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Pirates dent Mets' playoff hopes
Updated: 2001-10-02 14:36

The Pittsburgh Pirates severely dented the playoff hopes of the New York Mets with a 5-1 victory at Shea Stadium on Monday in New York.

In the only game in the National League (NL), the Mets, who have been mounting an improbable chase for a play-off berth in the last month, were undone by Jimmy Anderson and Gary Matthews Jr.

Anderson pitched eight strong innings, while Matthews drove in three of the Pirates' five runs to virtually squelch the Mets' post-season chances.

The defeat to the NL-worst Pirates (59-98) means the Mets can now only tie for the NL East title. They are 4 1/2 games behind the division-leading Atlanta Braves and 2 1/2 behind the Philadelphia Phillies.

Atlanta host Philadelphia in a three-game series, beginning on Tuesday, which can virtually decide the divisional race.

"We have all played games when we were out of it," Mets third baseman Robin Ventura said.

"The approach is all you need. I don't see anybody changing at all. That's the way this team has been and that's how we are going to play every day."

Anderson (9-17) yielded just one run and four hits. The lefthander is 3-1 in his last four starts with a 2.67 ERA.

"I just wanted to throw strikes," he said.

"Last week, they beat us bad. It felt good to get the first win here tonight."

"I thought he had a great sinker tonight," Mets manager Bobby Valentine added.

"He kept the ball down, kept it in the corner and we beat it to the ground. He got a few balls up, we hit them hard. But unfortunately they were hit right at people."

Matthews drove in two runs, scoring Craig Wilson, courtesy of his second inning homer off Mets' starter Glendon Rusch.

New York reduced the deficit when Todd Zeile reached on an infield hit and was then brought home by Ventura's double.

The Pirates then regained their two-run lead when Aramis Ramirez, who had reached on a double, was scored by Matthews' sacrifice fly.

The Pirates added two more runs in the sixth off rookie pitcher Dicky Gonzalez.

Scott Sauerback got the save for the Pirates while Rusch (8-11) took the loss.

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