September 8, 2001: Mets Beat Marlins for 6th Straight Win

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Date: September 8, 2001
Mets starter: Bruce Chen
Mets: 9
Marlins: 7
Winning pitcher: John Franco
Key player(s): Desi Relaford, Rey Ordonez, Matt Lawton
Key play: Lawton’s double in 9th

The Mets faced the Marlins on a Saturday night in Miami. The teams played the third of four games in a weekend series. The Mets chalked up a 9-7 victory over Florida for their sixth consecutive win.

Desi Relaford got a one-out single in the top of the first inning. Mike Piazza drew a walk and Tsuyoshi Shinjo singled to drive home Relaford. Robin Ventura hit a double to score Piazza and Shinjo for a 3-0 Mets lead. Marlins’ starter Ryan Dempster then struck out Todd Zeile and retired Jay Payton on a ground ball to second baseman Luis Castillo to end the inning.

Castillo drew a walk against Mets’ starter Bruce Chen to open the bottom of the first. Derrek Lee doubled to score Castillo and advanced to third base on a wild pitch. Cliff Floyd drew a walk and stole second. Preston Wilson followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Lee and move Floyd to third. Mike Lowell singled to score Floyd with the tying run and a walk to Kevin Millar ensued. Charles Johnson drew the fourth walk of the inning for the Fish to load the bases. Mets’ reliever Pete Walker then got Dave Berg to hit a double play grounder to shortstop Rey Ordonez and finish off the inning.

Dempster and Walker each pitched scoreless ball in the second and third innings. With two outs in the top of the fourth, Matt Lawton singled to center field. Relaford followed with a double on which Lawton was out at home via a relay throw by Castillo to catcher Johnson to end the inning. To begin the bottom half, Johnson doubled and Berg flied out to center fielder Payton. Dempster grounded out to second baseman Relaford to send Johnson to third base. Castillo hit a single that scored Johnson and gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead. Walker then retired Lee on a fly ball to left fielder Shinjo to close out the inning.

Following a scoreless fifth, Ordonez got a one-out single in the top of the sixth. Pinch-hitter Timo Perez singled to advance Ordonez to third base and Lawton went down on strikes. Relaford hit a single to plate Ordonez with the tying run and Dempster fanned Piazza for the inning’s final out. With two outs in the bottom half, Berg doubled against Mets’ reliever Grant Roberts. Pinch-hitter John Mabry drew a walk and Castillo singled to score Berg for a 5-4 Florida lead. New York’s C. J. Nitkowski then got Floyd to hit a ground ball to Relaford and end the inning.

Todd Zeile singled against Marlins’ reliever Vladimir Nunez with two outs in the top of the seventh. Payton reached on Castillo’s error and a double by Ordonez brought home Zeile to retie the game. On Rey’s hit, shortstop Berg made a relay throw to Johnson for an out at home on Payton that closed out the inning. Nitkowski issued a walk to Wilson to begin the bottom half. With Mets’ reliever Jerrod Riggan on the mound facing Lowell, Wilson stole second base. Lowell flied out to Payton and an intentional walk to Millar ensued. Riggan then got Johnson to pop out to Relaford and struck out Berg to finish off the inning.

Pinch-hitter Joe McEwing doubled against Florida reliever Armando Almanza to lead off the top of the eighth. McEwing moved to third base on Lawton’s bunt single and scored on Relaford’s force play grounder to shortstop Alex Gonzalez for a 6-5 Mets lead. With reliever Braden Looper pitching for the Fish, Relaford stole second. Piazza was walked intentionally and Shinjo hit a force play ground ball to third baseman Lowell. Looper then retired Ventura on a grounder to first baseman Lee for the final out of the inning.

Gonzalez singled against Mets’ reliever Rick White to open the bottom of the eighth. Castillo hit a force play grounder to Relaford and a single by Lee followed. Floyd doubled against New York’s John Franco to drive home Castillo and Lee, putting the Fish ahead by score of 7-6. Wilson flied out to right fielder Lawton and an intentional walk to Lowell ensued. With Jeff Abbott at bat, Franco made a pickoff throw to Ordonez for an out on Floyd that ended the inning.

Zeile hit a single against Marlins’ reliever Antonio Alfonseca to begin the top of the ninth. Payton singled and a sacrifice bunt by Ordonez advanced the runners on second and third base. Pinch-hitter Mark Johnson was walked intentionally to load the bases. Lawton hit a double to score pinch-runner Jorge Toca and Payton for an 8-7 Mets lead. Relaford singled for his fourth hit of the game to bring home Mark Johnson with the ninth New York run. Alfonseca then got Piazza to hit a ground ball to Castillo for an inning-ending double play.

Armando Benitez (the Mets’ eighth pitcher of the game) retired Abbott on a line drive to third baseman Ventura to start the bottom of the ninth inning. Charles Johnson went down on strikes. Benitez then fanned pinch-hitter Andy Fox for the game’s final out. The Mets had a victory and a six-game winning streak.