September 21, 2005: Cairo's Single in 9th Beats Marlins

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Date: September 21, 2005
Mets starter: Jae Seo
Mets: 5
Marlins: 4
Winning pitcher: Roberto Hernandez
Key player(s): Jose Reyes, Mike Piazza, Miguel Cairo
Key play: Piazza’s single in 8th, Cairo’s single in 9th

The Mets faced the Marlins on a Wednesday night. The teams played the second of three games in a series at Shea Stadium. A ninth-inning single by Miguel Cairo drove in the winning run for a 5-4 Mets victory over Florida.

Juan Pierre got a bunt single to lead off the top of the first inning. Pierre stole second base and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jeff Conine. Mets’ starter Jae Seo struck out Miguel Cabrera and an ensuing single by Carlos Delgado brought home Pierre with the first run of the game. Juan Encarnacion singled to left field. Seo then retired Paul Lo Duca on an inning-ending fly ball to left fielder Cliff Floyd.

Jose Reyes singled against Marlins’ starter Jason Vargas to begin the bottom of the first. Reyes stole second base and Cairo went down on strikes. Jose stole third and scored on a single by Carlos Beltran to tie the game at 1-1. Vargas then struck out Floyd and got David Wright on a grounder to second baseman Joe Dillon for the third out of the inning.

Seo held the Fish to a double by Robert Andino in a scoreless top of the second. Mike Piazza drew a walk to open the bottom half. Victor Diaz was struck out and Mike Jacobs doubled to score Piazza, putting the Mets ahead by a run. On the hit, Jacobs was caught in a rundown and tagged out by shortstop Andino. Vargas threw a called third strike past Seo for the inning’s final out. Seo and Vargas then allowed one single each in hurling a scoreless third inning.

A walk to Encarnacion began the top of the fourth. Lo Duca followed with a ground ball to shortstop Reyes for a double play. Lowell homered to retie the game. Seo retired Andino on a pop-up to second baseman Cairo to end the inning and Vargas shut down the Mets in the bottom half. Seo and Vargas each hurled a scoreless fifth inning. Encarnacion singled and stole second base with one out in the top of the sixth. Seo then got Lo Duca and Lowell on consecutive outfield fly balls to close out the inning.

Wright got a two-out single in the bottom of the sixth. Piazza drew a walk and Diaz singled to drive home Wright for a 3-2 Mets lead. Vargas fanned Jacobs to end the inning and Mets’ reliever Juan Padilla pitched a scoreless top of the seventh. Florida’s Randy Messenger then set down the Mets in order in the bottom of the inning.

Mets’ reliever Tim Hamulack struck out Delgado to begin the top of the eighth. Reliever Braden Looper got Encarnacion on a grounder to Reyes and issued a walk to Lo Duca. An ensuing single by Lowell advanced pinch-runner Alex Gonzalez to third base. Pinch-hitter Lenny Harris singled to score Gonzalez and tie the game. A pinch-hit single by Josh Willingham against the Mets’ Shingo Takatsu plated Lowell and gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead. Takatsu then retired Pierre on an inning-ending ground ball to Reyes.

Florida reliever Ron Villone walked Beltran to open the bottom of the eighth inning. Floyd singled to send Beltran to third base and the Marlins’ Antonio Alfonseca struck out Wright. A single by Piazza scored Beltran with the tying run. Diaz hit a grounder to third baseman Lowell for a force out on Floyd. Alfonseca then got Jacobs on a ground ball back to the mound for the third out.

Conine doubled against Mets’ reliever Roberto Hernandez to begin the top of the ninth inning. Dillon’s sacrifice bunt moved Conine to third base and Delgado was given an intentional walk. On Encarnacion’s ensuing grounder, Cairo tagged Conine for the inning’s second out. Matt Treanor drew a walk to load the bases. Hernandez then retired Lowell on a pop-up to first baseman Jacobs to finish off the inning.

Marlins’ reliever Paul Quantrill got Ramon Castro on a grounder back to the mound to start the bottom of the ninth. Reyes singled and moved to second base on an error by center fielder Pierre. Cairo followed with a single to drive home Reyes and end the game. The Mets had triumphed for their third consecutive win.