2000: Day-by-Day

When I first began working on Yells For Ourselves years ago, I originally conceived of it as an ebook-type thing that would have lots of interactivity—including a day-by-day log of the 1999 & 2000 Mets regular seasons that a reader could refer to at any point in the text. That interactive version never came to pass, but I still went ahead wrote the content for that day-by-day chronicle. I present it here for curious obsessives such as myself.

To skip from month to month, click on the tabs at the bottom of your screen. To scrub through each month, click and drag on the timeline underneath the game recaps (or use your fingers if you’re reading on a phone or fancy-person tablet).

Day-by-day of the 1999 season available here.

April

  • Wednesday, March 29, 2000

    Chicago Cubs 5, New York Mets 3 at the Tokyo Dome

    The Mets begin their 2000 campaign as the home team for the first regular season game played outside North America. The event also marks the Met debut of Mike Hampton, who never looks comfortable on the Tokyo Dome mound and walks an astounding nine batters in just five innings of work. The lefty walks the first batter he faces and allows him to score on a Damon Buford single. The Mets tied the score on a Darryl Hamilton sac fly in the third, but Hampton turns in a messy top of the fifth that gives Chicago back the lead with a single and three consecutive walks. New York’s bullpen worsens the deficit, as Dennis Cook gives up a two-run homer and Rich Rodriguez cedes a solo shot. Mike Piazza provides some comfort with a crowd-pleasing 450-foot two-run bomb in the eighth, but the effort proves too little, too late.
  • Thursday, March 30, 2000

    New York Mets 5, Chicago Cubs 1 (11 innings) at the Tokyo Dome

    Playing as the visiting team in the Tokyo finale, the Mets scratch out a run against Cubs rookie Kyle Farnsworth in the top of the fifth on a pair of walks, a sac bunt, and a sac fly from Rickey Henderson. The Cubs tie things up in the bottom half thanks to a throwing error by Todd Zeile that eventually leads to an unearned run. That is the only mark Reed allows through eight innings, and the Mets bullpen is just as stingy through ten in the form of John Franco, Turk Wendell, and Dennis Cook. But the Mets can manage no more against Farnsworth and the Cubs’ relievers until the top of the eleventh, when a two-out rally starts with a Zeile single and a pair of walks to load the bases. Benny Agbayani then rockets a fastball to straightaway center for a grand slam. In the bottom half, Armando Benítez dispatches the Cubs in order on just seven pitches to assure victory.
  • Monday, April 3, 2000

    New York Mets 2, San Diego Padres 1 at Shea Stadium

    In their stateside home opener, the Mets watch Al Leiter throw eight fantastic innings, scattering five hits and striking out seven batters. The lone mark against him is a solo shot by Phil Nevin in the top of the second. His teammates struggle against Padre starter Sterling Hitchcock, failing to get a baserunner past first base in the first six innings., but break out—slightly—in the bottom of the seventh when Edgardo Alfonzo works a leadoff walk, moves to third on a Mike Piazza single, and scores on a sac fly from Todd Zeile. New Met Derek Bell breaks the tie with a home run in the bottom of the eighth, which causes an ecstatic Shea crowd to demand a curtain call. Armando Benítez tosses a perfect ninth for his first save of the year.
  • Wednesday, April 5, 2000

    San Diego Padres 4, New York Mets 0 at Shea Stadium

    Bobby J. Jones (the right-handed Jones) makes his first start in 11 months on a chilly evening at Shea Stadium, temperatures in the low-40s and the threat of flurries in the air all night. The reception he receives from the small crowd on hand is even colder. Jones cedes a walk, back-to-back doubles, and a single to plate three runs in the top of the second, while a trio of singles and a bases-loaded walk to Bret Boone in the third drives in another. He is yanked from the mound with boos raining down from the stands. The bullpen holds San Diego in check the rest of the way, but Met batters are baffled by Padres starter Woody Williams and a pair of relievers as they strand 11 runners, seven of them in scoring position.
  • Thursday, April 6, 2000

    San Diego Padres 8, New York Mets 5 at Shea Stadium

    In his Mets debut east of the Pacific, Mike Hampton looks no better than he did in his Tokyo outing as he allows four runs and fails to make it out of the sixth inning. The biggest blow against him is a triple from Ruben Rivera in the top of the third that chases home two runs, a ball that might have been caught if Derek Bell and Darryl Hamilton hadn’t nearly collided in right-center field. Hampton allows two more runs to score in the sixth, though both are unearned thanks to a rare error from Rey Ordoñez. It is an embarrassing game all around marked by offensive futility, as the Mets leave 10 men on base, and baserunning gaffes, like Rickey Henderson’s failure to run out a potential groundball double play in the bottom of the third that costs the Mets a baserunner. The bullpen doesn’t escape unscathed either, as Turk Wendell allows a double and triple back-to-back in the seventh (one run scoring on a Derek Bell throwing error) and John Franco gives up a solo shot to Ed Sprague in the eighth. New York bats are held in check by rookie starter Matt Clement, though single runs in the seventh and eighth, and a Todd Pratt three-run shot in the ninth, make the final score look more respectable than it really should.
  • Friday, April 7, 2000

    New York Mets 2, Los Angeles Dodgers 1 at Shea Stadium

    Suffering from a stiff neck he probably acquired during the Mets’ long trip home from Japan, Rick Reed applies heat packs to the injury and waits until the last minute to let the team know if he can make his start. Then he takes the mound and pitches nearly as well in his first North American start as he had in his Tokyo outing, retiring the first 11 batters he faces and 10 of the last 11. A Gary Sheffield solo shot in the top of the fourth is the extent of the damage against him. Dodger starter Darren Dreifort gives the Mets numerous opportunities to blow the game wide open by walking eight batters, but the home team fails to capitalize on most of them. They do, however, get all the runs they need in the bottom of the first on a Mike Piazza RBI double and a run-scoring groundout from Robin Ventura. When Reed issues a two-out walk in the top of the eighth, Armando Benítez is called on for a four-out save, which he converts with little trouble.
  • Saturday, April 8, 2000

    Los Angeles Dodgers 6, New York Mets 5 (10 innings) at Shea Stadium

    Making a spot start in the place of the ailing Al Leiter (who is dealing with a groin strain), longman Pat Mahomes fills in with 5 2/3 solid innings of one-run ball. His teammates inflict some damage on Dodger ace Kevin Brown with a Jay Payton solo shot in the bottom of the second and an Edgardo Alfonzo two-run blast in the third. Brown then does some damage to himself while breaking a pinkie on a bunt attempt, an injury that will knock him out of action for a few weeks. As Turk Wendell and Dennis Cook hold the Dodgers in check in the seventh and eighth, RBI hits from Melvin Mora and Rey Ordoñez in the bottom of the eighth seem to put the game out of reach. Mahomes watches the game on a clubhouse television, anticipating his first win as a starter in six years. With a non-save situation on his hands and Armando Benítez receiving a lot of work in the season’s opening week (including a four-out save the night before), Bobby Valentine hands the ninth inning to John Franco instead. Franco responds by allowing a leadoff solo shot to Eric Karros. He then issues a one-out walk and gives up a single to ex-Met Kevin Elster to bring the tying run to the plate. Franco manages to log the second out, but then gives up a game-tying three-run homer to Devon White, bringing a torrent of boos down on his head from an angry Shea crowd. When the game goes into extras, Valentine is forced to use Benítez anyway, and he gives up a 425-foot bomb to Karros in the top of the tenth that proves the margin of victory.
  • Monday, April 10, 2000

    Philadelphia Phillies 9, New York Mets 7 at Veterans Stadium

    In the opener of their first stateside roadtrip, the Met bats suddenly come alive in a four-run first inning that includes RBI doubles from Jon Nunnally, Mike Piazza, and Todd Zeile. But Bobby J. Jones gives back those runs and then some in a disastrous five-run second, with an error by Zeile on a sac bunt prolonging the mess. New York briefly retakes the lead in the top of the fifth on a two-run double by Edgardo Alfonzo and an RBI single by Piazza, but the Phillies storm right back with four in the bottom half against Jones and reliever Rich Rodriguez, the scoring capped by a two-run shot from Phils catcher Mike Lieberthal.
  • Wednesday, April 12, 2000

    Philadelphia Phillies 8, New York Mets 5 at Veterans Stadium

    Mike Hampton struggles through yet another brutal outing, allowing six runs in just three innings. He loads the bases on a single and a pair of walks in the bottom of the first, then watches Mike Lieberthal unload them with a three-run double. Three more runs score in the third, a Phils rally that includes a monstrous Scott Rolen home run (launched 437 feet) and an RBI double from opposing pitcher Robert Person, a former Mets farmhand who was once traded for John Olerud. Jay Payton crushes a titanic 441-foot blast against Person, but that is the extent of the damage the Mets inflict on him, while Philadelphia scores two more runs against Pat Mahomes and Rich Rodriguez. The Mets attempt a furious rally in the ninth by scoring three runs and even bring the go-ahead run to the plate in the person of Edgardo Alfonzo, but he lines out to right field to end the threat.
  • Thursday, April 13, 2000

    New York Mets 2, Philadelphia Phillies 1 at Veterans Stadium

    In the finale of an otherwise disastrous series in Philadelphia, Rick Reed turns in another stellar performance, tossing seven innings of one-run ball. Reed is also responsible for the lone run of support he receives when he hits an RBI sac fly against Phils lefty Randy Wolf in the top of the fourth. He holds the opposition scoreless until the bottom of the seventh, when Mike Lieberthal leads off the inning with a solo home run. The game remains tied until the top of the ninth, when Jay Payton reaches safely on a ball that caroms off the mound. After Mike Piazza belts a two-out double to left-center, Payton tears around the basepaths and barely beats a throw to the plate to score the go-ahead run. In the bottom half, Armando Benítez works around a leadoff walk and sac bunt by striking out the next two batters, allowing the Mets to escape Philadelphia with a win.
  • Friday, April 14, 2000

    New York Mets 8, Pittsburgh Pirates 5 (12 innings) at Three Rivers Stadium

    Al Leiter turns in another solid effort in the opener of a series in Pittsburgh, allowing just two runs (one earned) through the first six innings. With the score tied at 2, the Mets grab the lead with back-to-back homers from Mike Piazza and Robin Ventura in the top of the seventh. Leiter allows the Pirates to claw a bit closer by giving up a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth, but the Mets still hold a one-run leading going into the bottom of the ninth. Armando Benítez nearly preserves that lead by striking out the first two batters he faces, and even after he allows a two-out double to Jason Kendall, he backs Pat Meares into a two-strike count. But Meares belts a triple over Derek Bell’s head in right field to tie the game and send it into extras. The score remains tied until the top of the twelfth, when Ordoñez singles, Benny Agbayani doubles, and Melvin Mora bloops a hit just beyond the reach of the first baseman to score them both. Two outs later, Mike Piazza follows with a two-run blast that seems to put the game out of reach. Dennis Cook makes things a little too interesting in the bottom half by allowing a walk, a wild pitch, a single, and a double to plate a run, but he eventually records the final out to bring the game to a merciful conclusion. This marks the Mets’ first winning streak of any kind this season. The 20 hits they collect in the game is the most for the franchise since they hit 21 in a 17-1 bloodbath against the Astros on August 30, 1999. John Franco gets the W by working two scoreless innings, his first win in a string 112 appearances.
  • Saturday, April 15, 2000

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2, New York Mets 0 at Three Rivers Stadium

    Glendon Rusch pitches eight brilliant innings in the Mets’ second game in Pittsburgh, giving up just four hits. The only mistake he makes comes in the bottom of the seventh, when he leaves a fastball over the plate for Kevin Young to belt for a two-run homer. That is enough for the Pirates, however, as Pittsburgh starter Jimmy Anderson limits New York to five hits over his own eight innings of work. The game is all over in an astounding 1 hour, 57 minutes.
  • Sunday, April 16, 2000

    New York Mets 12, Pittsburgh Pirates 9 at Three Rivers Stadium

    A rash of injuries befall the Mets in the opening inning of their finale in Pittsburgh. Leadoff man Rickey Henderson is hit by a pitch and does not take the field in the bottom in the first. The Mets take an early lead on a three-run blast by Ventura in the top half, but two batters into his outing, Bobby J. Jones leaves the mound with a calf strain, an injury that will land him on the disabled list. The Pirates proceed to rally for four runs against longman Pat Mahomes, setting off a long and ugly slug fest. The Mets retake the lead on a two-run Jon Nunnally blast in the second and extend it on a Todd Zeile RBI in the top of the third before Pittsburgh goes back in front with three more runs in the bottom half. The Mets regain the lead with a trio of their own on run-scoring hits from Derek Bell, Edgardo Alfonzo, and Ventura in the fourth, then score two more in the sixth on a Jay Payton double and an RBI sac fly from Ventura. Pittsburgh throws a scare into the Mets with a pair of solo shots in the bottom half against Turk Wendell, but Ventura stretches their advantage yet again by hitting an RBI double in the eighth, giving him six RBIs on the day. The rest of the game is mercifully quiet, as Armando Benítez earns the save and the Mets earn their first series win of the season.
  • Tuesday, April 18, 2000

    New York Mets 10, Milwaukee Brewers 7 at Shea Stadium

    On a chilly evening in front of a sparse crowd at Shea, the Mets’ bats finally warm up in the opener of a lengthy homestand. New York’s ten-run outburst includes Robin Ventura’s 14th career grand slam, three doubles from Edgardo Alfonzo, and an excellent day at the plate for starting pitcher Mike Hampton, who collects two hits and two walks. More importantly, Hampton pitches 7 2/3 solid innings, retiring 17 of 19 batters at one point, en route to his first victory as a Met. Though he falters late and gives up three runs to Milwaukee in the eighth, and reliever Rich Rodriguez allows the visitors to crawl a little closer by giving up two more in the ninth, Armando Benítez shuts the door.
  • Wednesday, April 19, 2000

    New York Mets 3, Milwaukee Brewers 1 at Shea Stadium

    Rick Reed turns in yet another excellent performance, a start that proves even more impressive than his previous ones because he fights his way through pain to accomplish it. After taking a Marquis Grissom line drive off his glove hand, Reed waves off all help, making no concession to the injury apart from a vigorous wrapping of black athletic tape to keep down the swelling. He is in visible pain for the rest of the game, wincing when he fields comebackers and requiring assistance to put on his jacket in the chilly home dugout, and yet he throws seven innings of one-hit, one-run ball. The Mets scratch out their runs on a hit-and-run play in the first that leads to a Mike Piazza RBI groundout, plus a run-scoring single by Derek Bell and an Edgardo Alfonzo sac fly in the second. Though squabbling with the front office and struggling through a rough spring, Rickey Henderson jumpstarts the scoring in Hendersonian fashion by reaching base four times and scoring the first Mets run.
  • Thursday, April 20, 2000

    New York Mets 5, Milwaukee Brewers 4 (10 innings) at Shea Stadium

    Al Leiter struggles in the series finale against Milwaukee, allowing eight hits, including a pair of homers, in six innings of work. Leiter’s mind may be elsewhere, as he takes the mound knowing his wife would undergo induced labor the next day for the birth of their third child. The only run the home team scores in the first six innings comes via a titanic 438-foot solo shot by Mike Piazza that flies past the picnic area beyond the left field fence. Trailing 4-1 going into the bottom of the seventh, the Mets begin their comeback with a leadoff homer by Derek Bell and knot the score on a two-run Todd Zeile single. Zeile’s hit receives some assistance from Brewers right fielder Jeromy Burnitz, who fields the first baseman’s hit and tries to nail Robin Ventura at third base but throws the ball into the stands instead, thus allowing Ventura to score the tying run. Pat Mahomes, Dennis Cook, and Turk Wendell keep the score tied by combining for four innings of scoreless relief. With one out in the bottom of the tenth, Melvin Mora belts a 95 mph fastball from Curt Leskanic to straightaway center, banking it off Shea’s camera stanchion for a walkoff home run.
  • Saturday, April 22, 2000 (Game 1)

    New York Mets 8, Chicago Cubs 3 at Shea Stadium

    In the first half of a rain-necessitated doubleheader, the Mets’ offense starts out modestly, compiling an early 3-0 lead on two run-scoring groundouts and an RBI single from Matt Franco. The Cubs draw close in the top of the seventh with a pair of solo shots, but these are the only blows in an otherwise stellar outing by Glendon Rusch. The young lefty looks particularly impressive in the top of the fourth when, with a runner at third and one out, he strikes out two batters (one of whom is Sammy Sosa) to end the threat. New York salts the game with a five-run bottom of the eighth that begins with a Rey Ordoñez RBI single and includes two-run doubles from Benny Agbayani and Melvin Mora.
  • Saturday, April 22, 2000 (Game 2)

    New York Mets 7, Chicago Cubs 6 at Shea Stadium

    Thanks to Bobby J. Jones hitting the disabled list, veteran knuckleballer Dennis Springer gets a spot start in the nightcap of the doubleheader. Though Springer allows one run in the top of the fifth and a two-run double in the sixth, he is otherwise solid working in emergency duty. The Mets trail by a run in the bottom of the sixth when they execute their second five-run rally of the day, thanks to a Robin Ventura leadoff homer, a two-run Rey Ordoñez single, an RBI groundout, and a throwing error that plates another run. Chicago’s Henry Rodríguez singlehandedly tries to make things interesting with an RBI double in the top of the seventh and a two-run homer off of Armando Benítez in the ninth, but the Mets’ closer shuts the door nonetheless.
  • Sunday, April 23, 2000

    New York Mets 15, Chicago Cubs 8 at Shea Stadium

    Mike Hampton is not exactly overpowering in the finale against Chicago, allowing five runs (three earned), but his teammates more than make up for it with their biggest offensive outburst of the young season, a 15-run, 18-hit pummeling. It starts with back-to-back homers from Edgardo Alfonzo and Mike Piazza in the bottom of the first. The onslaught continues with a wild seven-run fourth inning that includes an RBI single from Hampton and some ineptitude on the part of the Cubs’ fielders. (The Mets’ tenth run scores when Chicago’s third baseman and shortstop collide while attempting to field a Robin Ventura pop-up.) A five spot in the fifth inning is icing on the cake. Derek Bell continues his hot hitting by going deep and driving in four runs. Chicago scores some garbage-time runs against Hampton and reliever Rich Rodriguez, but they prove of little consequence as the Mets complete their sweep of the Cubs.
  • Monday, April 24, 2000

