September 4, 1998: Piazza and Leiter Put Away Braves

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Date: September 4, 1998
Mets starter: Al Leiter
Mets: 2
Braves: 1
Winning pitcher: Al Leiter
Key player(s): Al Leiter, Mike Piazza
Key play: Piazza’s home run

The Mets faced the Braves on a Friday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a four-game series. Mike Piazza hit a two-run homer and Al Leiter pitched a complete game in a 2-1 Mets win over Atlanta.

Leiter surrendered only a walk to Ryan Klesko in shutting down the Braves over the first three innings. Atlanta starter Tom Glavine responded with a trio of scoreless bottom halves, allowing just a single to Piazza. Ozzie Guillen singled to open the top of the fourth. Gerald Williams and Chipper Jones were retired on outfield fly balls and a single by Javy Lopez advanced Guillen to third base. Leiter got Andruw Jones on a grounder to second baseman Luis Lopez that ended the inning and John Olerud drew a one-out walk in the bottom half. Piazza homered to give the Mets a 2-0 lead. Glavine then retired both Butch Huskey and Jay Payton on infield ground balls for the inning’s final outs.

Leiter hurled a scoreless top of the fifth. Glavine held the Mets to a single by Rey Ordonez in the bottom half and Al hurled a perfect top of the sixth. Olerud hit a single with one out in the bottom of the inning. Piazza drew a walk and Brian McRae flied out to left fielder Klesko. Payton was retired on a fly ball to right fielder Williams to close out the inning and Greg Colbrunn got a two-out single in the top of the seventh. Klesko doubled to drive home Colbrunn and cut the Mets’ lead to one run. Leiter retired Tony Graffanino on a grounder to shortstop Ordonez for the inning’s third out. Glavine then gave up only a single to Luis Lopez in the bottom half.

Leiter held the Braves to a single by pinch-hitter Eddie Perez in the top of the eighth. Atlanta reliever John Rocker yielded just a single to Piazza in the bottom of the inning and a walk to Chipper Jones opened the top of the ninth. Javy Lopez followed with a ground ball to third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo for a double play. Leiter then retired Andruw Jones on a fly ball to left fielder Payton for the final out of the game. The Mets had a victory to start the weekend series.