Series: Game 2 of 2

Pittsburgh won 2-0

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

(74-83, 37-43 away)

Pirates 4

(71-87, 38-42 home)

    7:05 PM ET, September 25, 2002

    PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

    123456789 R H E
    NYM 000003000 3 - -
    PIT 21000100 - 4 - -

    W: R. Villone (4-6)

    L: G. Roberts (3-1)

    S: M. Williams (46)

    Ramirez smacks tiebreaking homer in sixth

    PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Aramis Ramirez is trying to finish with a bang because his season has been a dud.

    Aramis Ramirez

    Ramirez hit a tiebreaking homer and the Pittsburgh Pirates held on to beat the New York Mets 4-3 Wednesday night.

    He was in a 3-for-45 slump when he stepped in against Grant Roberts (3-1) and drove a 2-1 pitch into the center field seats.

    Ramirez is batting .232 and the homer was his 17th -- and his 68th RBI. He's well off the pace of his breakthrough 2001 season -- a .300 average, 34 homers and 112 RBI.

    "I haven't played well and as a team we haven't played well,'' Ramirez said. "But it looks like we're going to finish pretty strong and that's pretty good. We can take it to next year and hopefully we can play pretty good.''

    The Pirates have won six of their last eight and 10 of their last 14 at home. The Mets have lost four of five.

    Ramirez charged the mound in Milwaukee on April 17 after Ben Sheets hit him with a pitch. He sprained his ankle in the melee, missed two months and struggled when he came back. Then he tried to make up for lost time and made things worse.

    "I'd go up there trying to hit two home runs in one at-bat,'' he said. "That's why I just take the approach (now), go up and just put the ball in play.''

    Said Manager Lloyd McClendon: "It's good to see him keep battling. It's been a tough year for him. I know this year has been an aberration. When you see him hit a ball like that, you realize what he did last year wasn't a fluke.''

    Mike Williams pitched a perfect ninth for his 46th save in 50 opportunities.

    The Mets tied the game at 3 in the top of the inning with three runs on two homers against starter Brian Meadows.

    Mike Piazza led off the inning with his 32nd homer and Edgardo Alfonzo hit his 16th after Mo Vaughn singled.

    Meadows called Piazza's homer, "probably one of the hardest hit balls in the history of the game.''

    McClendon was at a loss to explain what happened to Meadows and why it happened so quickly.

    "In a span of four pitches, he just lost it,'' McClendon said. "He was really on a roll.''

    Ron Villone (4-6) pitched the sixth inning for the win.

    Roberts was mentioned in a story last week that alleged marijuana use by a number of Mets players. He said that attention wasn't a distraction on Wednesday.

    "It's been tough but I was better this time than the last,'' Roberts said. "I felt good. I was mentally in it. I just made a bad pitch.''

    Armando Rios hit a two-run single in the first for Pittsburgh. Scott Sauerbeck set a team record for a lefthander with his 77th appearance, breaking the mark Rod Scurry set in 1982.

    Game notes

    The Mets left the bases loaded in the eighth, stranded two runners in two other innings and grounded into a pair of double plays. ... Two excellent catches cost the Mets at least one run in the third. CF Rob Mackowiak ran back and leaped at the wall to grab Piazza's drive before he crashed into the padding. One batter later, LF Brian Giles made a diving catch as he ran toward the foul line to glove Alfonzo's sinking liner. ... In the ninth, Giles ranged back and snagged a ball hit by Roberto Alomar before it could clear the short fence. ... Opponents have hit .190 against Meadows in the first three innings, .317 after the third. ... Giles drew three walks and has 133, four short of Ralph Kiner's 1951 team record. ... Pirates first base coach Tommy Sandt was ejected by umpire Paul Emmel after arguing a call at first on Ramirez in the eighth. He is the third member of the coaching staff to be thrown out of a game this year.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press