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Piazza's Home Run Caps Rally by Mets

June 09, 2002|From Associated Press

CLEVELAND — Mike Piazza has hit longer, higher and much more dramatic home runs. This one, though, was in its own special category.

"It was just a freak thing," Piazza said.

Piazza capped New York's seven-run rally in the seventh inning with a three-run homer off Paul Shuey, and the Mets held on for an 8-6 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday night.

Piazza, who didn't start behind the plate because he was still feeling the effects of dehydration, connected for his 11th homer on an 0-2 pitch in the seventh off Shuey.

Shuey hadn't given up a homer in more than a year.

"He threw me a nasty curve, then a slider in the dirt," Piazza said.

"I was just guessing. Trust me, I was just as surprised as anybody. I said to myself, 'If he throws me a fastball, I'm not going to miss it.'

"It was a prime example of why you get three strikes. I started laughing a little bit."

Cleveland's Omar Vizquel homered twice and had five runs batted in.

Edgardo Alfonzo hit a two-run single in the seventh for the Mets, who weren't getting clutch hits before they came to Cleveland and didn't have much success in the first six innings against Chuck Finley (4-7).

"I didn't think we were going to get Finley," said Met Manager Bobby Valentine, who used three pinch-hitters in the seventh and lost his designated hitter.

"I wanted to pull out all the stops. You don't usually use your whole bench when you play an American League game."

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