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Mets sweep Giants behind Piazza's 11th-inning blast

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Mets sweep Giants behind Piazza's 11th-inning blast

Postby WebHamster » Fri May 07, 2004 2:00 am

Flushing, NY (Sports Network) - Mike Piazza smacked a solo homer in the bottom of the 11th inning off Jim Brower to lift the New York Mets to a 2-1 win and a three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium.

Piazza's home run just barely cleared the left field wall and was his second in as many days. The Mets, now owners of a season-high four-game win streak, had just five hits in the contest, one of which was Karim Garcia's game-tying solo home run in the seventh.

"The ball just made it over the top of the wall," Piazza said. "I hung in there and was fortunate to get that ball up there."

It was a pitchers' duel at Shea as Giants starter Jason Schmidt pitched seven superb innings, but he was matched every step of the way by New York's Al Leiter, who tossed eight strong frames.

Schmidt took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and scattered only three hits in all. He was charged with one run and struck out 10 while walking three. Brower (0-2) was handed the loss after fanning three in 1 2/3 innings.

"It was a ball off the plate, but just not far enough," Brower said of Piazza's fateful blow. "He's a strong man."

Leiter, who came into the contest with an NL-best 1.65 ERA, was once again done in by a lack of run support. He did not factor in the decision after giving up just one run on five hits, striking out six and walking none.

Marquis Grissom finished 3-for-5 and Edgardo Alfonzo added two hits, but Pedro Feliz accounted for the only Giants run with a solo homer of his own. Barry Bonds returned to the lineup after a three-game absence due to a sinus infection, but was 0-for-3 with a pair of intentional walks.

After six innings of scoreless baseball, each pitcher made one mistake in the seventh, as both teams pushed a run across via the long ball.

Feliz delivered his solo homer with two outs over the left-field fence, just one out after Grissom was picked off at first base by Leiter.

In the home half, Garcia belted a 2-2 pitch to the seats in right to even the score for the Mets.

The score remained tied at one apiece heading into the ninth. With two outs and no one on in the top half, New York intentionally walked Bonds and the strategy paid off as Braden Looper got Feliz to ground out and end the inning.

"Once it got to the latter part of the game, anyone can end the game with one swing of the bat," Mets manager Art Howe said of Bonds. "He wasn't gonna get a chance to do that. Al did a great job against him earlier, but enough was enough."

Piazza brought the home crowd to its feet in the ninth when he lifted Felix Rodriguez's second offering way back in left field, but well foul.

Piazza's homer later in the game was the 353rd of his career as a catcher, extending his record. Piazza broke the mark he shared with Carlton Fisk Wednesday night.

"We weren't going to walk him intentionally," said Giants manager Felipe Alou of Piazza. "But you don't want him to beat you."

The Mets resorted to the same strategy against Bonds in the top of the 11th after Mike Stanton allowed back-to-back singles with two outs. After the intentional free pass loaded the bases, David Weathers (3-1) came in to strike out Feliz looking with a full count, ending the threat.

Schmidt had his no-hitter broken up in the sixth inning when Todd Zeile lined a 3-2 pitch to center field with one out. He got out of the inning, though, when he induced Piazza to ground into a double play in the next at-bat.

A great catch in the second inning by Grissom kept the no-hitter in tact for Schmidt. Shane Spencer drove the ball to deep right-center field, but Grissom was there to chase the fly down at the wall with a leaping grab.
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