    New York Mets 1, Los Angeles Dodgers 0 at Shea Stadium

    In a makeup of the finale of their series that was snowed out back on April 9, both the Mets and Dodgers struggle at the plate, stranding 13 men in scoring position through the first eight innings. New York puts men on base in nearly every inning against Dodger hurler Darren Dreifort but can’t convert any of them, and Los Angeles is just as ineffective against spot starter Pat Mahomes, who gets the nod while Rick Reed recovers from the bruised hand he suffered in his previous start. The game remains scoreless until the bottom of the ninth, when the Mets load the bases with no outs, the third runner reaching base when LA third baseman Adrian Beltre fields a ground but fails to touch the bag. The Mets are nearly turned aside when Rey Ordoñez hits into a force out at home and the next batter, Matt Franco, chops a ball right at reliever Terry Adams, the kind of hit that should result in an inning-ending double play. Instead, the ball bounces off the tip of Adams’s glove, allowing Jon Nunnally to trot home with the only run of the game.
  • Tuesday, April 25, 2000

    New York Mets 6, Cincinnati Reds 5 at Shea Stadium

    In the opener of a three-game set against the Reds, the Mets jump out to a 4-1 lead on an RBI double by Robin Ventura in the bottom of the second and a two-run homer by Edgardo Alfonzo and a Ventura solo shot in the third. Al Leiter falters in the top of the sixth, a frame that sees him hit a batter and cough up four runs, capped by a pinch hit two-run double by Mark Lewis. The Mets retake the lead in the bottom of the seventh on a leadoff home run from Derek Bell and a bases loaded walk by Jon Nunnally. In the ninth inning, Armando Benítez walks the leadoff batter, then strikes out the next two batters, thus setting up a confrontation with Ken Griffey, Jr. Booed all game by Mets fans for rejecting a trade to New York in the offseason, Griffey works a full count before watching Benitez pick off the outside corner for a satisfying called strike three.
  • Wednesday, April 26, 2000

    Cincinnati Reds 12, New York Mets 1 at Shea Stadium

    “It was one of those games that kind of started out on the wrong note, and then got worse,” says Bobby Valentine after this bloodletting. Starting in place of the still-injured Rick Reed, Dennis Springer allows a two-run homer to Dmitri Young in the opening frame and never recovers. If nothing else, Springer provides a modicum of relief to a taxed bullpen by pitching into the seventh inning, by which point the visitors lead by the decisive score of 7-0. Reliever Rich Rodriguez is likewise thrown to the wolves; asked to pitch the final three innings, he allows one inherited run to score and gives up four of his own. Thus ends the Mets' eight game winning streak.
  • Thursday, April 27, 2000

    Cincinnati Reds 2, New York Mets 1 (12 innings) at Shea Stadium

    In the last game of the Mets’ long homestand, Glendon Rusch and Red starter Steve Parris perform the baseball equivalent of trading fours. Rusch keeps Cincinnati quiet over 7 2/3 innings, the only mark against him a Ken Griffey Jr. solo shot, while Parris allows no more than a Robin Ventura longball in his own seven innings. The Mets give themselves a couple of chances to put the game away in the ninth inning and give all of them right back. A leadoff single by Todd Zeile is erased when pinch hitter Matt Franco bounces into a double play. (Bobby Valentine does not explain why he sent up Franco and not Mike Piazza, who sits out this afternoon tilt but is available to pinch hit.) They then load the bases on a double and a pair of walks but fail to score. The game staggers along until the top of the twelfth, when Armando Benítez lands himself in trouble by walking leadoff batter Sean Casey. After a sac bunt, Benítez issues an intentional walk to face Travis Dawkins, a rookie shortstop batting .125 at the moment. Dawkins defies the strategy by blooping a single into shallow left field that scores Casey from second. The Mets attempt a rally in the bottom of the inning by working two walks, but a pair of pop ups end their chances.
  • Friday, April 28, 2000

    Colorado Rockies 12, New York Mets 5 at Coors Field

    In the opener of a grueling 13-game cross-country road trip, Mike Hampton reverts to the ugly form that marked his first starts for the Mets, struggling with his control in a stadium that is deadly to pitchers who can’t find the plate. The decisive at bat comes in the bottom of the third, when Hampton battles Larry Walker for 11 tense pitches before the slugger lashes a two-run triple. Floodgates opened, the following four Rockies collect hits against Hampton. By the time the dust settles, Colorado scores six runs in the inning. Hampton is removed after five innings and seven runs on his ledger, at which point the home team abuses rookie reliever Eric Cammack for four more. To make matters worse, Mike Piazza injures his elbow and wrist in a play at the plate and is forced to leave the game.
  • Saturday, April 29, 2000

    New York Mets 13, Colorado Rockies 6 at Coors Field

    Mike Piazza sits out the second game in Colorado to nurse his injuries, but his teammates still explode for 13 runs and tie a franchise record for a nine-inning game by collecting 23 hits. (Despite the mile high air, none of these hits are home runs.) Most of the damage is inflicted on former Met Masato Yoshii, who is chased off the mound by a six-run explosion in the top of the fourth. Every member of the starting lineup collects at least two hits, save pitcher Rick Reed, who counts himself fortunate to escape with a decent-for-Coors Field line of six runs in seven innings.
  • Sunday, April 30, 2000

    New York Mets 14, Colorado Rockies 11 at Coors Field

    For the second game in a row, the Mets put together an impressive show of offense, rapping out 15 hits. Todd Zeile, Melvin Mora, Todd Pratt, and Edgardo Alfonzo each go deep in the effort, and Al Leiter gives up only three runs through the first seven innings. With a seemingly comfortable eight-run lead, Leiter takes the mound to start the eighth but begins to unravel when Rey Ordoñez starts the inning with an error (already the sixth of the year for the formerly unimpeachable shortstop). After a walk, Leiter gives up a two-run single and gives way to the bullpen. Turk Wendell proceeds to load the bases and Dennis Cook unloads them by giving up a grand slam to Tom Goodwin. To be safe, the Mets pull together three more runs in the top of the ninth, which prove crucial after Armando Benítez allows a two-run homer in the bottom half. Benítez records the final outs with little trouble, however, and the Mets escape with a win by the skin of their teeth.

May

  • Monday, May 1, 2000

    San Francisco Giants 10, New York Mets 3 at Pacific Bell Park

    Charter Generation K member Bill Pulsipher draws an emergency start (replacing the injured Bobby J. Jones) in the Mets’ first game at the brand new ballpark in San Francisco. His evening, and the Mets’, goes downhill quickly in a disastrous three-run bottom of the fourth that includes a hit batter and three walks, one of them issued to opposing pittcher Shawn Estes as he attempts to lay down a sacrifice bunt. The home team proceeds to abuse New York’s bullpen for six more runs, including the first ever home run belted into McCovey Cove. (Barry Bonds is the belter, Rich Rodriguez the beltee.) The lone highlight for the Mets is an amazing leaping catch by Jay Payton in the bottom of the third to rob a home run from Bill Mueller, for all the good it does the visitors.
  • Tuesday, May 2, 2000

    San Franciso Giants 7, New York Mets 1 at Pacific Bell Park

    Glendon Rusch had been enjoying a fine spring, coming into this game having given up all of five runs all year. He leaves it the prime culprit in an ugly six-run inning and another Met defeat. New York scores in the top of the first on a Robin Ventura double, but find themselves shaking their heads as the third baseman’s blast—which would have been a home run at Shea and many other parks—banks off the towering brick wall in right field. Rusch allows the Giants to break a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fourth by giving up a double and two singles to start the inning, but things don’t really unravel until he hits J.T. Snow with a pitch. Bobby Valentine argues Snow made no effort to get out of the way of Rusch’s pitch, with no success. A Rich Aurilia RBI single plates another Giants run, and is followed immediately by grand slam by Bobby Estalella that puts the game out of reach for New York.
  • Wednesday, May 3, 2000

    San Francisco Giants 8, New York Mets 5 (11 innings) at Pacific Bell Park

    Three times in this game, the Mets hand Mike Hampton a lead, and each time he allows the Giants to tie the score, mostly due to the wildness that has plagued him all season. Jon Nunnally belts a leadoff home run in the top of the first, and Jeff Kent hits a RBI single in the bottom half. Derek Bell knocks in a run in the top of the third, and Hampton gives it right back in bottom half after issuing a leadoff walk to opposing pitcher Russ Ortiz. Todd Pratt collects an RBI double in the top of the fourth, and Hampton undoes his good deed with a three-run bottom of the sixth, a frame that includes four walks, two of them with the bases loaded. The Mets fight back to tie the game on a two-run triple by Melvin Mora in the top of the seventh, but are denied chances to score further. A pinch hit double from Mike Piazza (making his first appearance since a home plate collision in Colorado) goes to waste when Todd Zeile strikes out looking on a pitch that appears outside to the naked eye. Zeile is on the wrong side of a bad call once again in the top of the eleventh when he is forced out at second, even though the throw appears to pull shortstop Rich Aurilia off the bag. The Mets’ bullpen is stellar until the bottom of that inning, when Turk Wendell (in his second inning of work) starts the frame with a single and a walk. Jeff Kent follows with a long home run to left field that brings to an end another long, frustrating day in San Francisco.
  • Thursday, May 4, 2000

    San Francisco Giants 7, New York Mets 2 at Pacific Bell Park

    Called on to put a halt to the Mets’ losing streak, Rick Reed does an excellent job of it for seven innings, allowing just one run over that stretch. Thanks to a two-run Mike Piazza blast in the top of the seventh, New York takes a lead into the bottom of the eighth, but Reed opens the door for the home team with a walk and a single to open the inning. One out later, a pinch hit single by Felipe Crespo ties the game. Dennis Cook is called on to restore order, but after he is called for a balk, the lefty loses his cool and plunks a batter, which prompts a bloodless bench clearing. Cook is removed in favor of Armando Benítez, but the Mets’ closer throws the game away by allowing a three-run triple and a two-run homer, thus ensuring the Mets are swept right out of San Francisco. It marks the Giants’ first four-game sweep of the Mets since 1962.
  • Friday, May 5, 2000

    New York Mets 4, Florida Marlins 1 at Pro Player Stadium

    Most of the Mets are forced to take a brutal cross-country flight from San Francisco the night before their first game in Miami. Al Leiter is given the option to fly ahead of his teammates, however, and wisely chooses to do so. Well rested, he baffles his former team for seven innings while striking out nine in the series opener against the Marlins. The exhausted batters cobble together their runs on an Edgardo Alfonzo sac fly in the top of the first, a Rey Ordoñez double in the second, a Mike Piazza solo shot to lead off the fourth, and a bases loaded walk from a wild Marlins bullpen in the eighth. Leiter’s lone brush with trouble comes in the bottom sixth when a bunt single by Luis Castillo (the Mets dispute the safe call at first, to no avail) and two walks load the bases with one out. Leiter fans Mike Lowell and Derek Lee to escape danger, and the Marlins don’t threaten the rest of the way. Subbing for an overworked Armando Benítez, John Franco earns the save.
  • Saturday, May 6, 2000

    Florida Marlins 9, New York Mets 1 at Pro Player Stadium

    The Mets grab the first lead in this game when Derek Bell crushes a 455-foot homer in the top of the fourth. But a chance to score more in that inning dies on the vine when Robin Ventura and Edgardo Alfonzo combine for a strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play. Nothing else goes right for the visitors for the remainder of their time in Florida. Making his second start in place of the injured Bobby J. Jones, Bill Pulsipher keeps the Marlins at bay until the bottom of the fourth, when they torch him for six hits and five runs, a rally that includes a two-run double by opposing pitcher Alex Fernandez. Few of the hits are especially well struck (one single falls in when Edgardo Alfonzo fails to make an over-the-shoulder catch on a pop up), but it’s enough to end Pulsipher’s day. The game is put completely out of reach in the eighth when Armando Benítez argues his way onto the mound to get some work in. He proceeds to walk three batters and give up a grand slam to Preston Wilson.
  • Sunday, May 7, 2000

    Florida Marlins 3, New York Mets 0 at Pro Player Stadium

    Glendon Rusch pitches well in the series finale in Miami, holding the Marlins to one run over seven innings of work. However, as has often been the case in his starts this year, Rusch gets no support from his offense. He allows three consecutive singles to start the game and little else the rest of the way, but the one run produced by those singles is enough to beat him and the Mets. Their bats are rendered useless by Florida starter Ryan Dempster, who tosses a brilliant complete game one-hitter. The Marlins needlessly pad their lead with three consecutive doubles that produce two runs in the bottom of the eighth.
  • Tuesday, May 9, 2000

    New York Mets 2, Pittsburgh Pirates 0 at Three Rivers Stadium

    Mike Hampton tosses the first ace-like performance of his Mets career, pitching into the ninth inning, striking out eight batters, and—most remarkably, in light of his wildness to this point in the season—walking only one. He nearly goes the distance despite taking a grounder off his pitching wrist in the bottom of the fifth, a ball hit so hard it leaves stitch marks. Hampton has to be on top of his game, as Pirate hurler Kris Benson is almost as sharp over eight innings of work, holding the Mets to a pair of solo shots by Derek Bell and Edgardo Alfonzo. When Hampton begins to fade in the ninth inning, allowing a single and hit batsman to put the tying runs on base with one out, Armando Benítez is called on to shut the door. Benítez has made a few appearances of late and pitched terribly in them, but in this case he retires the next two Pirates to cap a much-needed win.
  • Wednesday, May 10, 2000

    Pittsburgh Pirates 13, New York Mets 9 at Three Rivers Stadium

    The Mets break an early 1-all tie with a five-run outburst in the top of the third that includes an Edgardo Alfonzo two RBI double, a two-run blast by Mike Piazza, and a Robin Ventura solo shot. That should have been enough for Rick Reed, the Mets’ most reliable starter so far this season, but Reed allows Pittsburgh to tie things up with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings and a three-run outburst in the sixth. New York retakes the lead on a Todd Zeile RBI double in the top of the seventh, but the bullpen implodes in the bottom half as Dennis Cook and Pat Mahomes allow five runs to cross the plate while failing to record a single out. The Pittsburgh rally is aided by Rickey Henderson, who pulls up short on a catchable hit and watches it bounce over his head for a two-run ground-rule double. John Franco allows two more runs in the eighth to remove any dreams of a comeback.
  • Thursday, May 11, 2000

    New York Mets 3, Pittsburgh Pirates 2 at Three Rivers Stadium

    So far, the Mets have won every game that Al Leiter has started in 2000, and that pattern continues in the conclusion of the Pittsburgh series (which also brings a brutal 13-game road trip to a merciful end). Though New York was shut out by rookie Pirates hurler Jimmy Anderson a few weeks ago, they score two quick runs against him in the first, thanks to an error by outfielder Brian Giles and a Todd Zeile RBI single. Zeile also belts a home run in the top of the fourth that proves the margin of victory. Leiter allows one run in the bottom of the second—a frame marked by a series of strange bloops and errant throws that, contrary to their recent luck, do not spiral out of control for the Mets—and a Dustin Hermansen solo shot in the fifth, but nothing else. Robin Ventura comes to his aid in the sixth when he fields a two-out bad hop grounder and, rather than risk an off-balance throw to first base, heaves the ball home and nails a runner at the plate instead to end the inning. It also constitutes the Pirates’ last threat, as Leiter goes the distance and keeps the home team at bay the rest of the way.
  • Friday, May 12, 2000

    Florida Marlins 6, New York Mets 4 at Shea Stadium

    Though they are finally back at Shea following a grueling 13-game road trip, the Mets look a lot like the team that struggled badly away from Queens in the opener of their homestand. Just like last week in Miami, Glendon Rusch is outpitched by Ryan Dempster. The Marlin pitcher even knocks in the first Florida run with an RBI double in the top of the second. Rusch is knocked out of the box by a top of the fourth in which he gives up a three-run homer to Preston Wilson and a solo shot to Derek Lee that put Florida on top, 6-0. The Mets finally do some damage to Dempster with a four-run bottom half that features a two-run homer by Mike Piazza and a Robin Ventura longball, but that is as close as they get. The biggest news of the game, however, is Rickey Henderson’s embarrassing “home run trot” on a ball that fails to clear the outfield fence, and his defiantly unapologetic stance afterwards, an insouciance that will earn him his release the following day.
  • Saturday, May 13, 2000

    Florida Marlins 7, New York Mets 6 at Shea Stadium

    The Mets take an early 3-0 lead on a Derek Bell homer and a pair of runs that score thanks to some ugly throwing errors by the Marlins. Spot starter Pat Mahomes holds the Marlins to a Kevin Millar two-run homer in the first five innings and, immediately after allowing that shot, helps his own cause with a two-out RBI double. After Mahomes allows the Marlins to tie the game at 4 in the top of the sixth, the Mets briefly retake the lead on a Todd Zeile solo shot to start the bottom half. But the decisive blow of the game comes in the top of the seventh, when Dennis Cook allows a back-breaking three-run homer to Preston Wilson. Edgardo Alfonzo knocks in a run in the bottom of the ninth and moves as far as second base, representing the tying run, but that is as close as the Mets come to a comeback.
  • Sunday, May 14, 2000

    New York Mets 5, Florida Marlins 1 at Shea Stadium

    Desperate for a win, the Mets entrust the ball to Mike Hampton, who turns in another brilliant performance that helps dull the sting of his ugly, early spring. It does not begin well, as the lefty allows singles to the first three batters he faces on a grand total of four pitches to load the bases, but he escapes that jam without allowing a run and is in command the rest of the way. For good measure, he kickstarts a five-run outburst in the bottom of the sixth by bunting for a single and scoring all the way from first on a Joe McEwing double. After the Mets load the bases on two walks and a single, Mike Piazza unloads them with a grand slam jack over the right field fence. Resting on this cushion, Hampton allows one run in the top of the eighth but nothing else, and walks no one in his complete game effort.
  • Tuesday, May 16, 2000

