grounder to shortstop Furcal to begin the bottom of the seventh. Cedeno drew a walk and went to third base on Joe McEwing’s single to right field. Perez followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Cedeno and give the Mets a one-run lead. Hodges then got Piazza on a fly ball to right fielder Sheffield that closed out the inning.

Andruw Jones singled to lead off the top of the eighth. Fick popped out to Wigginton and a double by Castilla against Mets’ reliever David Weathers followed. Pinch-hitter Javy Lopez was walked intentionally to load the bases. Estrada grounded back to Weathers for a double play to end the inning. Atlanta’s Jaret Wright then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Weathers threw a called third strike past Furcal to start the top of the ninth inning. Giles grounded out to shortstop McEwing and a double by Sheffield ensued. Chipper Jones was given an intentional walk. Weathers then retired Andruw Jones on a fly ball to Cedeno that ended the game. The Mets had held off three Braves scoring chances and held on for a Labor Day victory.