Final in 12

Series: Game 3 of 3

New York won 3-0

Game 1: Tuesday, September 17
Chicago 1Final
New York 3
Game 2: Wednesday, September 18
Chicago 1Final
New York 2
Game 3: Thursday, September 19
Chicago 2Final
in 12
New York 3

Cubs 2

(64-89, 30-48 away)

Mets 3

(73-79, 36-38 home)

    7:10 PM ET, September 19, 2002

    Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York 

    23456789101112 R H E
    CHC 10010000000 2 - -
    NYM 00001001001 3 - -

    W: G. Roberts (3-0)

    L: W. Cunnane (1-1)

    Mets win sixth straight game at Shea

    NEW YORK (AP) -- In August, the New York Mets couldn't win at home. Now, they can't lose.

    Roger Cedeno

    Roger Cedeno drove home the winning run with an infield single in the 12th inning Thursday night as the Mets beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 to win their sixth straight at Shea Stadium following a 15-game home losing streak.

    "It's never too late,'' Cedeno said of the Mets' sorry season. "It's no fun to be around here when we lose a lot.''

    The Mets, who expected to contend for a World Series title, instead passed Florida to improve to 73-79 and climb out of last place in the NL East. The big-name, big-money stars didn't create this win.

    Instead, it was a time for young kids to introduce themselves to the several hundred fans who stayed late, sort of a "Meet the Mets'' promotion. Key plays late were made by Raul Gonzalez and Marco Scutaro following early contributions by Jason Middlebrook and Ty Wigginton.

    "They can do the little things to help us win a game,'' general manager Steve Phillips said. "We've gotten nice contributions down the stretch from some of the young players.''

    New York, which tied the game in the ninth against Antonio Alfonseca on Cedeno's double-play grounder, won it after Gonzalez led off the 12th against Will Cunnane (1-1) with a one-hop double off the left-field wall.

    Scutaro fouled off two sacrifice attempts, then fouled off a pair of 1-2 pitches and grounded to second as Gonzalez advanced.

    "He did an unbelievable job,'' Cedeno said. "He kept fighting and fighting, and got the runner over.''

    Cedeno followed with a grounder to third that Mark Bellhorn scooped up. Gonzalez was running all the way and scored as Bellhorn bounced the throw home, ending the game after 4 hours, 22 minutes.

    "We had some younger guys in there who were hungry, and they did a good job for us,'' Mets manager Bobby Valentine said.

    Middlebrook, who was in the Fresno airport when he learned the Mets acquired him from San Diego on July 31, gave up two runs and six hits in six innings.

    Six pitchers combined on six innings of three-hit shutout relief. Grant Roberts (3-0), activated last week following two months on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right shoulder, got the final out of the 12th, retiring Bellhorn on a popup to shortstop with two on.

    "It's real exciting. The closer role is a lot of fun,'' Roberts said. "But you take a lot of heat, too.''

    New York trailed 2-1 in the ninth but tied the score as Alfonseca blew a save for the seventh time in 26 chances, allowing singles to Wigginton and Jeromy Burnitz single before Cedeno's grounder.

    Armando Benitez struck out the side on 12 pitches in the 10th, then escaped a first-and-third, one-out jam in the 11th, created by shortstop Joe McEwing's double error on Kevin Orie's grounder. Benitez got Alex Gonzalez to foul out, then struck out pinch-hitter Chris Stynes.

    Sammy Sosa, needing three homers for 50 this season and 500 in his career, went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts and a walk. He is hitless in 10 at-bats and was 6-for-28 (.214) on the road trip.

    "It's been a tough year, but what can you do?'' he said.

    Chicago, at 64-89, is an even bigger bomb than the Mets.

    Seeking to tie the career high of 13 wins he set two years ago with San Diego, Matt Clement allowed one run and five hits in seven innings and struck out nine. He has 213 strikeouts, third in the NL behind Arizona's Randy Johnson (326) and Curt Schilling (300).

    Joe Girardi hit an RBI single in the second inning, and Bobby Hill homered in the fifth, giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Wigginton hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to the warning track in the sixth.

    "The combo hasn't come together for us,'' Clement said. "It's been a rough year all around. The pitchers have let us down sometimes, and the hitters have let us down sometimes. That's the life of a bad team.''

    Game notes

    Chicago leads the major leagues in strikeouts by its pitchers (1,249) and hitters (1,206). The last major league team to lead in both in the same year was Boston of the Union Association in 1884 (787 by its pitchers, 753 by its batters). ... Cubs pitchers fanned 14, including Vaughn three times, and Chicago batters struck out 14 times. ... Mets 3B Edgardo Alfonzo was scratched because of a stomach virus. He pinch hit with two outs and none on in the ninth and struck out.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press