    Colorado Rockies 4, New York Mets 3 (11 innings) at Shea Stadium

    The Rockies are without slugger Todd Helton for this series, due to a hamstring he suffered in Montréal, but the Mets still drop the opener to a mediocre Colorado club. The home team falls behind early as Rick Reed allows an RBI double in the top of the second. After Robin Ventura ties the score on a solo shot, Reed allows the Rockies to go in front again when he throws a pickoff throw under Todd Zeile’s glove at first, a throwing error that eventually leads to two Colorado runs. The Mets rally to tie the score against old friend Masato Yoshii thanks to a Mike Piazza RBI groundout in the fourth and Todd Zeile homer to lead off the seventh. But the Mets neglect several opportunities to take the lead, sending the game into extras and setting up an unlikely hero. Bubba Carpenter, Rockie rookie at age 31, belts the second pitch he sees from Turk Wendell for a go-ahead homer in the top of the eleventh. The Mets get a double from Zeile in the bottom half but little else, going down in defeat to drop to an even 20-20 on the season.
  • Wednesday, May 17, 2000

    New York Mets 4, Colorado Rockies 2 at Shea Stadium

    Continuing the fantastic start to his season, Al Leiter tosses eight brilliant innings, limiting the Rockies to five hits. His lone spot of trouble comes in the top of the third, when a walk and two hits lead to two runs, but the Mets steal a run back in the bottom half on a Joe McEwing RBI single, then grab the lead thanks to a two-run Robin Ventura double in the fifth. A Derek Bell RBI single in the eighth pads their advantage, while John Franco earns the save in place of an overworked Armando Benítez.
  • Friday, May 19, 2000

    New York Mets 4, Arizona Diamondbacks 3 at Shea Stadium

    Rain washes out the series finale against the Colorado Rockies and forces Bobby J. Jones to make his first start off the disabled list against the Arizona Diamondbacks instead. Still rusty from his time on the shelf, Jones’s slow delivery to the plate results in astounding seven stolen bases by the opposition (with some assistance from errant throws by Mike Piazza). He also suffers the indignity of allowing a two-run single to opposing pitcher Todd Stottlemyre in the top of the second. After his teammates tie the score on RBIs from Mark Johnson and Rey Ordoñez in the bottom of the fourth, Jones immediately allows Arizona to scratch out another run in the top of the fifth. He caps the damage there, however, and shows command of all his pitches to keep the Mets in the game, while Piazza atones for his less-than-steller pickoff throws by bashing an opposite field two-run homer to give the Mets the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Piazza also flashes some leather at the plate in the seventh inning when he snares a bouncing cutoff throw in time to tag out speedster Tony Womack as he attempts to score. Turk Wendell and John Franco pitch scoreless innings, while Armando Benítez logs his 10th save of the season.
  • Saturday, May 20, 2000

    New York Mets 8, Arizona Diamondbacks 7 at Shea Stadium

    The second game against the Diamondbacks is preceded by a 3.5-hour rain delay, then proceeds to last far longer than it should. With Mike Hampton on the mound, the Mets build a hefty lead against the Arizona Diamondbacks. After scoring once in the third, the home team abuses D-Backs starter Omar Daal for five runs in the fourth inning, with the scoring starting on a two-run single by Hampton himself. The lefty allows no runs and just five hits over six innings, while an Edgardo Alfonzo two-run shot in the seventh gives the Mets a seemingly insurmountable 8-0 lead. There seems little cause for concern in the top of the eighth when Pat Mahomes allows a two-run homer, but things get dicey in the ninth as Rich Rodriguez and John Franco combine to give up five runs, four of them scoring with two outs on the board. When Franco gives up a two-run single that draws Arizona within a run, Bobby Valentine finally brings in Armando Benítez, who strikes out Erubiel Durazo to finally bring the game to an end.
  • Sunday, May 21, 2000

    New York Mets 7, Arizona Diamondbacks 6 at Shea Stadium

    In the first game of the 1999 division series, the Mets took fireballing southpaw Randy Johnson to woodshed. In this game, they do it again, but instead of Edgardo Alfonzo doing most of the damage, the offense stems from the astonishing source of Joe McEwing. Johnson is overpowering for stretches, fanning 13 Mets batters and 11 of 14 at one point, but the home team manages a few outbursts against him. Most of these rallies are ignited by the pint-sized part-timer, who gets to The Big Unit for a pair of doubles and a home run, as the Mets somehow hang five runs on Johnson’s ledger. Rick Reed is not on top of his game, as he allows five runs of his own to the Arizona offense over seven innings. After the Mets tie the game at 5 in the bottom of the seventh on a pair of solo shots by McEwing and Alfonzo, Dennis Cook allows the Diamondbacks to retake the lead on a homer off the bat of Steve Finley. The Mets knot the score again on a pinch hit longball by Robin Ventura (not in the starting lineup to rest a strained thigh muscle for the second day in a row) in the eighth, allowing McEwing to come through once more in the ninth. Super Joe leads off the frame by working a walk against Arizona’s submarining closer Byung-hyun Kim, then steals second, which allows him to score the winning run on a Derek Bell single, capping a Mets sweep.
  • Monday, May 22, 2000

    San Diego Padres 1, New York Mets 0 at Qualcomm Stadium In the first game of a zig-zagging nine-game road trip, Glendon Rusch tosses seven brilliant shutout innings against the Padres. Typical of his luck thus far this season, the lefty is matched and then some by San Diego rookie Matt Clement, who throws eight scoreless innings of his own. When John Franco enters the game in the bottom of the eighth, he allows a one-out single to Eric Owens, who then swipes second and comes around to score on a Ruben Rivera hit that sneaks through the infield, beating a throw to the plate from Joe McEwing by a hair. The Mets make a bid to even in the score in the ninth against closer Trevor Hoffman by leading off the inning with a pair of singles by Edgardo Alfonzo and Mike Piazza. After a sac bunt moves both runners into scoring position, Hoffman issues an intentional walk to Matt Franco (starting at first to give Todd Zeile a day off). Jay Payton strides to the plate needing only a long fly ball to tie the game, but he pops out feebly to second. Pinch hitter Mark Johnson (batting for Rey Ordoñez) flies out to end a frustrating shutout loss, already the third time this season the Mets have been blanked with Rusch on the mound.
  • Tuesday, May 23, 2000

    New York Mets 5, San Diego Padres 3 (10 innings) at Qualcomm Stadium

    The Mets grab an early lead on an Edgardo Alfonzo RBI single in the top of the first and back-to-back homers by Todd Zeile and Todd Pratt to start the third inning. However, they manage no more hits in regulation after the fourth inning, while the Padres draw even against Al Leiter with a pair of run-scoring doubles in the fourth and a game-tying solo shot by Tony Gwynn in the sixth. The game remains quiet from that point on until the top of the tenth inning, when pinch hitter Mark Johnson bloops a two-out single against Trevor Hoffman. With a man on base, Bobby Valentine turns to another pinch hitter: Mike Piazza, who’d spent most of this game on the bench for a scheduled day off. Piazza continues his traditional dominance of the Padres’ closer (5-for-12, 11 RBIs, 4 home runs against him) by hitting one of his trademark laserbeam shots into the right field seats for a two-run homer. In the bottom half, Armando Benítez allows a leadoff walk but nothing else to save a much-needed victory.
  • Wednesday, May 24, 2000

    San Diego Padres 5, New York Mets 4 at Qualcomm Stadium

    Bobby Jones turns in another mediocre outing, putting his team in a deep hole with a four-run second inning that includes home runs by Ryan Klesko and Bret Boone and an RBI double off the bat of Ruben Rivera. Jones sticks around for five full innings and does a commendable job of pitching himself out of his own jams, stranding runners in scoring position in the third, fourth, and fifth innings. Unfortunately, his teammates prove just as inefficient at maximizing their opportunities. A long hit by Robin Ventura in the fourth barely misses clearing the fence for a three-run homer and goes for a one-run double instead. The Mets load the bases with nobody out in the inning, but can score only one additional run. In the sixth, they load the bases again and once more score only one run, and that on a walk of pinch hitter Matt Franco. Edgardo Alfonzo hits a solo shot in the seventh to tie the game, but Boone unties it by hitting his own to start the bottom of the eighth against Pat Mahomes. Trevor Hoffman strikes out the side in the ninth to hang a loss on Mahomes’s ledger, his first in the majors since 1996.
  • Friday, May 26, 2000

    New York Mets 5, St. Louis Cardinals 2 at Busch Stadium

    In the opener of a three-game set in St. Louis, Mike Hampton tosses eight strong innings, allowing two runs on nine hits. The lefty shows grit by wriggling out of two bases-loaded jams, while he and his teammates scratch out a pair of runs against Pat Hentgen on a bases loaded walk in the first and a sac fly from Hampton himself in the fourth. The Cardinals draw even with an RBI groundout in the fourth and a titanic Jim Edmonds solo shot to start the fifth, and the score stays knotted until the top of the ninth, when a trio of two-out walks brings Robin Ventura to the plate. Owner of a lifetime .364 batting average with the bases juiced, Ventura singles to right field to knock in the go-ahead runs. In the bottom half, Armando Benítez shrugs off a one-out error by Todd Zeile that brings the tying run to the plate, fanning two batters to earn the save.
  • Saturday, May 27, 2000

    New York Mets 12, St. Louis Cardinals 8 at Busch Stadium

    The Mets tattoo Cardinals starter Andy Benes in the top of the first, scoring five times on an Edgardo Alfonzo double, a three-run homer by Mike Piazza, and a Todd Zeile solo shot. But Rick Reed, pitching through a strained oblique, loses his trademark control and hands three runs to St. Louis in the bottom half with his wildness. The Cards tie the game on a two-run blast by Ray Lankford in the third. Piazza goes deep again in the top of the fourth to temporarily give the Mets a lead, but the Cards storm back with two more runs in the bottom half and stretch their advantage with a Mark McGwire RBI single in the sixth. The visitors counter by loading the bases in the eighth on a pair of singles and an error, then unload them with a Todd Zeile grand slam. The Mets tack on two more runs for good measure in the ninth and hang on for an unsightly victory.
  • Sunday, May 28, 2000

    New York Mets 6, St, Louis Cardinals 2 at Busch Stadium

    The Mets make up for lending Glendon Rusch little run support in his previous starts by belting three home runs on his behalf in the St. Louis finale. Todd Zeile gets things started with a solo shot in the top of the second off of Darryl Kile, who has a history of acting as kryptonite against Mets hitters. After the Cardinals tie the score on an RBI sac fly in the bottom half, Rusch singles to start off the third (his first hit in the majors) and comes around to score on an Edgardo Alfonzo blast. The Mets extend their lead when Todd Pratt goes deep against Kile in the fourth. Rusch allows an RBI double to Fernando Viña in the fifth, but the visitors tack via a Joe McEwing RBI double in the sixth and run-scoring single by Jay Payton in the ninth. Rusch turns in seven fine innings, neutralizing the dangerous Mark McGwire by freezing him on a called strike three to skirt trouble in the fourth. John Franco and Armando Benitez close things out in the eighth and ninth, with the Mets closer requiring only five pitches to cap the sweep in St. Louis.
  • Monday, May 29, 2000

    Los Angeles Dodgers 4, New York Mets 1 at Dodger Stadium

    The Mets drop the opener of a three-game set in Los Angeles, as Al Leiter allows a crushing grand slam to Dodger slugger Shawn Green in the sixth, while his teammates do very little against opposing pitcher Chan Ho Park. But the biggest loss of the day comes on the infield, as Rey Ordoñez is lost to a broken forearm when he makes a swipe tag that connects with a base stealer’s batting helmet in the first inning. The injury will cost the shortstop the rest of the season. The fateful sixth inning is set up when Leiter allows a leadoff single. One sac bunt later, he hits F.P. Santangelo. His next pitch nails Mark Grudzielanek to load the bases, and Green clears them with shot over the wall in right-center. The Mets string together some hits in the top of the ninth, including a Joe McEwing RBI double, to bring the tying run to the plate, but the effort proves too little too late as Edgardo Alfonzo grounds out to end a damaging defeat.
  • Tuesday, May 30, 2000

    New York Mets 10, Los Angeles Dodgers 5 at Dodger Stadium

    Forced to improvise by the Rey Ordoñez injury, Bobby Valentine starts Kurt Abbott at shortstop and inserts Melvin Mora (freshly reinstated from the disabled list) in center field and the leadoff spot, while batting Derek Bell second. Mora pays immediate dividends by hitting a leadoff single, stealing second, and scoring on an Edgardo Alfonzo single. The Dodgers pull ahead with three runs in the third off of Bobby Jones, who puts up another disappointing performance, but the Mets retake the lead on RBI singles from Mike Piazza in the top of the fifth and Alfonzo in the top of the sixth. L.A.’s counterpunch comes in the bottom half when Jones, Dennis Cook, and Pat Mahomes conspire to give two runs back. The Dodgers maintain a slim one-run lead until the top of the ninth, when a single and a walk to start the frame set up a game-tying RBI single from Todd Zeile. The Mets retake the lead when Mora works a bases-loaded walk, and then salt the game when pinch hitter Todd Pratt blasts a grand slam. At four hours and nine minutes, it proves the longest nine-inning game in franchise history, and the team’s first win this season when trailing a game in the eighth inning.
  • Wednesday, May 31, 2000

    Los Angeles Dodgers 4, New York Mets 3 at Dodger Stadium

    The Mets jump out to an early lead when Edgardo Alfonzo belts a first-inning solo shot off of Dodger ace Kevin Brown, but the home team draws even when Chad Kreuter takes Mike Hampton deep. Los Angeles jumps ahead after Mark Grudzielanek doubles to start the fourth, then comes home when a Shawn Green grounder—which should have been an inning-ending double play—slips under Kurt Abbott’s glove. The sixth inning brings injuries to superstars on both sides that cast a pall over the rest of the game. In the top half, an Alfonzo liner ricochets off of Brown’s leg, and though he finishes the inning, he can go no further. In the bottom half, while the Dodgers are padding their lead on a Eric Karros RBI single, Mike Piazza is forced to exit the game after he is hit in the head with a Gary Sheffield backswing, a blow that results in a mild concussion and a bloody gash on his forehead. The Mets rebound to tie the game in the top of the eighth when Kurt Abbott belts a leadoff home run (his first RBI of the season) and Alfonzo clubs a two-out run-scoring double. Fonzie’s double misses clearing the wall by mere inches, the Mets come to rue the missed opportunity. In the bottom of the ninth Turk Wendell is victimized by a walkoff home run off the bat of Kevin Elster (erstwhile member of New York’s 1986 championship squad), bringing the Mets’ brutal ping-pong road trip to an ugly end.

June

  • Friday, June 2, 2000

    New York Mets 5, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 3 at Shea Stadium

    In the first game of a long-awaited homestand, Glendon Rusch turns in another solid performance on a damp night at Shea. The lefty’s flow is interrupted by an 82-minute rain delay in the third inning, however, and after a leadoff homer by Jay Payton in the bottom of the interrupted inning gives the Mets an early lead, Rusch allows a run-scoring single to Fred McGriff in the fourth to tie the game. Todd Pratt (filling in for Mike Piazza after his concussion in Los Angeles) belts a solo shot in the fifth to put the Mets back on top, Rusch allows the visitors to retake the lead in the top of the sixth on a two-run shot by McGriff, the veteran slugger’s 400th career home run. But the Mets storm back in the bottom half when Edgardo Alfonzo hits a one-out double, Robin Ventura walks, and Todd Zeile belts a three-run homer to left center. The Devil Rays mount a few threats in the following innings but cash in none of them as the Mets take the series opener.
  • Saturday, June 3, 2000

    New York Mets 1, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 0 at Shea Stadium

    Al Leiter recognizes early on in this game that he won’t be able to throw an effective slider, and so he relies on his curveball and changeup to power through the Devil Rays’ lineup. The result is 6 2/3 innings of scoreless ball in which he issues five walks and puts runners in scoring position in five different innings, but also fans eight batters and allows no runs. His teammates, meanwhile, are unable to do much against Tampa Bay starter Steve Trachsel but are given a gift in the bottom of the third. With Edgardo Alfonzo on second, Todd Zeile hits a high pop up down the left field line. The ball takes a strange trip midair, swayed by the swirling winds that prevail above Shea, and left fielder Greg Vaughn loses track of it. The ball scrapes the outfield wall and bounces on the warning track, allowing Alfonzo to score the only run of the game. After Leiter exits, Dennis Cook, John Franco, and Armando Benítez hold the Devil Rays off the board.
  • Sunday, June 4, 2000

    Tampa Bay Devil Rays 15, New York Mets 5 at Shea Stadium

    In a game so ugly the New York Times says it “may someday be viewed as the game that killed interleague play,” Bobby Jones puts up yet another miserable performance, allowing seven runs in five innings to the worst team in the league. It begins with three runs in the top of the second on consecutive homers given up to the bottom of the Tampa Bay order—including a dinger by opposing pitcher Estaban Yan, who takes Jones yard on the first pitch he ever sees at the major league level. The Mets briefly take the lead on a pair of two-run homers by Jay Payton in the second and Mike Piazza in the third, but the top of the sixth inning brings a slow-motion nightmare in which Jones and the New York infield gifts five runs to the visitors. The pitcher allows two singles and a pair of walks before exiting, while both Todd Zeile and Robin Ventura fail to begin double plays that might have stopped the bleeding. (Ventura’s misplay, a wild throw, is particularly strange as it comes after he is distracted by a shattered bat.) What little chance the Mets have for a comeback disappears in the top of the eighth when Rich Rodriguez hits two batters allows five more runs to score, capped by a three-run shot by Bubba Trammell. (A Kurt Abbott error at shortstop makes all runs but Trammell’s unearned.)
  • Monday, June 5, 2000

    Baltimore Orioles 4, New York Mets 2 at Shea Stadium

    For six innings on an unseasonably windy night at Shea, Mike Hampton stifles the Baltimore offense, limiting them to five hits and one run that scores on an Albert Belle RBI single in the top of the third. His teammates stake him to a lead on the strength of two run-scoring hits in the bottom of the second by Jason Tyner (first round draft pick making his major league debut) and Edgardo Alfonzo, a rally Hampton aids by singling and scoring on Alfonzo’s knock. But the Mets manage no more against Orioles hurler Mike Mussina, and Hampton’s night comes to an abrupt end in the seventh when Baltimore hangs three runs on his account. The first scores when slugger B.J. Surhoff blasts a pitch through the gusts and over the fence in left-center. The lefty then unravels as he allows a single to the following batter and, after a groundout, walks Rich Amaral on a close pitch. Unnerved by not getting the strike call (“Let’s just say they had 10 weapons tonight and used all of them,” the pitcher grumbles after the game ), Hampton gives up the go-ahead run on a single by Mike Bordick. He nearly escapes the inning and jamming the fearsome Belle on an inside pitch, but Belle lofts a single over Todd Zeile’s head to score another run. The Mets mount no comeback efforts as they go down in order in the seventh, eighth, and ninth.
  • Wednesday, June 7, 2000

