Piazza's Walk-Off HR Sends Mets Over Padres 4-2

Mike Piazza has gone through a lot of distractions during his career, but none more aggravating then the questions over a possible position change this week. That, though, was a mute point to the future Hall of Famer as he hit a home run in the bottom of the tenth inning to send the Mets to a 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday afternoon.

The catcher hit his fourth home run of the year off San Diego pitcher Jaret Wright (1-5) inside Shea Stadium to win the game and put an end to a three game Mets' losing streak.

"With all the situations I've gone through in my career, the one constant is it feels good to get on the field,'" Piazza said to the Associated Press following the game.

Mike Stanton (2-2) pitched a scoreless tenth to get the win.

Al Leiter worked seven innings -- his longest outing of the year -- and surrendered just four hits, two runs, and four walks while striking out three. He was 6-4 with a 2.72 ERA in 15 career starts against San Diego coming into the match up.

"He's durable, he's solid and he's a big-game pitcher," Piazza said to the Associated Press of Leiter. "He just loves it here."

San Diego (12-24) got the first run across in the top of the fourth when outfielder Brian Buchanan hit his third homer of the season off Mets' starter Al Leiter.

Jay Bell began the Mets (15-21) portion of the fourth by walking and moved up to third after Mike Piazza doubled into left field. Cliff Floyd knotted the game at one when he hit a sacrifice fly to right.

Brian Buchanan put the Padres ahead again with a sacrifice fly in the fifth that scored Mark Loretta, but Raul Gonzalez -- hitting leadoff for the Mets -- tied the game with a double that allowed Joe McEwing to cross the plate.

The next four innings went scoreless before Mike Piazza deposited the second pitch he saw from Jaret Wright over the left field wall.

Padres' starter Roger Deago, a 25-year-old Panamanian making his first career major league start, pitched an excellent game. He allowed five hits, two runs, and three walks while fanning four.

Scott Strickland and Armando Benitez worked two innings of scoreless relief in the eighth and ninth inning before Mike Stanton came on in the tenth.

Scott Strickland left the game in the eighth inning after suffering a groin strain and is listed as day-to-day... Joe McEwing started at shortstop and went 3-for-3 with a walk and a run scores... The Mets sent C Jason Phillips down to Triple-A Norfolk after Friday night's game and called up P Pat Strange... Pedro Astacio (2-1, 7.31) draws Jake Peavy (4-3, 4.46) on Sunday afternoon...

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