Burnitz Caps Al's Gutsy Performance

It looked like it had the making of every other game at Shea for the Mets, missed opportunities and wasting excellent pitching performances. That was until Jeromy Burnitz stepped to the plate.

After working a full count against right-hander Juan Cruz in the bottom of the ninth, Burnitz tanked a two run homerun over the right field wall propelling the Mets to a 3-1 win in the series opener.

It was bittersweet for Burnitz, who has struggled all season long.
br>The Mets had spoiled scoring opportunities throughout the game, particularly in the top of the third when Rey Ordonez led of the inning with a base hit.

Alan Benes then disobeyed a pitchers cardinal rule by walking the opposing pitcher and that was followed by a Rodger Cedeno bunt base hit setting the stage for Roberto Alomar with no outs.

Alomar grounded into a double play, with Ordonez crossing the plate. That would be the last run the team would get before Burnitz's clutch knock.

The Cubs lone run came in top of the fourth when Sammy Sosa hit his forty-seventh homerun of the season to left off of Leiter.

Alan Benes pitched seven solid innings allowing just four hits, one run, issuing three walks while striking out five. Juan Cruz (2-11) started the eighth and pitched until the end.

Leiter went 8 1/3 outstanding innings before leaving to a standing ovation. He limited the Cubs to just four hits tagged to one run. He distributed two walks and struck out eight.

David Weathers (6-3) then came on in relief of Al Leiter with two men on. He fanned Mark Bellhorn for the second out and then got Alex S. Gonzalez on strikes to end the inning.

Writer Christopher Guy covers the Mets and is the football guru for NYFansOnly. E-mail him at NYMetsBelieve@aol.com.

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