Konerko, Thomas Both Put Big Hurt On Mets

Firing hitting coach Dave Engle seemed to have some benefits for the Mets, as they scored 8 runs in Tuesday night's game against the White Sox. Problem was, it was the pitching that didn't do its job as the White Sox pounded Jeff D'Amico and two other relievers for four home runs to beat the Mets 10-8.

Roger Cedeno led off the inning with a single, and advanced to second when Todd Ritchie threw an errant pickoff throw. Rey Ordonez then laid down a bunt that glanced off Todd Ritchie's glove, and a charging Ray Durham couldn't catch and flip the ball to catch a sliding Ordonez. Timo Perez kept up his hot hitting as he laced a single to right to score Cedeno. Edgardo Alfonzo hit a fly ball that forced left fielder Carlos Lee to the wall. Ordonez tagged up and went to third. Mike Piazza, who has been struggling with the bat up until the last week, then hit a single to score Ordonez.

The White Sox took the lead in the bottom of the third with one big swing by the Big Hurt, Frank Thomas. D'Amico started off the rally by walking Mark Johnson and Kenny Lofton back to back. He got Tony Graffanino to fly out to deep left, but then he fell behind in the count to Thomas. Thomas made him pay for it by yanking a D'Amico pitch over the left field fence for a two-run home run.

Paul Konerko, he who had been released by two organizations prior to finding his niche with the Sox, made it 4-2 with a long home run to left to start off the fourth inning. After D'Amico loaded the bases by giving up two singles and hitting a batter, he was yanked for Satoru Komiyama, with one out. Lofton then hit a 3-1 Komiyama pitch deep enough to right field to score Durham, who was on third. 5-2. The White Sox kept piling it on. Graffanino doubled to score two more runs and then Thomas put on more hurt by singling in another run. By the time Komiyama staggered off the mound, it was 8-2. All the runs were D'Amico's, however as he saw his E.R.A rise to 4.04 and his record drop to 4-5. Ritchie, who had one of the major's worst pitching records coming into the game of any pitchers not on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, improved to 4-8.

The Mets didn't quit though, as Ordonez led off the inning with a single and scored on Perez's double to make it 8-3. They managed to load the bases, but Mo Vaughn grounded out into a force play to end the threat and the inning.

The Mets clawed back to within two in the seventh. Timo Perez got his fourth hit in as many at-bats. Alfonzo followed with a single, and Perez ran all the way to third. Piazza followed with a single, and it was 8-4. Keith Foulke replaced Ritchie and Jeromy Burnitz hit a run-scoring single. Tony Tarasco came in to pinch hit for John Valentin and hit an infield single to load the bases. Vaughn came to the plate again with the bases loaded, and again hit a ground ball, a double play. Piazza scored to make it 8-6.

The White Sox answered like a heavyweight boxer though, hammering David Weathers with two consecutive home runs, once by Magglio Ordonez and the other by Konerko, his second of the night. Only a leaping catch by Cedeno of a Jose Valentin drive kept it from being back to back to back home runs. After the catch, Weathers just stood on the mound with a shocked expression on his face. 10-6 White Sox.

The Mets refused to die though. Bobby Howry got two quick outs on the Mets, but then Burnitz singled and took second on catcher's indifference. He scored when Tarasco doubled to make it 10-7. Vaughn then singled and Tarasco barely beat Carlos Lee's throw from left field to score and make it 10-8. That was it for Howry, and in came Antonio Osuna. Roberto Alomar, who had tweaked his medial collateral ligament in Monday's game, came in to pinch-hit and could only watch as Osuna first threw a high strike past him and then the very next pitch hit the low inside corner to strike him out and end the game.


-Al Leiter (6-5, 3.30 E.R.A) will attempt to continue his resurgence Wednesday as he pitches against Dan Wright (5-7, 5.92 E.R.A)

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