    New York Mets 11, Baltimore Orioles 3 at Shea Stadium

    The Mets take an early lead on consecutive first inning solo shots by Edgardo Alfonzo and Mike Piazza, the catcher’s a parking lot blast that travels nearly 450 feet. Rick Reed, pitching for the first time in 11 days after an oblique strain, allows the Orioles to crawl out in front by giving up single runs in the second, fourth, and fifth innings; the fourth inning run scores after Jason Tyner drops a fly in left field, though the rookie redeems himself by nailing a runner at the plate shortly thereafter. Reed’s teammates respond with a wild bottom of the sixth that features two triples, two walks, two sac flies, and four runs crossing the plate. For good measure, the Mets pile on with five more runs in the seventh, knocking all of them in with two outs.
  • Thursday, June 8, 2000

    New York Mets 8, Baltimore Orioles 7 (10 innings) at Shea Stadium

    Thanks to a rainout necessitating a game on a scheduled offday, and a dearth of hotel rooms in the New York metro area, the Orioles were forced to fly home to Baltimore prior to this game before returning to Shea for the series finale. It’s the Mets who look tired for most of the game, however, as the home team falls behind early in front of a sparse crowd that fails to break five digits. For the first time this season, Glendon Rusch looks shaky as he stakes the visitors to a 4-0 lead after four innings. The Mets make their first comeback bid in the bottom of the fourth on a three-run blast by Todd Zeile, and after Rusch gives a pair of runs back to Baltimore in the top of the fifth, they rally for three more in the bottom of the sixth to tie the score. A Jay Payton solo shot gives the Mets a brief lead in the bottom of the eight, but John Franco loads the bases on a single and a pair of walks in the top of the ninth. Called on to relieve Franco, Armando Benítez can’t prevent the Orioles from tying the game on a sac fly, but allows no further damage. When the game goes to extras, the role of hero is played by the unlikely source of Kurt Abbott, light hitting shortstop who blasts a home run over the fence in right-center, handing the Mets a hard-fought walkoff win.
  • Friday, June 9, 2000

    New York Mets 12, New York Yankees 2 at Yankee Stadium

    The first game of the Subway Series in the Bronx features a familiar matchup—Al Leiter versus Roger Clemens—and a familiar result. The two aces faced off twice in 1999, and each time Leiter dominated the Yankees while The Rocket was chased from the mound by a back-breaking home run by Mike Piazza. This game follows an identical blueprint. Clemens’s trouble starts in the third when Jason Tyner pushes a bunt and beats it out to lead off the frame. Unnerved, Clemens walks a slumping Derek Bell, watches a passed ball move both runners up a base, and walks Edgardo Alfonzo to bring Piazza to the plate. The catcher wheels on Clemens’s first pitch and knocks it into the batter’s eye for a grand slam. Clemens proceeds to allow single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, and is finally chased off the mound by a two-run shot off the bat of Alfonzo that caps a three-run rally. Bell adds a three-run homer in the seventh to act as window dressing, while Leiter stifles the Yankees over seven innings in this blowout victory.
  • Saturday, June 10, 2000

    New York Yankees 13, New York Mets 5 at Yankee Stadium

    On a muggy afternoon in the Bronx, the Mets make a bid to take the first two Subway Series games by overcoming deficits against Andy Pettitte. After Bobby Jones allows a pair of run-scoring doubles in the bottom of the first, the Mets rebound to take a lead on a solo shot by Jay Payton in the second and a two-run blast by Robin Ventura in the third. When the Yankees tie the score on a long Paul O’Neill home run in the bottom of the third, the Mets go out on top again in the top of the fifth on RBI hits from Payton and Todd Zeile. But the Yankees catch a break in the same frame when Pettitte appears to make a balk move that should bring home a run from third, only to have the umps deem it legal. Given this reprieve, the rest of the game goes the home team’s way. In the bottom half, Jones begins to melt down, allowing a pair of two-out run-scoring hits to O’Neill and Bernie Williams to tie the game. Pat Mahomes enters the game in relief and gives up a monstrous three-run homer to Jorge Posada. Mahomes allows another home run to Derek Jeter in the sixth, while Dennis Cook cedes four more runs in a seventh inning to complete a blowout. A rainout the following evening cuts this leg of the Subway Series short, necessitating a two-stadium doubleheader in July.
  • Tuesday, June 13, 2000

    Chicago Cubs 4, New York Mets 3 at Wrigley Field

    In the first of a brief two-game trip to Chicago, the Mets overcome an early 1-0 deficit on an RBI sac fly from Jason Tyner in the top of the second and a two-run Robin Ventura double in the top of the fifth. Rick Reed can’t hold this advantage, however, as he allows the Cubs to rally for single runs in the fifth and seventh to tie the game. Chicago pulls ahead in the eighth with some assistance from interim shortstop Kurt Abbott. With runners on first and second and one out, Todd Zeile fields a grounder and fires it to Abbott at second for a force out. Abbott then attempts a relay back to first base to complete an inning-ending double play, but his throw is too wide for John Franco, covering the bag, to snare it. As the ball sails past the pitcher, a run scores that proves the margin of error in this game.
  • Wednesday, June 14, 2000

    New York Mets 10, Chicago Cubs 8 at Wrigley Field

    Mike Hampton is the scheduled starter for the last of the Mets’ two games in Chicago, but he only gets to throw one inning before rain delays the proceedings by almost two hours (after the first pitch was also delayed by rain for 35 minutes). The bullpens must duke it out for the majority of this contest—with another stoppage for rain thrown in before the fourth inning—and the results are not pretty. The Cubs mount three separate leads in the early going, but the Mets rebound to draw even each time. When Chicago scores in the bottom of the first, New York ties on a Robin Ventura solo shot in the top of the second. When the Cubs pull ahead on an Augie Ojeda homer in the bottom of the second, the advantage is erased by an RBI sac fly from Benny Agbayani in the top of the fourth. And when Glendon Rusch—pitching in relief due to a long wait between now and his next scheduled start—allows two runs in the bottom of the fourth, Mike Piazza saves the day with a two-run blast in the top of the fifth. The Mets go out in front in the sixth with a four-run outburst powered by four doubles against the Cubs’ shaky relief corps, then expand their lead when Agabayni goes deep to leadoff the top of the seventh. Things get dicey in the bottom half when the Cubs batter Turk Wendell and Dennis Cook for four runs of their own, but Agbayani gives them some breathing room with another homer in the top of the ninth, and the Mets hang on to take this ugly slugfest and earn a split in the Windy City.
  • Friday, June 16, 2000

    New York Mets 7, Milwaukee Brewers 1 at County Stadium

    Picking up where he left off in Chicago, unlikely leadoff man Benny Agbayani belts solo shot to start the Mets’ first game in Milwaukee, making him the first Met to hit a home run in three consecutive at bats since Gary Carter pulled off the feat in 1986. Agbayani knocks in two more runs with a single in the second inning, providing all the scoring necessary for Al Leiter, who throws eight brilliant innings while striking out seven batters and allowing just three hits. New York tacks on with a Melvin Mora RBI double in the third, a two-run homer from Mike Piazza in the sixth, and a run-scoring single from Robin Ventura in the eighth.
  • Saturday, June 17, 2000

    Milwaukee Brewers 3, New York Mets 2 at County Stadium

    Glendon Rusch puts up another respectable outing, allowing just three runs in 6 1/3 innings of work. But as has often been the case this season, the Mets fail to provide him adequate run support, stranding nine runners on the bases. The Mets take a 2-1 lead when Mike Piazza knocks in a run in the top of the fifth, but Rusch allows the Brewers to crawl ahead again by giving up a two-run single to Marquis Grissom in the bottom of the sixth. New York’s best chance to retake the lead comes in the top of the eighth, when Piazza and Ventura begin the inning with back-to-back singles. Fearing his team must take the lead now or face Milwaukee’s closer Bob Wickman in the ninth, Bobby Valentine makes the curious decision to pinch run for both men, removing his best hitters from the game. The gambit fails as Brewer reliever Curtis Leskanic retires the next three batters in order, with pinch hitter Matt Franco zipping a harsh lineout to second base to end the inning. As Valentine feared, Wickman retires the Mets in order in the ninth to conclude a frustrating defeat.
  • Sunday, June 18, 2000

    New York Mets 7, Milwaukee Brewers 3 at County Stadium

    With the Brewers set to move into brand new Miller Stadium in 2001, this marks the Mets’ final game at County Stadium. Rick Reed takes the mound for New York and allows three runs through seven innings of work, which on this day is good enough for his first win since April 29, a day that feels like several millennia ago to the self-deprecating right-hander. Milwaukee takes an early lead when Ronnie Belliard belts a leadoff homer off of Reed, but after a few quiet innings, the Mets retaliate by scoring five times in top of the fourth. This rally is capped by a three-run blast from the unlikely power source of Kurt Abbott, and is only made possible after equally unlikely speed demon Benny Agbayni beats a relay throw to first to prevent an inning-ending double play. The Mets pad their lead on an Edgardo Alfonzo sac fly in the seventh and a Robin Ventura solo shot in the eighth.
  • Tuesday, June 20, 2000

    Philadelphia Phillies 3, New York Mets 2 (10 innings) at Shea Stadium

    In the first game of a lengthy homestand, the Mets jump out to an early lead on a Mike Piazza two-run blast in the first. New York batters inflict no other damage against Phillie starter Paul Byrd or any of Philadelphia's relievers, but for most of the game these two runs appear sufficient to support Mike Hampton. Making his first start uninterrupted by rain in weeks, the lefty stifles the Phillies’ bats for six innings. In the top of the seventh, Philadelphia gets on the board with an RBI sac fly that cuts the Mets’ lead in half. Hampton shuts the door there and the Mets still appear to be primed to win this game when Armando Benítez comes on for the save in the top of the ninth, but the Met closer hangs a slider to rookie slugger Pat Burrell, who belts a game-tying homer. When the Mets fail to score in the bottom half, Benítez returns in the tenth and allows a leadoff double to Doug Glanville. After striking out the next two batters, he backs Mike Lieberthal into a two-strike count, but the Phillie catcher lines a single to center that scores the go-ahead run. The Mets go down in order in the bottom of the tenth to conclude a stinging defeat.
  • Wednesday, June 21, 2000

    Philadelphia Phillies 10, New York Mets 5 at Shea Stadium

    The Mets score three times against Phillie ace Curt Schilling on a 436-foot two-run homer by Mike Piazza in the first and an RBI groundout from Jason Tyner in the second. But Al Leiter has a rare bad outing, giving up three runs of his own in the third after a Robin Ventura throwing error prolongs the inning, then allows solo homers to Pat Burrell and Ron Gant in the sixth and seventh. The Mets attempt a comeback story in the bottom of the eighth, when Derek Bell and Edgardo Alfonzo single to start the inning, then Ventura atones for his earlier error by knocking both of them home to tie the game. But the game gets away from New York when John Franco enters in the top of the ninth, loads the bases, and issues a walk to force in the go-ahead run. Bobby Valentine had wanted to avoid using Armando Benítez in this game, as he threw 32 pitches the night before, but Franco’s ineffectiveness leaves him little choice. Benítez enters the game and promptly gives up a back-breaking grand slam to Burrell, putting a bow on another crushing defeat at the hands of the Phillies.
  • Thursday, June 22, 2000

    New York Mets 5, Philadelphia Phillies 4 at Shea Stadium

    Looking to salvage the finale of their series against Philadelphia, the Mets get off to a poor start when Glendon Rusch allows two runs in the first inning. The lefty settles in after that point, however, and his teammates rebound with the long ball. The Mets cut the lead in half with a Derek Bell solo shot in the first, draw even on another from Melvin Mora in the fifth, and pull ahead on a two-run blast by Jay Payton in the sixth. They scratch out another run on RBI single from Bell in the seventh, which proves crucial when the Phillies score a pair of runs off of Turk Wendell in the eighth. Though Wendell allows the tying run to reach second in the inning, he shuts the door there, while he and Dennis Cook provide some much needed rest to the back of the Mets’ bullpen by combining for a perfect ninth.
  • Friday, June 23, 2000

    New York Mets 12, Pittsburgh Pirates 2 at Shea Stadium

    Bobby Jones returns from a brief stay in the minors—where he’d been sent after his dreadful start at Yankee Stadium to work on his mechanics and general mental outlook—to make the start in the first of three games against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates. He puts up a commendable performance, throwing eight innings of one-run ball while striking out eight batters. It helps that Jones has a large margin for error, as the Met hitters put the game away early with a nine-run bottom of the third, one run short of a franchise record for most runs scored in one inning. The rally starts with a three-run homer by Mike Piazza, includes a double by Melvin Mora that scores another three, and sees Derek Bell score twice. Benny Agbayani drives in two more runs in later innings to complete the rout.
  • Saturday, June 24, 2000

    New York Mets 10, Pittsburgh Pirates 8 at Shea Stadium

    Rick Reed has a rough day at the office, allowing hits to nine of the first 14 batters he faces, including two home runs. His day is done after three innings, with the home team down 4-1. Forced to play catch-up, the Mets mount their first comeback attempt with back-to-back RBI doubles by Derek Bell and Edgardo Alfonzo in the third. Pittsburgh widens its lead with two runs in the top of the fifth and, after Robin Ventura’s solo shot in the bottom of the sixth, expands the advantage to four runs by scoring twice more in the top of the seventh. But New York pushes back again, drawing within a run by scoring three times in the bottom of the inning. The Mets tie the score in the eighth on an Alfonzo double, then go ahead on a two-run knock from Todd Zeile. John Franco and Armando Benítez combine in the ninth to save the come-from-behind victory.
  • Sunday, June 25, 2000

    New York Mets 9, Pittsburgh Pirates 0

    Mike Hampton turns in his most dominating performance as a Met to date, allowing just five hits—only two of them past the second inning—in the course of a complete game shutout. His teammates scratch out a run against Pittsburgh ace Kris Benson in the second inning and two more in the sixth, then make the rest of the proceedings academic with a five-run outburst against Benson and the Pirates’ bullpen in the seventh. Melvin Mora caps the scoring with a solo shot in the eighth.
  • Monday, June 26, 2000

    New York Mets 10, Florida Marlins 5 at Shea Stadium

    The Mets power past the Marlins in the opener of a three-game set against Florida by blasting five home runs in a game for the first time in three years. Amazingly, all five are hit by the bottom of their order. Al Leiter is not his sharpest on this evening, as he allows three runs to a weak Marlins lineup, two on solo home runs, but his offense more than makes up for it. The Mets first get on the board with a Benny Agbayani two-run homer in the bottom of the third. After Robin Ventura breaks up a 3-all tie with an RBI groundout in the sixth, pinch hitter Mark Johnson (fresh up from the minors in place of Jason Tyner) belts a two-run blast to expand the Mets’ lead. The seventh inning sees New York salt this game with three more longballs from Jay Payton, Agbayani, and Melvin Mora.
  • Tuesday, June 27, 2000

    New York Mets 5, Florida Marlins 2 at Shea Stadium

    Glendon Rusch turns in yet another solid performance, throwing 7 2/3 innings while shutting down the Marlins for most of the game. He allows a single and a double to start the top of the fourth, and though Rusch allows both to score on sacrifice flies, that is the extent of the damage against him. In the bottom half, the Mets score four times against Florida starter Jesús Sánchez, then add an insurance run in the seventh on an Edgardo Alfonzo RBI single in the seventh. When Rusch allows two baserunners on an error and a single in the top of the eighth. Bobby Valentine calls on John Franco to shut the door, and though he loads the bases on a bad-luck “single” that hits the first base bag, Franco strikes out ex-Met farmhand Preston Wilson to escape danger. Armando Benítez earns the save with little trouble in the ninth.
  • Wednesday, June 28, 2000

    New York Mets 6, Florida Marlins 5 at Shea Stadium

    In the series finale against the Marlins, Bobby Valentine opts to rest many of his regulars—including Todd Zeile, Robin Ventura, and Edgardo Alfonzo—but the Mets still manage a come-from-behind win. Bobby Jones is not nearly as sharp in his second start back from the minors as he was in his first, as the Marlins touch him up for two home runs and four runs. Down 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth, the Mets mount a furious comeback, scoring five runs with two outs. The rally starts when Florida starter Brad Penny issues his third walk of the inning to force in a run. The first Florida reliever out of the gate issues his own bases-loaded walk to drive in another run, followed by a Mike Piazza grounder that Marlin shortstop Andy Fox can’t handle that brings in the tying run. Mark Johnson (subbing at first for Zeile) then unties the score with a two-run single. Dennis Cook allows Florida to crawl a little closer by giving up a run on two hits in the top of the seventh, but Pat Mahomes enters to shut the door. John Franco earns the save chance by virtue of Armando Benítez’s recent workload, and though he issues a single and a walk, he strands both runners to end the game and seal the sweep of the Marlins, the Mets’ seventh win in a row.
  • Thursday, June 29, 2000

    Atlanta Braves 6, New York Mets 4 at Shea Stadium

    The first meeting between Atlanta and New York in 2000 proceeds like most of their meetings in 1999—sloppy play on the Mets’ part and breaks that all go the way of the Braves. Atlanta draws first blood in the opening inning when a two-out hit by Andres Galarraga skips under Jay Payton’s glove for an RBI triple. They pile on with more two-out runs in the third, beginning with an Andruw Jones single that bounces off of Rick Reed’s left wrist. The pitcher tries to gut his way through the inning, but proceeds to give up another single to Chipper Jones and a three-run blast to Galarraga. Though the Mets catch one break when scheduled starter Greg Maddux misses the game due to illness, they do little against emergency starter John Burkett, and are also unable to take full advantage of a trio of Brave errors. They score two unearned runs against Burkett in the bottom of the third, but Robin Ventura strikes out to end the inning, extinguishing a chance to score more. Another error leads to another pair of runs in the sixth, but pinch hitter Lenny Harris lets the Braves off the hook by bouncing into a double play. John Rocker, public enemy number one for his offseason comments about New York City and the 7 train, enters the game to a chorus of boos but retires the Mets in order anyway. The home team goes quietly in the ninth to cap a frustrating but familiar defeat.
  • Friday, June 30, 2000

    New York Mets 11, Atlanta Braves 8 at Shea Stadium

    Mike Hampton pitches seven innings in this game but struggles mightily during them, as do most of his teammates. He walks in a run in the top of the first and allows two more to score on a Javy Lopez single. Atlanta tacks on a fifth run in the top of the seventh, while Kevin Millwood dominates Met hitters, allowing just a single run over seven innings. When a Brian Jordan three-run homer appears to salt the game for Atlanta in the top of the eighth, Bobby Cox asks the B-squad in his bullpen to protect a hefty lead, beginning with well traveled reliever Don Wengert. A fateful bottom of the eighth starts with a pair of singles sandwiched around a flyout. When Robin Ventura drives in a run with a groundout, it seems of little consequence. But then Todd Zeile knocks in another run with a single, and Jay Payton follows with a single of his own. Wishing to take no chances, Cox yanks Wenger and inserts Kerry Ligtenberg, Atlanta’s closer. But Ligtenberg can’t find the strike zone and issues three straight walks to force in two more runs. Cox removes Ligtenberg in favor of veteran Terry Mulholland, but he walks the first batter he faces to force in yet another run. Mulholland then backs Edgardo Alfonzo into a two-strike count, only to watch him sneak a single past third base to drive in two runs and improbably tie the game. With a sellout Shea crowd losing its mind, Mike Piazza gives them even more to scream about as he wheels on Mulholland’s next pitch and rockets it beyond the left field fence for three-run laser beam blast. The 10 runs scored in the inning match a franchise record, and ensure an insane, cathartic win for the Mets.

