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Mets' Leiter hurls first complete game in a year

9/23/2003

NEW YORK (AP) -- One run was finally enough to get a win for Al
Leiter and the New York Mets.

The last-place Mets have struggled for offense in recent weeks
since Cliff Floyd and Jose Reyes were sidelined with season-ending
injuries. Leiter and the rest of New York's starting staff were
faced with having to nearly pitch a shutout every night to earn a
victory.

Leiter did it Tuesday night as the Mets beat the Pittsburgh
Pirates 1-0 to snap a skid in which New York lost eight straight
and 16 of 17.

"There was not a whole lot of wiggle room," said Leiter, who
pitched his first complete game in slightly more than a year.

Tony Clark drove in the game's only run with a fourth-inning
double.

"We were able to get that one run across and it held up,"
Clark said. "Offensively, we haven't gotten the job done," Clark
said.

But one run was enough for the Mets, who are 33 games behind NL
East champion Atlanta.

Leiter (15-9) allowed eight hits, struck out six and walked one
in winning for the fifth time in six career decisions against the
Pirates. His last complete game was Sept. 11, 2002, a 5-0 victory
at Atlanta. Leiter pitched two complete games last season, both
shutouts.

"Every starting pitcher tries to accomplish that every time
out," said Leiter, who throw his 10th career shutout and his 16th
complete game. He threw 123 pitches, 77 for strikes.

Clark's RBI double in the fourth inning off Pirates starter Kip
Wells scored Mike Piazza, who had singled.

Wells (9-9) gave up eight hits and struck out four in 7 1-3
innings.

"I'm satisfied with the way I pitched," Wells said.
"Obviously, not good enough to win but I have to take solace in
the fact that I pitched well."

Wells left with one out in the eighth after he issued his lone
walk to Clark, which loaded the bases. John Grabow came on to
strike out pinch-hitter Raul Gonzalez, and Brian Meadows then
relieved and induced Ty Wigginton to fly out.

Pittsburgh cut down a potential Mets run in the seventh when
Wigginton opened with a double and moved to third on Jorge
Velandia's sacrifice. He was thrown out at the plate on
pinch-hitter Matt Watson's grounder to second with the infield
drawn in.

Game notes
Leiter made his 10th career start against Pittsburgh with
his only loss coming August 7, 1997, at Three Rivers Stadium. ...
The Pirates played in New York for the first time this season. ...
Wigginton made his 152nd start for the Mets, second most ever for a
Mets rookie. The record is 159 by CF Lee Mazzilli in 1976. ... Mets
CF Jeff Duncan fouled a ball of his right foot in the fifth inning
and left the game in the seventh when his foot swelled. Postgame
X-rays were negative.