September 23, 2003: Leiter Blanks Pirates

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Date: September 23, 2003
Mets starter: Al Leiter
Mets: 1
Pirates: 0
Winning pitcher: Al Leiter
Key player(s): Al Leiter
Key play: Mets’ run in 4th inning

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Al Leiter pitched a complete game shutout as the Mets snapped their second eight-game losing streak of the month with a 1-0 win over Pittsburgh.

Leiter and the Pirates’ Kip Wells each had three scoreless innings pitched to start the game. The Bucs collected four hits, but were unable to plate a run against Al. Meanwhile, the Mets were held to a single by Roger Cedeno and a double by Jorge Velandia against Wells. The teams left a combined total of six runners on base in the three innings.

Leiter held Pittsburgh scoreless again in the top of the fourth. To begin the bottom half, Mike Piazza singled and advanced to third base on Tony Clark’s ensuing double. Timo Perez grounded out to shortstop Jack Wilson to drive home Piazza. Wells struck out Ty Wigginton and retired Velandia on an inning-ending ground ball to third baseman Jose Hernandez. In the fifth and sixth innings, Leiter and Wells each hurled one-hit shutout ball. Al held the Pirates to singles by J. J. Davis and Wilson in a scoreless top of the seventh. The Mets were then shut down by Wells despite Wigginton’s leadoff double in the bottom of the inning.

Leiter set down the Bucs 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. In the bottom half, the Mets loaded the bases with one out against Wells. Pirates’ reliever John Grabow struck out pinch-hitter Raul Gonzalez. Reliever Brian Meadows then came in to pitch and got Wigginton on a fly ball to left fielder Jason Bay that ended the inning.

Bay flied out to left fielder Joe McEwing to open the top of the ninth. Leiter followed up with a strikeout of Hernandez. Al then retired Davis on a grounder to second baseman Marco Scutaro for the final out of the game. The Mets had ended their second eight-game skid of September on Leiter’s shutout.