July

  • Saturday, July 1, 2000

    New York Mets 9, Atlanta Braves 1 at Shea Stadium

    The day after a thrilling, come-from-behind victory against their most hated rivals, the Mets pull off another shocking win against Atlanta by jumping all over Greg Maddux (finally back on the mound after a brief illness knocked him out of the first two games of the series). The home team scratches out a run in the first when a wild pitch results in a runner scoring from third, then explode for a furious six-run rally in the second, with all runs scoring with two outs. First, Benny Agbayani belts a solo shot to left field. Then the next two batters reach base, followed by a Derek Bell double to score them both, and an Edgardo Alfonzo single to drive in another. The outburst is capped by a long two-run blast by Mike Piazza. Al Leiter stifles the Mets for seven innings, scattering six hits and striking out 12 Atlanta batters.
  • Sunday, July 2, 2000

    Atlanta Braves 10, New York Mets 2 at Shea Stadium

    In the series finale between the two NL East rivals, it's the Braves’ turn to cobble together a two-out rally. In the top of the second, Derek Bell makes a dive for a fly ball but fails to hold onto it as he hits the ground, resulting in a double. After a sac fly drives in the first run of the inning, Glendon Rusch gives up a flurry of run-scoring hits in succession, the killer a two-run single by the light hitting Quilvio Veras. Rusch also gives up a solo shot to Javy Lopez in the third, followed by single runs in the fifth and sixth that put the game out of reach for the Mets, though the Braves strike for three more runs in late inning garbage time. Per usual, the home team can do nothing against Tom Glavine, save for back-to-back solo shots by Mike Piazza and Robin Ventura in the bottom of the seventh. Piazza’s blast extends the catcher’s streak of consecutive games with an RBI to 15.
  • Monday, July 3, 2000

    Florida Marlins 2, New York Mets 0 at Pro Player Stadium

    In the first game of quick three-game road trip in Miami, the Mets get an excellent outing from Bobby Jones, who limits the Marlins to four hits over six innings. He looks particularly impressive escaping a first-and-third, no-out situation in the bottom of the fifth by striking out three batters in succession. Unfortunately, Florida’s Jesús Sánchez (a one-time Mets prospect who was part of the deal that brought Al Leiter to New York) also limits the opposition to four hits, and does so over eight frustrating innings. The visitors end the day an agonizing 0-for-11 with men in scoring position. Mike Piazza comes to bat with a runner at second base twice and fails to cash him in on both occasions, a futility that ends his consecutive games with an RBI streak at 15. The game remains scoreless until the bottom of the ninth, when Turk Wendell hangs a slider that Derek Lee deposits over the center field fence, scoring the only runs of the game.
  • Tuesday, July 4, 2000

    Florida Marlins 9, New York Mets at Pro Player Stadium

    Bobby M. Jones is recalled from the minors for this game to make his first start of the season, an assignment that puts him in line to pitch a showcase Sunday night matchup against the Yankees the following weekend. Unfortunately, nothing the southpaw Jones does in this game inspires much confidence he will be given that chance. After scratching out single runs in the first and second innings, Derek Bell belts a three-run homer in the top of the fourth to give the Mets a seemingly commanding 5-0 lead. But in the bottom half, Jones walks two batters before surrendering a long three-run blast to Alex Gonzalez (who came into the game batting a whopping .174). Things completely unravel for Jones in the sixth when a leadoff walk and a single are followed by a game-tying double from Mark Kotsay. After another hit, Jones is removed for Pat Mahomes, who watches helplessly as the Marlins steal another run when Melvin Mora double-clutches after fielding an error pickoff throw, thus allowing Kotsay to steal home. Mora allows the disastrous inning to continue by botching a grounder at shortstop, leading to three more runs. The Mets attempt a comeback with a two-run homer by Todd Zeile in the sixth and a solo shot by Edgardo Alfonzo to lead off the ninth. They even push the tying run to second with one out, but Marlin closer Antonio Alfonseca strikes out Pratt and (of course) Mora to end the game.
  • Wednesday, July 5, 2000

    New York Mets 11, Florida Marlins 2 at Pro Player Stadium

    Salvaging the finale in Florida, the Mets jump all over Marlin pitching. Derek Bell leads the way with three hits, including a game-salting three-run blast in the sixth, continuing his hot hitting of late (4 homer, .468 average in his last 14 games). Starting pitcher Mike Hampton matches him with three hits of his own while pitching six solid innings. He is removed at that point having only thrown 79 pitches, in deference to back stiffness and the possibility of starting an upcoming game against the Yankees on short rest. The offensive explosion is such that even little-used reliever Eric Cammack contributes a hit and an RBI.
  • Friday, July 7, 2000

    New York Yankees 2, New York Mets 1 at Shea Stadium

    In the opener of the Queens leg of the Subway Series, the largest Shea crowd in 28 years watches Orlando “El Duque” Hernández outduel Al Leiter. The Mets’ ace gives up two runs in the first inning on four straight singles, but clamps down on the opposition the rest of the way. Unfortunately for the Mets, Hernandez is both stingier and luckier, and the few chances the home team enjoys are either thwarted or blunted. In the second inning, Robin Ventura follows a one-out Todd Zeile double by smashing a ball down the third base line, only to watch it sail right into the glove of Scott Brosius. In the third inning, with a man on second and one out, Melvin Mora attempts to bunt his way on but runs right into his own batted ball for the second out, killing a potential rally. In the bottom of the fifth, El Duque seems to falter when he walks the first two batters he faces, then gives up a screaming line drive to Benny Agbayani. But the pitcher spears the ball before flipping it to second to complete an impressive double play. In the bottom of the eighth, with a man on third and one out, Derek Bell belts one to deep right field, a hit that looks to all the world like a game-tying two-run homer, until the wind holds it up for a mere sac fly. This scores the Mets’ only run of the game, as they are retired easily by Mariano Rivera in the ninth.
  • Saturday, July 8, 2000 (Game 1)

    New York Yankees 4, New York Mets 2 at Shea Stadium

    In the first game of an historic two-stadium doubleheader between the Yankees and Mets, Doc Gooden makes his first start at Shea Stadium since leaving the team after the 1994 season. Following an appreciative reception from Mets fans, Gooden turns in a just-good-enough performance, limiting his former team to two runs and six hits in a tidy five innings of work. Bobby Jones pitches well, though he is on the wrong side of some curious officiating in the first inning. Jay Payton appears to throwout leadoff batter Chuck Knoblauch as he attempts to stretch a single into a double, but the initial call is overturned when umpire Robb Cook says first baseman Todd Zeile interfered with the runner. The call only comes after Cook is screamed at by Yankees first base coach Lee Mazzilli, which ensures him being screamed at even further by a furious Bobby Valentine, who is ejected for his trouble. (The Mets play the game under protest.) Following the fracas, the Yankees score twice in the inning. The Mets tie the game on a Benny Agbayani RBI groundout in the second and run-scoring double by Derek Bell in the fifth, but the Yankees regain the lead in the top of the sixth when Tino Martinez drives a low, tailing Jones fastball for an opposite field solo shot. Martinez adds an insurance run in the eighth on an RBI single, while the Mets fail to move a baserunner past second after the fifth inning.
  • Saturday, July 8, 2000 (Game 2)

    New York Yankees 4, New York Mets 2 at Yankee Stadium

    In the Bronx half of the doubleheader, the Yankees prevail by the same score as the first. The events of the game are overshadowed by a scary incident in the second inning, when Roger Clemens nails Mike Piazza in the head with a 92 mph fastball. Piazza is forced to leave the game, sustaining a minor concussion that will keep him from playing in the impending All Star Game. The enraged Mets believe the beaning is retribution for Piazza’s gaudy numbers against The Rocket. They nearly exact revenge by besting Clemens with a furious two-out rally in the top of the fifth, culminating with a pair of RBI singles by Derek Bell and Edgardo Alfonzo. However, the Yankees storm right back with a four-run outburst in the bottom half, capped by a three-run blast by Chuck Knoblauch off of Glendon Rusch. Both Clemens and Rusch pitch through the eighth without further incident, while Mariano Rivera silences the Mets in the ninth to conclude a long, frustrating day of baseball.
  • Sunday, July 9, 2000

    New York Mets 2, New York Yankees 0 at Shea Stadium

    In the last game of this season’s Subway Series, and the last game before the All Star Break, Mike Hampton and Andy Pettitte face off, each pitching on short rest. Pettitte pitches better overall, but he also surrenders a solo shot to Todd Zeile to start the bottom of the fourth. The Mets get some insurance when Todd Pratt walks to start the seventh, moves to second on a Hampton sac bunt, hustles to third on a wild pitch by reliever Jeff Nelson, and scores on a sac fly. Hampton allows more baserunners than his Yankee counterpart, but takes advantage of pickoff moves and failed stolen base attempts to escape danger. He comes out to start the eighth inning, but a cramp that flares up during between innings warm-ups forces him from the mound and forces Armando Benítez to a two-inning save. Benítez allows baserunners in both innings but strands them all, ensuring the Mets a much needed win.
  • Thursday, July 13, 2000

    Boston Red Sox 4, New York Mets 3 at Fenway Park

    The Mets start the second half of their season with an 11-game roadtrip that commences with an interleague trip to Boston. In an attempt to show he is recovered from being hit in the head with 92 mph Roger Clemens fastball, Mike Piazza starts the game and catches all nine innings. He and the Mets are forced to battle against Pedro Martínez, in the midst of another brilliant season on the mound. Pedro fans 10 Mets batters, but somehow his magic does not work on rookie outfielder Jay Payton. In the top of the second, consecutive two-out doubles by Todd Zeile and Payton plate the first New York run. And after Bobby Jones surrenders a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth, Payton ties the game at 2 with a solo shot over the Green Monster. In the eighth, a pair of two-out singles by Edgardo Alfonzo and Piazza combine with an error committed by ex-Met Carl Everett to give New York the lead. But in the ninth, all the luck goes against the Mets. First, a Melvin Mora error on a potential game-ending double play ball allows the winning run to reach base. Then, with two out, Armando Benítez believes he throws strike three to Brian Daubach but does not get the call. Given this reprieve, Daubach lines the next pitch down the right field line. Right fielder Derek Bell figures the ball will either bounce in to the stands or carom off the outfield wall right back to him. Instead, the ball hugs the wall, and by the time Bell recovers it, the tying and winning runs have scored, thus ending a frustrating near-miss for the Mets.
  • Friday, July 14, 2000

    New York Mets 6, Boston Red Sox 4 at Fenway Park

    The Mets’ second game in Boston is delayed by an hour, due to a power outage. Once there is light enough to see, Glendon Rusch pitches well in six innings of work, though he can’t solve the riddle of Troy O’Leary, who reaches him for two RBI singles. His teammates build a lead on the strength of a Mike Piazza solo shot and a two-run homer off the bat of yesterday’s goat, Melvin Mora. Things fall apart quickly, however, once Rusch gives way to Turk Wendell to start the seventh inning. After a walk and a sacrifice, Wendell is removed in favor of Dennis Cook, who the Red Sox are convinced is doctoring his balls. Boston designated hitter Brian Daubach asks Todd Pratt to take one of Cook’s pitches out of play so it can be checked, a command the catcher resents deeply. The batter and catcher get in each other’s face and the benches clear briefly. After all the perfunctory posturing is through, Daubach lashes a game-tying single. Following a walk, Cook plunks Carl Everett and earns himself an ejection. The lefty leaves the mound enraged and pointing toward the batter’s box, expressing his belief that Everett crowded the plate in the harshest of terms. The latest Mets reliever, Rich Rodriguez, then allows O’Leary’s third RBI hit of the day, a bloop single that puts Boston on top. The Mets appear ticketed for another infuriating loss until Red Sox manager Jimy Williams makes a curious pitching change. Even though his righty, Hipolito Pichardo, had set down eight batters in row, Williams turns to his closer, Derek Lowe, with two outs in the top of the eighth. Lowe proceeds to give up a single to Edgardo Alfonzo, followed by a towering Mike Piazza blast that bounces off a Coke bottle mounted above the Green Monster. A Melvin Mora RBI single in the top of the ninth pads the Mets’ lead, and though Armando Benítez allows a double and a walk in the bottom half, he hangs on to earn the save.
  • Saturday, July 15, 2000

    Boston Red Sox 6, New York Mets 4 at Fenway Park

    The finale of the Mets’ series in Boston becomes infamous around the league for a tantrum thrown by outfielder Carl Everett. Enraged by home plate umpire Ron Kulpa drawing a line in the first with his foot to indicate the batter’s box—a move he and his team credit to the Mets barking about him standing too close to the plate—Everett goes ballistic, bumping Kulpa and throwing his helmet in disgust. As for the game itself, the Mets take themselves to an early lead on a two-run first inning double by Todd Zeile. The Red Sox tie the score in the fifth, then march ahead on a three-run homer by Brian Daubach in the sixth and expand the lead with another run in the seventh. The Mets do some damage in the ninth, as Mike Piazza leads off the inning with a home run and Todd Pratt singles in another run. A Benny Agbayani single brings the winning run to the plate in the form of Melvin Mora, but closer Derek Lowe induces a comebacker to end the game.
  • Sunday, July 16, 2000

    Toronto Blue Jays 7, New York Mets 3 at SkyDome

    In the first of three games against the Blue Jays, Al Leiter and the Mets gripe about the inconsistent strike zone of rookie umpire Mike Fitcher. Leiter is particularly perturbed about a sequence in the bottom of the sixth. With the bases loaded, he throws a 2-1 pitch to Marty Cordova that he is sure is strike two. Fitcher calls it ball three instead. Rattled, Leiter hangs a slider that Cordova blasts into the visiting bullpen for his first career grand slam. Todd Zeile complains as well after he takes a called third strike with the bases loaded to end the top of the seventh, a pitch he sees as being inside. The Mets scratch out three runs against young Toronto hurler Roy Halladay but can't scratch any further, and can never get over their perception of unfair umpiring, as they drop the series opener.
  • Monday, July 17, 2000

    New York Mets 7, Toronto Blue Jays 5 (11 innings) at SkyDome

    Injuries to Robin Ventura and Edgardo Alfonzo force Bobby Valentine to field a b-squad lineup with Joe McEwing in left field and Lenny Harris at third and batting leadoff. Both players pay dividends as Harris belts a homer and scores two runs, and McEwing bangs a long two-run shot off the left field foul pole in the top of the second. The Mets are nearly undone by a middling performance from Rick Reed, fresh off the disabled list, who allows five runs over five innings, but the bullpen chips in with six innings of scoreless work. The offense slowly ties things up when Harris scores on a wild pitch in the fourth, McEwing contributes an RBI groundout in the fifth, and Derek Bell knots the score with a run-scoring single in the eighth. The score remains tied until the top of the eleventh, when Mike Piazza drives in a run on a bases-loaded groundout. A Todd Zeile RBI single expands their lead, and the Mets walk away with a much-needed win.
  • Tuesday, July 18, 2000

    New York Mets 11, Toronto Blue Jays 7 at SkyDome

    In the series finale in Toronto, the Mets and Blue Jays play HORSE in the early going. Lenny Harris leads off the game with a home run, but Bobby Jones allows an RBI double to Craig Grebeck in the bottom of the first. After Jones allows another RBI double to Shannon Stewart in the second, Edgardo Alfonzo ties things up with a run-scoring single in the top of the third. Tony Batista gives the Blue Jays the lead again in the bottom half with an RBI single, until Joe McEwing ties things up once more with a run-scoring groundout in the top of the fourth. Small ball goes by the wayside in the top of the fifth when the Mets open the frame with three consecutive walks, then Mike Piazza drives them all home with a mammoth 426-foot home run that strikes a clock above a restaurant beyond the left field fence. The ball appears to still be traveling upwards before it smashes into the wall. Though the Blue Jays club two more solo shots against Jones and make some hay against some of the bullpen’s least used relievers, the game is all Mets from this point. Edgardo Alfonzo and Harris each belt RBI doubles and Derek Bell adds a two-run homer to cap the scoring.
  • Wednesday, July 19, 2000

    New York Mets 5, Montréal Expos 3 at Olympic Stadium

    In the opener of a brief two-game set in Montréal, Expo starter Tony Armas Jr. is scratched due to a rotator cuff strain. The Expos ask several relievers to each pitch an inning or two, a la a spring training game, and the tactic nearly works, as Montréal’s bullpen limits the Mets to two runs over the first seven innings. Glendon Rusch allows two runs over six innings, but the Expos pull ahead in the seventh when Vladimir Guerrero doubles in a run. The inning would have proved worse for the Mets if not for Derek Bell gunning down another potential run at the plate. New York finally figures out the Montréal relief corps in the top of the eighth. After a pair of singles and a bunt to move the runners into scoring position, Joe McEwing knocks in both runners, with Benny Agbayani barely eluding the catcher’s tag to plate the go-ahead run. Bell singles in another run in the inning, and the Mets hold on to win.
  • Thursday, July 20, 2000

