Masato Yoshii pitched a six-hitter and Robin Ventura and Mike Piazza each homered and drove in three runs as the New York Mets regained sole possession of first place in the NL East with a 9-1 win over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday night.
It was Yoshii's second complete game in 51 career starts. He beat Cincinnati 6-1 on May 21 last season.
The victory, combined with Atlanta's 4-1 loss at Colorado, broke New York's first-place tie with the Braves. The last time the Mets were alone in first place this late in the season was Sept. 3, 1990.
Ventura hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Piazza crushed a solo shot in the third off Stan Spencer (0-6). Piazza, who has homered in five of six games, and Ventura share the team lead with 28 homers.
Piazza also added a two-run single in the fourth. In his last seven starts, Piazza is 15-for-29 (.517) with five home runs and 14 RBIs.
Ventura's two-out homer followed singles by Rickey Henderson and John Olerud and gave the Mets a 3-0 lead. The homer gave Ventura 100 RBIs, the third time in his 10-year career he's reached that mark.
Piazza upped the lead to 5-1 when he hit a fastball 417 feet into the left-field seats. Piazza hit the ball so hard that left fielder John Vander Wal didn't bother to move.
Ordonez was 3-for-3 with two walks, and Agbayani had two doubles and scored twice as the Mets pounded out 15 hits.
Spencer allowed five runs on six hits in three innings. It was his first start since being recalled Tuesday from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace injured pitcher Brian Boehringer.
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