Piazza's Fireworks Dampened in 9-7 Loss

It was almost the exact same situation as Wednesday's game. Mike Piazza, who had hit a home run earlier in the game, came to the plate in the ninth inning with a chance to put the Mets back in the game. Unfortunately history repeated again, as Piazza struck out. Marlins closer then managed to strike out John Valentin, who had come in for Edgardo Alfonzo, who had been beaned, to end the game as the Mets lost 9-7 on a very humid Thursday night in Florida.

Roger Cedeno hit a one-out single to score Edgardo Alfonzo, who had doubled earlier in the inning, to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

The Marlins tied the game when Preston Wilson singled in Derrek Lee. Wilson then scored on a truly horrible defensive play by the Mets- Marlins catcher Charles Johnson hit a chopper to Alfonzo and Alfonzo's throw was off the mark, but rather than try to knock the ball down, Mo Vaughn attempted to stay on first base and catch the ball. It wound up sailing away from him and rolling around in the spacious foul territory along the first baseline. By the time right fielder Jeromy Burnitz was able to get to the ball, Wilson was about to cross the plate and give the Marlins a 2-1 lead. Johnson advanced to third on a sacrifice and made the score 3-1 when leadoff hitter extraordinaire Luis Castillo was able to fight off a 1-2 pitch and single to left field. Castillo stole second and scored on Andy Fox's double. 4-1 Marlins. The bloodletting continued when Mike Lowell singled in Fox to make it 5-1, and the Mets were undoubtedly looking up at the skies praying for more of the rain which had delayed the start of the game for over and hour. Visions of torrential rain must have crossed their minds as Cliff Floyd doubled in Lowell to make it 6-1.

Timo Perez made it 6-2 when he singled in Roberto Alomar, who had led off the inning with a double. Piazza continued his hot hitting by crushing a Julian Tavarez fastball deep into the left field bleachers for a two-run home run and whittled the Marlins lead to 6-4. After Vaughn singled, Alfonzo got hit in the head by a sinker that got away from Tavarez, and home plate umpire Gary Darling issued a warning to both dugouts. Burnitz was not able to capitalize as he grounded into a double play and Cedeno struck out to end the inning.

Rey Ordonez doubled to lead off the fourth inning, and after Leiter was unable to bunt Ordonez over to third, Alomar singled to drive him in and make it 6-5.

Grant Roberts replaced Leiter in the sixth and immediately gave up three runs: a two-run triple to pinch-hitter Pablo Ozuna and an r.b.i. groundout by Castillo.

Timo Perez doubled in two runs to make it 9-7, before Piazza came to the plate, and history sadly repeated.

Notes


-Alfonzo left the game at the bottom of the inning after being beaned and was taken to the hospital for observation. Valentin came in for him and doubled in his first at-bat.
-Burnitz, who had been in a 2-20 slide before the game, went 0-4 Thursday to see his average fall back down to .209.
-Mets starter Al Leiter was the loser, the victim of five unearned runs in that second inning.
-Friday's starters will be Tyler Walker, who is making his first major league start and AJ Burnett (8-5, 3.25 E.R.A.)



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