    Montréal Expos 4, New York Mets 1 at Olympic Stadium

    The Mets find themselves completely baffled by Dustin Hermanson, who limits them to seven mostly-harmless singles while nearly pitching a complete game. A potential big inning in the top of the second fizzles out when Jay Payton gets greedy on a Benny Agbayani RBI single and is nabbed in a rundown. Mike Hampton, who has not looked too sharp since pitching on short rest to close out the Subway Series, is defeated single-handedly by Expo catcher Chris Widger, who breaks a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth with a solo shot and salts the game with a two-run double in the seventh. The Mets attempt a comeback by loading the bases with one out in the eighth, but Hermanson recovers to strike out Derek Bell and Mark Johnson. The reason benchwarmer Johnson finds himself in this situation is because Edgardo Alfonzo is forced to leave the game due to a hip flexor injury.
  • Friday, July 21, 2000

    Atlanta Braves 6, New York Mets 3 at Turner Field

    In the opener of the Mets’ first series in Atlanta since last year’s National League Championship Series, the team is forced to field a compromised lineup, due to Robin Ventura’s stint on the disabled list and Edgardo Alfonzo’s unavailability with a hip flexor issue. Al Leiter struggles early giving up a two-run single to Brian Jordan in the first, but the Mets look like they may recover with a wild three-run top of the third that chases starter Terry Mulholland. Once Mulholland is removed, however, the Mets’ bats are helpless against John Burkett and the rest of the Braves’ bullpen. In the bottom of the third, Atlanta retakes the lead when Lenny Harris (playing third in the absence of Ventura) heaves a bad throw home that causes Mike Piazza to be barreled over yet again and eventually leads to two runs scoring. The Braves tack on two more runs in the later innings and cruise to yet another victory over the Mets at Turner Field.
  • Saturday, July 22, 2000

    New York Mets 4, Atlanta Braves 0 at Turner Field

    Rick Reed outduels Greg Maddux, scattering four hits and holding the Braves hitless with runners in scoring position. Reed even contributes an RBI sac fly in the top of the fifth, as his teammates build a lead on a Jay Payton RBI single in the second inning and a Derek Bell homer in the sixth. An error by Chipper Jones allows another run to score in the ninth to pad their lead, and the Mets have themselves a rare win at Turner Field (just their second such win in their last 17 games in Atlanta).
  • Sunday, July 23, 2000

    Atlanta Braves 1, New York Mets 0 at Turner Field

    In the Turner Field finale, it’s the Mets’ turn to get shutout. Bobby Jones pitches well enough, but a Wally Joyner RBI double in the sixth scores all the runs the Braves will need. New York is utterly baffled by Andy Ashby, recently arrived in Atlanta from Philadelphia, as he limits the Mets to just four hits. The closest the Mets come to scoring is the fourth inning, when Jay Payton lashes a double to left field with a runner on first. Unfortunately, the ball caroms right into the glove of left fielder Bobby Bonilla, preventing the runner from scoring. Todd Zeile grounds into an inning-ending double play immediately thereafter. Payton reaches on an error and advances to second to start the ninth, but the next two batters record outs without so much as advancing Payton, then Benny Agbayani misses a game-tying double by a matter of feet before grounding out to end yet another frustrating afternoon in Atlanta.
  • Tuesday, July 25, 2000

    New York Mets 5, Montréal Expos 0 at Shea Stadium

    With the Mets finally back home after a grueling 11-game road trip, Glendon Rusch looks glad to be back in Queens as he limits the Expos to three hits over seven solid innings. He allows Montréal few chances, save a close call in the top of the fifth when he loads the bases on two walks and a bloop single to start the frame. A comebacker and a line-drive double play (the latter started by Melvin Mora, a rare moment of defensive wizardry following a month of struggles with the glove) end that threat with no runs scoring, and that is as close as the visitors come to scoring against him. His teammates lend him a hand on a pair of RBI singles from Mike Piazza, an RBI double from Melvin Mora, a run-scoring groundout by Lenny Harris, and a bases loaded walk.
  • Thursday, July 27, 2000 (Game 1)

    New York Mets 9, Montréal Expos 8 at Shea Stadium

    A rainout necessitates a doubleheader and also precipitates the call-up of Grant Roberts, the Mets’ most talented pitching prospect. Hopes that Roberts might inject the same life into the rotation that rookie Octavio Dotel did in 1999 die quickly. The freshman walks the first two batters he faces and allows three more hits to immediately put the Mets in a 4-0 hole. After Benny Agbayani knocks in a pair of runs with a double in the bottom of the first, Roberts continues to struggle, allowing three more runs in the second before exiting after only 1 1/3 innings of work. While Pat Mahomes contributes 4 2/3 vital innings of scoreless relief work, his teammates battle back to tie the game at 7 with two runs in the fourth, two more in the sixth, and another in the seventh. Agbayani is the star of the rally with another RBI double and two runs scored. Along the way, the Mets lose two players to injury: Derek Bell, when a ball cracks him in the chin while patrolling the outfield, and Melvin Mora, who takes a grounder off his right hand. The Expos crawl ahead with a run in the top of eighth, but the Mets come roaring back in the bottom half with a two-out rally that begins with a Joe McEwing double and a walk to Edgardo Alfonzo, back in action following his hip injury. Todd Zeile singles home the tying run and Matt Franco follows by singling home the go-ahead run. Armando Benítez earns the save, capping a wild first half of a doubleheader.
  • Thursday, July 27, 2000 (Game 2)

    New York Mets 4, Montréal Expos 3 at Shea Stadium

    After the bullpen shoulders a heavy load in the first half of the doubleheader, the Mets need a length outing from their starter. Mike Hampton obliges by going the distance. The early going is rough, as Hampton allows two runs in the top of the second following errors by Lenny Harris, filling in at third base, and Kurt Abbott, fresh off the disabled list and in at short for the injured Melvin Mora. (It’s an evening to forget for the makeshift Met defense, as Harris contributes two more errors before the game is over.) But the Mets bounce right back in the bottom of the second against the maligned former Yankee pitcher Hideki Irabu. After Todd Zeile and Benny Agbayani collect one-out singles, Jay Payton knocks them both home with a long double, then races home himself on a throwing error. Harris atones for some of his miscues with a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth. The Expos crawl a little closer when Hampton allows a home run in the top of the sixth, and things get a tad adventurous in the top of the ninth when he gives up two singles. With two outs and rain threatening to bring the game to a premature end, Hampton spears a sharp liner off the bat of Milton Bradley to record the final out and seal a Met sweep of Montréal.
  • Friday, July 28, 2000

    New York Mets 3, St. Louis Cardinals 2 at Shea Stadium

    Al Leiter tosses a brilliant game in the opener of a three-game set against the high-flying Cardinals, allowing just three hits and one run over seven innings while striking out eight batters. The Mets strike early against veteran hurler Pat Hentgen, scoring three times in the second inning, then hang on for dear life, even though at times they seem to be working against themselves. Leiter negotiates a one-out bases-loaded situation in the seventh—exacerbated by an error from Kurt Abbott—by striking out the next batter, then inducing a pop-up. John Franco lands the Mets in more trouble in the eighth by giving up a pair of singles, but Turk Wendell limits the damage by picking off baserunner Jim Edmonds with his patented fake-to-third-throw-to-first move. An error by Lenny Harris—his fourth in two days—allows a run to score, but Wendell stops the bleeding there. Armando Benítez earns another save as the Mets hang on to win.
  • Saturday, July 29, 2000

    New York Mets 4, St. Louis Cardinals 3 at Shea Stadium

    The day before this game, Steve Phillips pulls the trigger on a pair of deadline deals, acquiring reliever Rick White and bench bat Bubba Trammell from the Devil Rays and shortstop Mike Bordick from the Orioles (the latter at the expense of Melvin Mora). The newcomers chip in right away, none more so than Bordick, who belts a long home run off of Andy Benes on the first pitch he ever sees as a Met in the bottom of the third. A two-out RBI single from Mike Piazza in the same frame gives the Mets the lead, but this advantage is relinquished on a two-run shot by Jim Edmonds in the top of the fourth. The Cards threaten to blow the game open by loading the bases with one out in the sixth, but Robin Ventura—just reactivated from the disabled list—keeps the inning from devolving into disaster by making a leaping grab on line drive, turning a potential bases-clearing double into the second out. After starter Rick Reed escapes the inning with no more damage done, Piazza comes to bat in the bottom half and destroys a Benes pitch, sending it 455 feet and out of the stadium to tie the game. Nifty defense saves the Mets once more in the seventh when Jay Payton fires a throw home on one hop to nail pinch runner Rick Ankiel at the plate. In the bottom of the eighth, Bordick is in the middle of things again as he hits a one-out single that moves Robin Ventura to third base. Lenny Harris follows with an RBI single, and Armando Benítez’s 1-2-3 ninth ensures another Mets victory.
  • Sunday, July 30, 2000

    New York Mets 4, St. Louis Cardinals 2 at Shea Stadium

    On Old Timer’s Day at Shea, Bubba Trammell writes a storybook beginning to his Mets career by going deep in his first at bat with the team. In the bottom of the second, Trammell belts a three-run shot off of Cardinals starter Garrett Stephenson, prompting the crowd to serenade him with chants of “Bub-ba! Bub-ba!” This, combined with a solo shot by Benny Agbayani in the first, gives Bobby Jones all the runs he needs, as he cruises for most of the afternoon and goes the distance. Though not known for being a strikeout pitcher, Jones fans nine batters in the vaunted St. Louis lineup and nabs the fearsome Jim Edmonds three times. A brief outburst in the sixth gives the Cards a run on a groundout, and a two-out solo shot in the ninth by Ray Lankford brings them a bit closer, but Jones freezes Fernando Tatís on a painfully slow curveball to catch him looking, record the final out, and cap a satisfying sweep of St. Louis.
  • Monday, July 31, 2000

    Cincinnati Reds 6, New York Mets 0 at Shea Stadium

    The opener of a three-game set against the Cincinnati Reds unfolds on a misty and unseasonably cool evening. The Mets’ bats never warm up, as they are shutout by Scott Williamson, last season’s rookie of the year, for six innings and by the Cincinnati bullpen the rest of the way. Glendon Rusch turns in an uncharacteristically shaky outing, ceding three runs in the first inning, which places the Mets in a hole they never climb out of. Hard hit balls die in a stiff wind blowing in from left field, and the Mets accumulate precious few chances against Williamson; only two runners reach third base, and both are turned away.

August

  • Tuesday, August 1, 2000

    New York Mets 3, Cincinnati Reds 2 at Shea Stadium

    The Mets scratch out three runs against Steve Parris (the same pitcher they defeated in last year’s wild card play-in game) on a Robin Ventura RBI single in the first, a sac fly from Mike Hampton in the second, and a Mike Bordick run-scoring hit in the sixth. For most of the game, this appears to be enough for Hampton, who strikes out six and walks none in the first seven frames. But he finds trouble when he comes out to start the eighth inning, giving up an RBI double to Barry Larkin. Turk Wendell relieves him but allows Dante Bichette to triple in another run, putting the tying run on third with only one out. John Franco comes to the rescue by inducing a grounder to first from the following batter, one that does not allow Bichette to score. Franco walks Alex Ochoa to put the go-ahead run on base and watches Ochoa steal second, but the lefty recovers to strike out veteran catcher Benito Santiago looking to end the threat. Armando Benítez contributes a 1-2-3 ninth to technically earn the save, though after the game both Bobby Valentine and Franco himself attribute the “true” save to Franco.
  • Wednesday, August 2, 2000

    New York Mets 2, Cincinnati Reds 1 at Shea Stadium

    In the final game of this homestand—a day game after a night game, waged in brutally humid conditions—Bobby Valentine rests many regulars such as Edgardo Alfonzo and Mike Piazza. He decides to leave in Robin Ventura, despite the third baseman struggling with the bat all year and in particular since suffering the shoulder injury that led to a stint on the disabled list. Ventura rewards the chance by belting a two-run first inning shot over the right field fence, almost in the exact same spot as his famous Grand Slam Single. The shot ends a long home run drought for the third baseman and proves all the support necessary for Al Leiter, who fans eight Reds in seven innings of work. Cincinnati cobbles together a run against him on a pair of singles and a sac fly in the second, but that is as close as they get. After ceding a one-out single in the third, Leiter retires the last 14 batters he faces. John Franco, Turk Wendell, and Armando Benítez work the final two innings with little trouble. The victory over Cincinnati closes out a triumphant 8-1 homestand.
  • Friday, August 4, 2000

    New York Mets 6, Arizona Diamondbacks 1 at Bank One Ballpark

    The start of a seven-game road trip brings the Mets to Phoenix to face off against Randy Johnson. The previous two times the Mets have faced the Big Unit, they have handled him capably, a history of success that includes game 1 of last year’s division series. That trend continues in this game, as the Mets once again knock around one of the best pitchers in the game. In a repeat of their last meeting, Joe McEwing keys much of the damage against the giant lefty. McEwing puts the Mets on the board first with an RBI double in the second inning and drives in another run with a sac fly in the fourth. Johnson unravels in the frame, unleashing a walk and a wild pitch and is unable to work around a costly error by shortstop Tony Womack. By inning’s end, Johnson is gone and four runs have scored, which is more than enough for Rick Reed, who pitches into the eighth and limits the Diamondbacks to one run on six hits.
  • Saturday, August 5, 2000

    New York Mets 6, Arizona Diamondbacks 2 at Bank One Ballpark

    The Mets jump out to a quick lead on RBI singles from Edgardo Alfonzo and Mike Piazza in the first, expand their lead on more run-scoring hits from Derek Bell and Alfonzo in the fourth, and cap it with a two-run shot by Robin Ventura in the seventh. Much of this damage is done against Diamondback starter Geraldo Guzman, a pitcher who blew out his shoulder in 1990 and spent the following seven years as a carpenter in his native Dominican Republic before taking a second stab at making the big leagues. Bobby Jones contributes six strong innings, allowing just two runs to a high-powered Arizona offense, and Rick White pitches the final three innings for an old-school save. The big news of the day for the Mets is negative, however, as Mike Piazza injures a knee running out a grounder and is forced to leave the game.
  • Sunday, August 6, 2000

    Arizona Diamondbacks 9, New York Mets 5 at Bank One Ballpark

    Bobby Valentine compares the finale of the Mets’ series in Phoenix to “a long day in the dentist’s chair.” Glendon Rusch agrees, as he contributes his worst start as a Met, allowing five runs in just four innings of work. A two-run homer off the bat of Matt Williams breaks a 1-1 tie in the third inning, and Tony Womack pads Arizona's lead with a two-run single in the fourth. Pat Mahomes and Dennis Cook conspire to give up four more runs, all on longballs, that render the rest of the game academic. For most of the afternoon, the visitors are stifled by former Met Armando Reynoso, who has dominated the team since his stint in New York ended after the 1998 season. Mike Bordick belts a two-run homer of his own in the seventh, and the Mets string together four hits to drive in two runs in the ninth to make the contest momentarily interesting, but are ultimately turned away.
  • Monday, August 7, 2000

    New York Mets 6, Houston Astros 5 (11 innings) at Enron Field

    In the Mets’ first visit to Enron Field, Houston’s new stadium, Mike Hampton gets the start and struggles against his former team. The visitors build a 4-1 lead early on a Robin Ventura homer and two singles from Hampton himself that lead to three runs, but the lefty unravels on the mound in the fifth, giving up four runs in the inning, the last three on a bases-loaded double from light-hitting third baseman Chris Truby. Houston hangs on to a slim one-run lead until two outs in the ninth, when Derek Bell clubs a game-tying home run against Octavio Dotel, the man the Mets traded to acquire both Bell and Hampton from the Astros. After being victimized by a bad call in the top of the tenth (Todd Zeile appears to beat a tag at the plate but is called out anyway by rookie home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt), the Mets recover in the eleventh. Kurt Abbott—filling in at third base for Edgardo Alfonzo, who’s dealing with a groin strain—belts a home run to left field. Armando Benítez sets down the home team in the bottom half to seal a satisfying win.
  • Tuesday, August 8, 2000

    Houston Astros 9, New York Mets 3 at Enron Field

    With Edgardo Alfonzo and Mike Piazza sidelined by minor injuries, the Mets field a makeshift lineup that is not a match even for the struggling Astros. Al Leiter lets himself get unnerved by a bad call involving the first batter he faces—Todd Zeile makes the most of an offline throw and tags out runner Julio Lugo, but the first base umpire calls him safe anyway—and never recovers. Rattled, Leiter allows three runs in the first, digging a hole his teammates can’t climb out of. The lefty allows single runs in the second and fifth innings, while a disastrous three-run bottom of the sixth by Pat Mahomes and one more run against Rick White in the seventh dismiss any thoughts of a Mets comeback. Benny Agabayani accounts for the entire Mets offensive output with his sixth inning solo shot and a two-run single in the ninth. On the same play, the bear-sized White, who batted for himself and singled in the frame, is thrown out when unwisely trying to go first to third.
  • Wednesday, August 9, 2000

    New York Mets 12, Houston Astros 5 at Enron Field

    Rick Reed breaks a recent hot streak by allowing four runs to the Astros, but his teammates more than make up for it. With both Mike Piazza and Edgardo Alfonzo back in the lineup, the Mets pound Houston pitching early and often. Most of the damage is done against Jose Lima, the Houston starter they reach for seven runs in less than four innings. Mets batters hit three home runs, including a monster shot to straight-away center by Piazza, his 30th of the year, and another from pinch hitter Darryl Hamilton in his first at bat since early April. (A troublesome toe injury kept him on the shelf since then.)
  • Thursday, August 10, 2000

