2000 Game Recap: Leiter Goes Distance Against Pirates
There is no sugar coating it. In this extremely long road trip taking the Mets all around the country, they have not played well at all. Lately, they have been digging into the bullpen, and they are getting fatigued allowing a lot of runs. In circumstances like that, a team needs a front line starter to step up and save the team.
That is exactly what Al Leiter did for the Mets today.
The Mets got him a lead before he even threw a pitch in this game. Rickey Henderson walked, and he went to third on a Derek Bell double. Brian Giles then misplayed an Edgardo Alfonzo fly ball. Henderson scored on what was ruled a sacrifice fly, and Alfonzo reached safely on what was ruled an E9. Later in the inning, Todd Zeile hit an RBI single to give the Mets a 2-0 lead.
In the second, Leiter allowed back-t0-back singles to Kevin Young and Wil Cordero (two Pirates who have worn the Mets out in this series) to start the inning. Leiter almost got out the jam, but Luis Sojo would hit an RBI single pulling the Pirates to within 2-1.
The Mets would get that run back on a Zeile solo homer to lead-off the fourth, and the Pirates pulled to within 3-2 on a Chad Hermansen homer in the fifth. After that, Leiter would not allow another run.
Part of the reason why is his stopping a Pirates rally in the sixth. Sojo hit a two out double to put runners on second and third with two outs. Leiter got the pinch hitter Bruce Aven to end the inning. After that Sojo double, Leiter would allow just two hits over the final few innings as he would go the distance.
This complete game victory was exactly what the Mets needed. Not only did it help give the Mets a series win after losing two straight series to sub .500 teams, but it would also give the bullpen a needed rest. This long road trip is finally over, and the Mets can return home to Shea Stadium to face the Marlins.
Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.