Series: Game 1 of 2

Pittsburgh leads 1-0 (as of 9/24)

Game 1: Tuesday, September 24
New York 3Final
Pittsburgh 6
Game 2: Wednesday, September 25
New York 3Final
Pittsburgh 4
Game 3: Thursday, September 26
New York Canceled

Mets 3

(74-82, 37-42 away)

Pirates 6

(70-87, 37-42 home)

    7:05 PM ET, September 24, 2002

    PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

    123456789 R H E
    NYM 010011000 3 - -
    PIT 00000024 - 6 - -

    W: S. Sauerbeck (5-4)

    L: M. Guthrie (5-3)

    S: M. Williams (45)

    Pirates' big eighth inning seals Mets' fate

    PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The New York Mets have known for some time their $109 million payroll wouldn't buy them a spot in the postseason. Now they know it won't even get them a winning record.

    Adrian Brown

    Pinch-hitter Adrian Brown had a two-run single as the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied for four runs in the eighth inning and beat the Mets 6-3 Tuesday night.

    The Mets dropped their 82nd game, assuring them of their first losing season since 1996. It is manager Bobby Valentine's first losing record in a full season since 1988 in Texas.

    ''It won't be a winning season this year,'' is all Valentine had to say about the subject after the Pirates scored six runs in their last two innings.

    Valentine looked back on a game that seemed to slip away by inches in the eighth. In the top of the inning, the Mets were in position to pad their lead with runners at first and second and one out.

    Roberto Alomar boldly broke for third and was thrown out by pitcher Scott Sauerbeck on a close play.

    ''It caught the umpire by surprise, I think,'' Valentine said.

    Pittsburgh trailed 3-2 when Jason Kendall opened the eighth with a single off Steve Reed. Mark Guthrie (5-3) came in to face Brian Giles and gave up a single.

    After reliever David Weathers got Aramis Ramirez to pop out, Armando Rios singled to drive in the tying run. Kevin Young intentionally walked and Abraham Nunez, batting for Tony Alvarez, hit an RBI grounder that put the Pirates ahead.

    Manager Lloyd McClendon sent up Nunez, who is just 5-for-41 as a pinch-hitter, even though Alvarez, a September callup from Double-A, was 2-for-3 in the game.

    ''I wanted a veteran up there against a good, right-handed pitcher,'' McClendon said.

    Brown, batting for Sauerbeck (5-4), lined a single that hit the tip of shortstop Rey Ordonez's glove and slowed down in short center field, allowing two runs to score.

    ''You hate to lose someone else's game,'' Weathers said. ''I didn't make the pitches when I had to. After I got Ramirez out, I thought I was going to get out of it. But Rios' ball found a hole and it went downhill from there.''

    Sauerbeck worked out of a jam in the eighth to get the win. He came in with runners at first and second and one out.

    Mike Williams pitched the ninth for his 45th save in 49 opportunities.

    The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the second when Edgardo Alfonzo walked, went to third on Jeromy Burnitz's single and scored when Raul Gonzalez grounded out.

    Burnitz led off the fourth with a fly ball toward the left field line that Giles dropped for an error. Burnitz went to third on Gonzalez's groundout and scored on Ordonez's squeeze bunt.

    Timo Perez led off the sixth with a single, advanced on an infield out and scored on Mike Piazza's single.

    Pittsburgh scored twice in the seventh as Alvarez and pinch-hitter Rob Mackowiak hit consecutive doubles. Pokey Reese then hit Reed's first pitch for an RBI single.

    Game notes

    It was just the second time in Steve Trachsel's last six starts for the Mets that he was charged with more than one earned run. ... Piazza was 2-for-4 after going 2-for-10 in the first three games against the Pirates this season. Entering the year, his career average against Pittsburgh was .350. ... Mackowiak is 8-for-24 (.333) as a pinch-hitter with nine RBI.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press