    New York Mets 10, Houston Astros 3 at Enron Field

    The Mets finish out their road trip with another pounding of Astros pitching, this time taking advantage of a young hurler making his major league debut. Mike Piazza is the star of this game, going 4-for-4 with 4 RBIs. The early proceedings are close, as the Mets scratch out runs in the first and third innings and watch Jeff Bagwell tie the score on solo shots each time. The Mets go ahead for good on a Piazza RBI single in the fifth, pad the lead the on a Jay Payton home run in the sixth, and then run wild with three runs in both the seventh and eighth innings. Bobby Jones contributes eight innings and, though he cedes 10 hits, allows only 2 runs. The Mets compile a 5-2 record on the roadtrip and crawl a little closer in the divisional race, now 2.5 games behind Atlanta in the National League East.
  • Friday, August 11, 2000

    New York Mets 4, San Francisco Giants 1 at Shea Stadium

    In the first of four games back home against the visiting Giants, Glendon Rusch is far from sharp, as he struggles to find the strike zone in five spotty innings. Walks and singles put San Francisco runners on base all evening, and yet Rusch is able to keep them from scoring, save for an Ellis Burks RBI hit in the top of the fifth. His counterpart, Mark Gardner, is far more sharp and efficient, but serves up a pitch that Mike Piazza sends over the left field bleachers in the fourth, a long two-run homer that inspires chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!” Gardner cedes another two-run shot to Edgardo Alfonzo, and the bullpen in the persons of Rick White, John Franco, and Armando Benítez contribute four innings that are as stress-free as Rusch’s were difficult.
  • Saturday, August 12, 2000

    New York Mets 3, San Francisco Giants 2 at Shea Stadium

    A Mike Bordick solo shot in the bottom of the third gives the Mets a slim lead that the Giants immediately surmount in the top of the fourth, with some assistance from a mental error. Mike Hampton loads the bases with one out on a double, an error by Bordick, and a hit batter, then gives up a lazy fly ball to left field. Benny Agbayani catches the ball and, mistakenly believing he’s recorded the third out, hands it to a young fan in the nearby stands. By the time Agbayani realizes his error, both the tying and go-ahead runs have scored. For much of the game, it appears this error may prove the margin of error, as the Mets find themselves helpless against Giants starter Shawn Estes. New York works seven walks against Estes yet can’t convert any of them into runs, even when they log four of them in one inning. (A groundball double play helps Estes escape the bottom of the fifth unscathed.) But when Estes gives way to reliever Félix Rodríguez in the bottom of the seventh, the Mets are able to rally, with Todd Zeile smacking a two-run double that puts them ahead to stay. The bullpen holds the Giants at bay in the last two innings, rendering Agbayani’s blunder a pleasant memory.
  • Sunday, August 13, 2000

    New York Mets 2, San Francisco Giants 0 at Shea Stadium

    The third contest between the Mets and Giants unfolds as a tense pitcher’s duel, with Al Leiter and Liván Hernández (who the Mets beat soundly in all their meetings in 1999) matching zeroes. Leiter allows just two hits while striking out 12 batters through eight innings, while Hernández gives up only six hits through the first seven. But in the bottom of the eighth, Hernández cedes a leadoff walk to Edgardo Alfonzo, which leads to an RBI double by Robin Ventura. The Mets then pad their lead on a run-scoring single from Mike Bordick. John Franco earns the save with a scoreless ninth.
  • Monday, August 14, 2000

    San Francisco Giants 11, New York Mets 1 at Shea Stadium

    Looking to complete a four-game sweep on an unseasonably cool August evening, the Mets are rocked to sleep instead by Giant ace Russ Ortiz. New York has never beat Ortiz before and they don’t come close to besting him on this date, as he allows just one hit in seven innings of work. Rick Reed blanks the Giants through the first five frames, and for a while it seems as if another pitcher’s duel is in the offing. Then Reed begins the sixth by allowing consecutive singles and a hit batter. The floodgates open after a sac fly by J.T. Snow and an RBI single from Ellis Burks. Two more hits follow Burks’s, and before Reed can blink, five runs have scored. As bad as Reed’s sixth inning is, things go much worse for Dennis Cook in the seventh, as he permits the first six batters to reach base and allows six runs, two of them on a single by Ortiz. A Jay Payton solo shot in the eighth is the Mets’ second, and final, hit of the game.
  • Tuesday, August 15, 2000 (Game 1)

    New York Mets 7, Colorado Rockies 5 at Shea Stadium

    A rainout back in mid-May prompts this twinbill, with Pat Mahomes drawing the spot start in the opener. Mahomes struggles early, perhaps because he seems to be the last man to learn he was schedule to start this game; several players break the news to him in the clubhouse before Bobby Valentine does. With little time to mentally prepare himself, he cedes an RBI double to Todd Helton (flirting with a .400 batting average at the moment) in the second and two more runs in the fourth. The Mets waste several opportunities early against Colorado starter Pedro Astacio, including failing to score in the fourth despite loading the bases with no outs. Edgardo Alfonzo finally puts New York on the board with a two-run double in the fifth. Though a Mike Bordick error leads to another Colorado run in the top of the seventh, the Mets “rally” for four runs in the bottom half. Ironic quotes are needed because this outburst consists of two bases loaded walks, a wild pitch, and a run-scoring groundout. Another wild pitch in the eighth leads to one more New York run, and though the Rockies string together three hits and a run against Armando Benítez in the ninth, it is as close as the visitors get.
  • Tuesday, August 15, 2000 (Game 2)

    New York Mets 4, Colorado Rockies 3 at Shea Stadium

    In the nightcap, the Mets fall behind early on when Todd Helton collects an RBI double in the first inning, but starter Bobby Jones is solid for most of the game. His teammates give the Mets a lead on a Lenny Harris RBI single in the third, a sac fly in the fourth, and a Benny Agbayani run-scoring double in the sixth. The Rockies draw closer on a Helton solo shot in the sixth, then get some assistance from a pair of Todd Zeile errors that lead to another Colorado run. Zeile’s next at bat in the eighth is greeted with boos, but he redeems himself by zipping a home run just to the right of the left field foul pole for a go-ahead home run. Armando Benítez sets down the side in order to earn his second save of the day.
  • Wednesday, August 16, 2000

    Colorado Rockies 7, New York Mets 5 at Shea Stadium

    Glendon Rusch turns in another disappointing outing, pitching into the eighth inning but allowing six runs to the Rockies. The game is a low-scoring affair at first, with both Rusch and Colorado starter Brian Bohanon easily stifling batters. Then the Rockies bat around in the sixth and score three runs, all of them crossing the plate with two outs. Rusch leaves the game in the eighth after giving up a single and a double to the first two batters he faces, and reliever Rick White allows both runners and one of his own to score, the last coming home on a single by the pitcher Bohanon. Though the game appears to be out of reach, the Mets do their best to crawl back into things by scoring four runs in the bottom of the eighth on a Kurt Abbott solo shot, a two-run homer by Edgardo Alfonzo, and a Todd Zeile RBI double. The rally ends abruptly when Robin Ventura strikes out looking on a pitch that appears to be on the inside part of the plate (all night, Met batters gripe about home plate umpire Brian Runge’s strike zone, which they see as being selectively generous), and this is as close as they come to a comeback.
  • Thursday, August 17, 2000

    New York Mets 13, Colorado Rockies 2 at Shea Stadium

    Facing off against old friend Masato Yoshii, the Mets strike early, building a 5-0 lead after three innings. Mike Hampton leaves the game one batter into the top of the fourth, however, after aggravating an old high school football injury. Called into action much earlier than usual, Turk Wendell contributes four solid innings, allowing just one hit and two runs over that stretch. It helps that the Mets offense refuses to take its foot off the gas, striking for four more runs in the fifth, one in the sixth, and three in the seventh. The Mets cruise to victory to finish off a 6-2 homestand, while Hampton insists he will make his next scheduled start.
  • Friday, August 18, 2000

    New York Mets 5, Los Angeles Dodgers 3 at Dodger Stadium

    In the first game of the Mets’ last west coast trip of the year, they manage to build a 3-0 advantage against Dodger ace Kevin Brown. Two singles and an error by former Met Kevin Elster lead to the first run in the top of the second, while the next two are supplied by yet another huge home run off the bat of Mike Piazza in the third. Al Leiter protects this lead until the bottom of the sixth, when he cedes a leadoff homer to Gary Sheffield. This is followed by a single, a double, a run-scoring single by Adrian Beltré, and a game-tying RBI sac fly from another old friend, Todd Hundley. But the Mets strike back immediately in the top of the seventh when Joe McEwing hits a leadoff single, advances all the way to third on a botched pickoff throw, and scores on an Edgardo Alfonzo single. In the ninth, the Mets pad their lead when Alfonzo doubles and scores on a Piazza hit. Armando Benítez works around a walk to preserve the win.
  • Saturday, August 19, 2000

    Los Angeles Dodgers 4, New York Mets 1 at Dodger Stadium

    Two batters into the game, Derek Bell clubs a solo shot off of Dodger starter Chan Ho Park. That is all the Mets can muster against Park, however, as he goes the distance and allows just three more hits the rest of the way, all singles. Following the Bell homer, no Met reaches second base until two outs in the top of the ninth. Met batters later attribute his dominance to “pitching backwards,” starting counts with breaking pitches before using fastballs rather than vice versa. (That Park was also pitching on seven days’ rest, due to a recent bout with the flu, may have also helped.) The Dodgers take the lead in the bottom of the third when Gary Sheffield jumps on a hanging curve from Rick Reed and knocks it into the left field bleachers for a two-run homer. Two batters later, Eric Karros takes Reed deep as well. Sheffield adds icing to the cake with another homer in the eighth off of Pat Mahomes—his 40th of the year, which ties a Dodger single-season home run record held by Mike Piazza.
  • Sunday, August 20, 2000

    New York Mets 9, Los Angeles Dodgers 6 at Dodger Stadium

    The Mets build a 4-0 lead against Darren Dreifort—a pitcher who’d given them fits previously—on the strength of a two-run homer by Edgardo Alfonzo in the first and an RBI single and run-scoring error in the second. But Bobby Jones cedes a pair of home runs to Todd Hundley and an RBI double to Shawn Green that tie the score, followed by an Eric Karros run-scoring single in the fifth. The Mets rebound with back-to-back homers from Bubba Trammell and Lenny Harris to start the top of the sixth, only to watch the Dodgers tie the game again on another Shawn Green RBI hit in the bottom of the seventh. This back-and-forth affair swings the Mets’ way for good in the top of the eighth. The inning opens with a pair of singles to put runners on the corners. The next batter taps a ball back to reliever Terry Adams, and Mike Bordick—runner at third who broke for home on contact—appears to be a dead duck. Adams tosses the ball to third baseman Adrian Beltré, who then wings a throw over the catcher’s head. As the ball rolls to the backstop, two Mets runners scamper home. A third joins them when a Derek Bell ground skips through the legs of second baseman Mark Grudzielanek. The Dodgers have no counterpunch this time, as the Mets go on to take the series from LA.
  • Monday, August 21, 2000

    San Diego Padres 5, New York Mets 4 (10 innings) at Qualcomm Stadium

    Glendon Rusch struggles yet again in the series opener in San Diego, allowing four runs in the first three innings to an anemic Padres offense, though he gets some assistance from shaky Mets defense. (Lenny Harris, subbing at first base, botches a pickoff throw that leads to a run while Edgardo Alfonzo makes a late throw that leads to another.) Rusch's teammates can do nothing against Padre starter Woody Williams until the sixth inning, when a pair of singles set up a long three-run homer by Benny Agabayani. The Mets tie the score in the seventh when Mike Bordick reaches on an error, moves to third on a single by Harris, and barely beats a throw home on a chopper fielded by Williams. The Mets are turned aside in their attempts to take the lead in the top of the ninth, however, when Bell is called out for interfering with Padres catcher Wiki Gonzalez as he tries to cut down a stolen base attempt. Dennis Cook pitches the bottom half and escapes despite walking two batters, but he has no such luck in the tenth. The lefty issues two walks sandwiched around a single to load the bases with two outs, then walks pinch hitter (and ’86 Met) Dave Magadan to force in the winning run.
  • Tuesday, August 22, 2000

    San Diego Padres 16, New York Mets 1 at Qualcomm Stadium

    Drawing a spot start for the injured Mike Hampton, Pat Mahomes is even less prepared for this emergency outing than he was for his doubleheader start against the Rockies a week earlier. The offensively challenged Padres tattoo him for five runs each in the second inning and third innings. The disastrous second inning includes a bases-loaded walk of the opposing pitcher, followed immediately by a grand slam. In the third, he gives up two more longballs—each of them reaching the second deck of Qualcomm Stadium, a spot normally reserved for sluggers like Mark McGwire—and a pair of RBI doubles. Finding themselves on the wrong end of a blowout, the Mets give some rest to the their bullpen by inserting Derek Bell as a pitcher in the bottom of the eighth. Bell allows five runs of his own, though none of his pitches leave the yard, and one run is unearned due to a Todd Pratt error.
  • Wednesday, August 23, 2000

    New York Mets 4, San Diego Padres 1 at Qualcomm Stadium

    The overworked Mets bullpen is in need of a break, so Al Leiter obliges with eight innings of one-run ball, striking out 12 Padres and allowing just three hits. The one blemish on his record is a first inning homer allowed to Damian Jackson, but the Mets tie the score on an RBI single from Mike Bordick in the fourth. In the sixth, they score on a hit batter, an RBI groundout, and a run-scoring hit from Lenny Harris. This is more than enough support for Leiter, and Armando Benítez strikes out the side in order to salvage a victory in San Diego.
  • Friday, August 25, 2000

    New York Mets 13, Arizona Diamondbacks 3 at Shea Stadium

    In the opener of a six-game homestand, the Mets rough up Randy Johnson for the third time this season, and they save the worst pummeling for last. The floodgates begin to open in the bottom of the second with a Jay Payton RBI single and an error by the normally surehanded third baseman Matt Williams bobbles, which allows another run to score. After he permits another run in the inning, things get even worse for Johnson in the third when he fields a comebacker and, in an attempt to start a double play, whizzes a throw under the second baseman’s glove instead. Todd Zeile follows with a RBI single and Payton drives in two more runs with a double that sends The Big Unit to the showers. Rick Reed allows a three-run homer to Steve Finley in the sixth but turns in an otherwise fine performance, while his teammates batter the Arizona bullpen for seven additional runs. The game turns into a such a laugher that a flurry of late-inning double switches finds Robin Ventura manning first base.
  • Saturday, August 26, 2000

    Arizona Diamondbacks 5, New York Mets 1 (10 innings) at Shea Stadium

    The second game of the Arizona series features an unlikely pitcher’s duel as Bobby Jones and Brian Anderson (who the Mets faced off against in the clincher of last year’s division series) stubbornly refuse the opposition to score. Each pitcher allows baserunners aplenty but strands nearly all of them. The score stays knotted at 1 until the top of the tenth, when Rick White puts up his first troubling outing since his trade to the Mets. White allows consecutive one-out doubles by Jay Bell and Luis Gonzalez to give Arizona the lead, then proceeds to get smacked around to the tune of three more runs, putting the game out of reach.
  • Sunday, August 27, 2000

    New York Mets 2, Arizona Diamondbacks 1 at Shea Stadium

    After skipping one start due to a hairline fracture in his ribs, Mike Hampton returns to the mound and looks spectacular, allowing only 1 run and 3 hits in eight innings of work. The Mets enjoy a brief lead when Benny Agbayani begins the bottom of the fourth with a solo shot, but the Diamondbacks respond in the top of the fifth when ex-Met Kelly Stinnett works a leadoff walk and comes around to score on a Danny Bautista single just beyond the a leaping Edgardo Alfonzo. The Mets climb back on top in the seventh when Alfonzo and Mike Piazza each hit one-out singles. D-Backs pitcher Armando Reynoso tries to pick off Alfonzo at second but his throw to the base is late, despite his protests to the contrary. Rattled, Reynoso issues a walk to Robin Ventura to load the bases, which allows Todd Zeile to drive in the go-ahead run with a grounder to shortstop hit too slowly for a double play. Though things get a bit dicey in the ninth when a Jay Payton error puts the tying run on base, Armando Benítez hangs on to convert the save. The win gives the Mets a 5.5 game lead over Arizona in the National League wild card race.
  • Monday, August 28, 2000

    New York Mets 4, Houston Astros 2 at Shea Stadium

    Desperate for a solid start after a string of clunkers, Glendon Rusch contributes seven solid innings. He would have a clean sheet but for a pair of solo homers (old pal Roger Cedeño to lead off the game, Richard Hidalgo in the third). Houston third baseman Chris Truby leads off the fourth inning with a triple, but Rusch pins him there by striking out a pair and inducing a groundout, and the Astros barely make a peep for the rest of the game. The Mets recover quickly from Houston’s leadoff homer when Benny Agbayani and Derek Bell start the bottom of the first with singles, then Edgardo Alfonzo brings them all home with a three-run blast. A balk by Astro reliever José Cabrera gifts the Mets an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. The victory gives the Mets a tie with the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East.
  • Tuesday, August 29, 2000

    Houston Astros 11, New York Mets 1 at Shea Stadium

    Al Leiter strains a glute during his pregame warmups, but attempts to gut his way through the outing with “smoke and mirrors.” It doesn’t work. Trouble starts in the top of the third when Leiter issues a one out walk, then sees a Julio Lugo line drive clank off of the glove of Lenny Harris (subbing for Robin Ventura at third) and go for a double. A Jeff Bagwell single then knocks in two runs, and Leiter melts down completely after Moisés Alou fouls off pitch after pitch in an epic at bat. Two more runs score in the inning, which convinces Leiter that smoke and mirrors are not needed this evening. Called on for long relief, Pat Mahomes contributes another ineffective turn on the mound by giving up five runs in three innings of spotty work. If that doesn’t put the game out of reach, the pitching of Wade Miller does, as he goes the distance and allows little to the Mets save a harmless Edgardo Alfonzo solo shot.
  • Wednesday, August 30, 2000

    New York Mets 1, Houston Astros 0 at Shea Stadium

    Rick Reed turns in another brilliant outing, flirting with a no-hitter before allowing a one-out single to Brett Spiers in the top of the fifth. He gives up just two more hits in seven innings, as the Astros look helpless against him over that stretch. Reed’s teammates do very little themselves against Houston starter Chris Holt over his own seven innings, but they do manage to scratch against him in the bottom of the first. Benny Agbayani works a leadoff walk, followed by a single from Edgardo Alfonzo. Though Mike Piazza grounds into a double play, Agbayani moves to third, thus allowing him to race home on a wild pitch. Holt is brilliant from this point forward, but the brief hiccup is enough to earn him an L. Turk Wendell and Armando Benítez set down the side in order in the eighth and ninth respectively, with the Met closer recording a trio of Ks to boot.

Sept/Oct

  • Friday, September 1, 2000

    St. Louis Cardinals 6, New York Mets 5 at Busch Stadium

    The Mets' first of three games in St. Louis is a seesaw affair that ultimately swings against them. All game, the Cardinals run wild on Mike Piazza; he first three batters who reach base attempt steals, and an Édgar Rentería swipe of second sets up a Mike Matheny RBI double in the bottom of the second. The Mets counter in the top of the third with singles by Darryl Hamilton and starter Bobby Jones (his first hit of the season), followed by a two-out grounder from Lenny Harris that he barely beats out at first, allowing Hamilton to score. The visitors go ahead on a Jay Payton two-run shot in the top of the fourth, but fall behind in the bottom of the fifth when Jones allows a run-scoring single to Fernando Viña and a no-doubt two-run homer to J.D. Drew. The Mets knot the score again when Robin Ventura leads off the top of the sixth with a solo shot, then retake the lead on an RBI single from Matt Franco, fresh up from a brief trip to the minors. The advantage evaporates when Dennis Cook allows a two-out run-scoring hit to Jim Edmonds that knots the score at 5. In the top of the ninth, Timo Pérez makes his major league debut as a pinch hitter and laces a two-out single, then promptly gets picked off of first, thus igniting and killing a potential rally. In the end, it is Edmonds who has the last word as he belts a home run off of Pat Mahomes in the bottom of the ninth to make the Cards walkoff winners.
  • Saturday, September 2, 2000

    St. Louis Cardinals 2, New York Mets 1 at Busch Stadium

    Game two in St. Louis brings a fierce pitchers' duel between Mike Hampton and Darryl Kile. The Mets have traditionally been baffled by Kile, and this day is no exception. Edgardo Alfonzo doubles to start the top of the fourth and Robin Ventura singles him in, but from that point forward Kile is brilliant, setting down the following 18 Mets in order. Mike Hampton is nearly as good, allowing no more than an RBI single to ex-Met Craig Paquette in the bottom of the sixth. But he clearly is tiring by the time the ninth inning rolls around, and after he allows a long, near-miss foul ball to leadoff batter J.D. Drew, he watches Drew reach him for a double. Once the runner is bunted to third, Bobby Valentine turns to Armando Benítez to bail out Hamptom. Benítez comes very close to doing so by striking out Ray Lankford for the second out, but then Fernando Viña slaps a single past a diving Robin Ventura, handing the Cardinals their second straight walkoff win. The loss sends the Mets back into second place, a half game behind Atlanta.
  • Sunday, September 3, 2000

    St. Louis Cardinals 4, New York Mets 3 (11 innings) at Busch Stadium

    The series finale in St. Louis plays out like the game before, with a tense pitchers' duel between Glendon Rusch and rookie sensation Rick Ankiel. The young Cardinal lefty is brilliant, allowing just two hits over seven innings. His lone spot of trouble comes in the top of the fifth, when he issues a two-out walk to Jay Payton and fails to pick the runner off before he can steal second, then watches him score on a Bubba Trammell bloop single. Though Trammell is thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double, it appears that one run will be enough to support Rusch. The Met lefty scatters four harmless hits over his own seven innings of work, walking none and permitting no opposing batters to move past first base. But once Rusch leaves, Turk Wendell opens the bottom of the eighth with a walk and a single, and Dennis Cook follows by giving up a three-run homer to pinch hitter Placido Polanco. With the Mets down to their last out in the top of the ninth, Trammell comes through again with a game-tying two-run shot. However, this dramatic shot merely delays the pain. The Mets eschew a chance to retake the lead in the top of the tenth when Mike Piazza grounds into an inning-ending double play. In the bottom of the eleventh, Jim Edmonds plays hero once again by lashing a Rick White fastball into the bullpen beyond the right field fence. His second walkoff homer of the series seals a crushing sweep of New York.
  • Monday, September 4, 2000

    Cincinnati Reds 6, New York Mets 2 at Cinergy Field

    Timo Pérez shows an aptitude for the leadoff spot by belting two doubles while batting first in the lineup. Unfortunately, no one else on the Mets can do much against Cincinnati starter Elmer Dessens. In the bottom of the first, Al Leiter hangs a slider that Ken Griffey, Jr. sends over the left field fence for a two-run homer. Forced to battle from behind, the Mets press all game and never appear comfortable at the plate. Leiter later kicks himself for surrendering two-out RBIs in the third and sixth innings; the latter instance, which comes with the pitcher Dessens on deck, particularly irks him. The Mets cut the Reds’ lead in half with a Pérez sac fly in the fifth and a Mike Piazza solo shot in the top of the eighth, but two runs off of little-used reliever Rich Rodriguez in the bottom half salt the game for Cincinnati.
  • Tuesday, September 5, 2000

    New York Mets 3, Cincinnati Reds 2 (10 innings) at Cinergy Field

    Desperate for a win, the Mets scratch out a pair of runs on RBI singles from Benny Agabayani and Todd Zeile in the third and fourth innings, but manage little else against old friend Pete Harnisch. Rick Reed makes the two-run advantage stand for a while but allows an RBI single to Pokey Reese in the fifth that cuts the Mets’ lead in half. In the seventh, a leadoff single and sac bunt from Harnisch puts the tying run in scoring position, and reliever Rick White is unable to strand the runner, surrendering a two-out run scoring hit to Chris Stynes. The game remains knotted at 2 through regulation, although the Mets have a scare in the bottom of the ninth when Ken Griffey, Jr. comes within inches of belting a walkoff homer off of Turk Wendell, who tries to wave the ball foul from his perch on the mound. (“I dropped the Carlton Fisk on ‘em,” Turk says later.) It is not Junior who hits the heroic longball of the night, but Zeile, who belts a solo shot in the top of the tenth to give the Mets the lead. Armando Benítez sets down the side in order in the bottom half to seal a much needed Mets victory.
  • Wednesday, September 6, 2000

    Cincinnati Reds 11, New York Mets 8 at Cinergy Field

    The Mets’ six-game road trip ends with another contest that proves excruciating on all levels. It begins well for the visitors, as Matt Franco belts a three-run homer in the top of the first, but the Reds counter immediately with a two-run shot by Ken Griffey, Jr. The Mets get those runs back and then some in the second when Todd Pratt hits a solo shot and Lenny Harris contributes an RBI single, but the Reds respond again with an RBI double from Benito Santiago in the bottom of the second and a game-tying two-run homer from Sean Casey in the third. Bobby J. Jones (the righty) fails to record an out in that third inning and, following Casey’s longball, is replaced by his namesake, Bobby M. Jones (the lefty). The southpaw Jones contributes four scoreless innings while the Mets retake the lead in the top of the fourth, scoring twice thanks to some sloppy Cincinnati defense. When the Mets load the bases in the seventh on three walks yet score only one run in the frame, it seems mere window dressing. So too does their failure to bring home Harris after he hits a two-out triple in the top of the eighth. But once the lefty Jones departs, the Mets’ troubles begin anew. Turk Wendell gets assignment in the bottom of the eighth and surrenders a pair of one-out singles. When Bobby Valentine yanks Wendell in favor of John Franco, the lefty allows two RBI singles that shaves the Mets lead down to one slim run, then walks a man to load the bases. Valentine turns to Armando Benítez to shut the door, but the first pitch he throws is crushed by Santiago for a back-breaking grand slam. The Mets go quietly in the ninth to cap a brutal defeat.
  • Friday, September 8, 2000

    Philadelphia Phillies 2, New York Mets 0 at Shea Stadium

    The Mets collect eight hits against Phillies starter Bruce Chen, one of the players the Phillies acquired when they traded Andy Ashby to Atlanta. Unfortunately, all but one of these hits are singles, and very few come in succession. Mike Hampton is nothing short of brilliant for 7 2/3 innings, allowing just three hits over that stretch, but his excellent evening unravels when he attempts to finish the eighth inning. Hampton issues a walk to Doug Glanville, which brings Scott Rolen—one of the few offensive weapons in the anemic Phillies lineup—to the plate. Rolen works the count full before crushing a two-run homer. The Mets collect two walks and a single in the eighth and ninth innings yet convert none of them. At day’s end, New York leaves 11 men on base and collects yet another frustrating loss in September.
  • Saturday, September 9, 2000

    Philadelphia Phillies 6, New York Mets 3 at Shea Stadium

    Once again, the Met bats remain in hibernation at the worst possible time. The Phillies strike first when Doug Glanville singles to start the top of the sixth against Glendon Rusch, steals second, and scores on a Pat Burrell double. Edgardo Alfonzo helps the Mets counter in the bottom half with an RBI double of his own, but he also contributes to a total meltdown in the top of the seventh. Turk Wendell takes Rusch’s place in the frame and allows a single and double to the first two batters, the “double” a ball that bounces past Alfonzo’s glove, the kind of play the second baseman normally makes in his sleep. Wendell then allows a sac fly and an RBI single that put the Phillies on top. The Mets crawl a little closer in the bottom of the eighth thanks to a solo shot from Derek Bell, then go on to give the game away in the top of the ninth. When Pat Mahomes begins the inning with a leadoff double, Bobby Valentine brings in Armando Benítez, hoping his closer can keep the deficit close. Benítez proceeds to allow a walk and a three-run homer to Brian Hunter. A Benny Agbayani homer in the bottom half makes the score a little closer but offers no more encouragement to the Mets’ playoff hopes.
  • Sunday, September 10, 2000

    New York Mets 3, Philadelphia Phillies 0 at Shea Stadium

    The slumping Mets find little cures for their offensive woes in this game, scoring all their runs without benefit of a hit. The sum total of their scoring comes on an RBI groundout in the fourth, Benny Agabayani taking one for the team by getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the sixth, and a sac fly in the seventh. It’s not much to work with, but Al Leiter makes these runs stand up by tossing a complete game shutout, allowing only five hits (all singles) while striking out nine batters.
  • Monday, September 11, 2000

    Milwaukee Brewers 8, New York Mets 2 at Shea Stadium

    The Mets are still looking to find any kind of rhythm in September, and they do not find it in the first game of three against Milwaukee at Shea. Rick Reed surrenders a leadoff homer in the top of the second, then watches Matt Franco tie the score on a solo shot of his own in the bottom half. Reed allows a Mark Loretta two-run double in the top of the third, but the Mets crawl closer on a Benny Agbayani homer in the bottom half. Their bats go into hibernation after Agbayani’s shot, however, as the Mets manage just five hits apart from their bases-empty homers, all of them singles. In keeping with their poor timing in the month of September, the offensive blackout occurs just as the Brewers begin to pad their lead. Reed allows two more runs in the sixth, while the bullpen gives up another pair in the seventh and one more in the eighth to put the game out of reach.
  • Tuesday, September 12, 2000

    New York Mets 10, Milwaukee Brewers 2 at Shea Stadium

    With the Mets once again in dire need of a win, Bobby Jones tosses eight innings of two-run ball. After allowing single runs in the first and third innings, Jones works efficiently the rest of the way. The pitcher also gets a rally started, after a fashion, with a sac bunt attempt in the bottom of the second. Brewers catcher Tyler Houston fields his bunt attempt but throws it away, allowing one runner to score. The next batter, Benny Agbayani, knocks in two more runs with a single. When Houston tries to nail Agbayani at second base, his second bad throw of the inning gifts Benny the fabled little league home run. With a big lead for the first time in many games, the Mets relax and proceed to pummel Milwaukee pitching to the tune of six more runs, a barrage that includes longballs from Agbayani and Edgardo Alfonzo.
  • Wednesday, September 13, 2000

    New York Mets 4, Milwaukee Brewers 1 (10 innings) at Shea Stadium

    Mike Hampton tosses another brilliant outing, allowing just four hits and no earned runs in eight innings. But for most of this game, it looks like a costly error will lead to another damaging Met defeat. In the first inning, after Hampton issues a two-out walk, he induces an easy fly ball to right-center from Richie Sexson. Jay Payton and Lenny Harris—playing right field for the first time this season—get their signals crossed and watch the fly ball plop untouched between them. The error allows the runner to score all the way from first, and that lone run razzes the Mets all game, as they can do nothing against Milwaukee starter Jeff D’Amico. The home team comes within an inch of being shutout, but Payton atones for his part in the disastrous first inning by belting a leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth. Two outs later, Robin Ventura lashes a game-tying double. In the tenth, Jay Payton completes his redemption by lining a walkoff home run just over the left field fence.
  • Thursday, September 14, 2000

    New York Mets 10, Montréal Expos 4 at Olympic Stadium

    The Mets’ final road trip of the year begins with four games in Montréal and Glendon Rusch on the mound. Rusch struggles with his command from the beginning, as a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first leads to two Expo runs, and another leadoff walk in the fourth leads to one more. New York’s offense more than makes up for his struggles, however. Edgardo Alfonzo gets the scoring started with a first inning solo shot. Singles by Jay Payton and Mike Bordick allow Rusch himself to collect his first major league RBI in the second, and a bases loaded walk by Derek Bell drives in another run in the frame. The Mets score a pair of two-out runs in the third, then blow the game wide open in the seventh. With a runner on second and Mike Piazza coming to the plate, the Expos elect to walk the catcher and pitch to Robin Ventura—who has been ice cold at the plate for much of the season—instead. The third baseman makes Montréal pay by zipping a line drive three-run homer over the right field fence. Later in the inning, Payton caps the scoring with a two-run shot of his own, and the Mets achieve what has been difficult for them of late, a stress-free win.
  • Friday, September 15, 2000

    Montreal Expos 4, New York Mets 3 at Olympic Stadium

    In their second game in Montréal, the Mets are undone by Expo starter Javier Vázquez, both on the mound and at the plate. Two batters into the game, the Mets grab the lead on a Derek Bell RBI double, but the Expos draw even in the second when Al Leiter allows a run-scoring single to Vázquez. Though Montréal's hurler allows a solo shot to Mike Piazza in the fourth and a run-scoring single to Darryl Hamilton in the fifth, he limits the damage otherwise and twice eliminates Piazza in golden RBI opportunities, while Leiter is not nearly as fortunate. After getting the first two outs in the bottom of the sixth, he allows another single to Vázquez, a bouncer up the middle that travels too quickly on the Olympic Stadium carpet for Edgardo Alfonzo to snag. After Leiter allows an RBI double to Peter Bergeron, Bobby Valentine brings in Turk Wendell. The righty’s September struggles continue, as he allows a long two-run shot to the unlikely source of Orlando Cabrera. The shot by the light hitting shortstop gives the Expos the lead, and the Mets are never able to recover.
  • Saturday, September 16, 2000

    New York Mets 10, Montréal Expos 4 at Olympic Stadium

    At first, the Mets’ third game in Montréal appears to be a frustrating repeat of game two. Edgardo Alfonzo knocks in a run in the first inning but that lone run is all New York can score in the frame, despite loading the bases with no outs. But the Mets make up for it in the fourth inning by driving home six runs, all of them scoring with two outs. After a Montréal error leads to one Met run, Expo starter Dustin Hermanson melts down completely, giving up an RBI single to Darryl Hamilton, a grand slam to Alfonzo, and a solo shot to Robin Ventura. The Mets reach double digits with two more runs in the seventh, including a homer from Todd Zeile. Reed contributes six solid innings, striking out eight, walking none, and allowing just two runs despite skipping his usual between-starts bullpen session. (“I just wasn’t into it,” is the only reason he forwards.) Things get a bit chippy later, as Met reliever Rick White plunks Vladimir Guerrero in the ribs in the seventh, and Expo reliever Jeremy Powell throws behind pinch hitter Matt Franco in seeming retaliation. This was it for late drama, however, as the Mets cruised to victory.
  • Sunday, September 17, 2000

    Montreal Expos 5, New York Mets 0 at Olympic Stadium

    In their last game in Montréal, the Met bats go silent once more, kept quiet by starter Tony Armas, Jr. and the Expo bullpen. New York manages a mere three hits against Armas and only one against reliever Guillermo Mota, all of them singles. After Met pitchers had kept superstar Vladimir Guerrero quiet for the first three games of this series, the slugger erupts for a pair of homers against Bobby Jones. More disconcerting is a two-run shot clubbed by light-hitting shortstop Orlando Cabrera, though with the offense in a near-total blackout, Cabrera’s longball proves mere window dressing on another frustrating defeat in a month full of them.
  • Monday, September 18, 2000

    Atlanta Braves 6, New York Mets 3 at Turner Field

    For the second year in a row, the Mets enter a late September series in Atlanta within striking distance of the Braves in the National League East. For the second year in a row, they open that series with a frustrating, error-filled defeat. Mike Hampton takes the mound and is undone by multiple mistakes by himself and his defense. He and Mike Bordick conspire to allow the first Atlanta run to score in the bottom of the second—Bordick by failing to throw to third as Andres Galarraga crosses in front of him on a grounder to shortstop, Hampton by throwing away a Walt Weiss squeeze bunt that brings Galarraga home. Hampton then opens the third by allowing a walk and three consecutive singles to drive home two more runs. Another run scores in the fifth on a Galarraga double, while Pat Mahomes allows a solo shot to Brian Jordan in the seventh. Six runs appears more than enough for Greg Maddux, who scatters five harmless singles in seven innings of efficient work that extends his scoreless inning streak to 29 1/3. The Mets show some signs of life against the Atlanta bullpen in the eighth, when Derek Bell hits a one-out solo shot against Kerry Ligtenberg. After Edgardo Alfonzo walks and Mike Piazza doubles, Robin Ventura drives both of them home with a single against Mike Remlinger. A walk to Todd Zeile brings the tying run to the plate, but it also brings John Rocker to the mound. Though the mouthy southpaw has struggled all season, he does not do so against the Mets. He retires pinch hitter Bubba Trammell on a pop-up to end the threat in the eighth, then throws a scoreless ninth to cap another frustrating Mets defeat.
  • Tuesday, September 19, 2000

    Atlanta Braves 12, New York Mets 4 at Turner Field

    Making the biggest start of his Mets career, Glendon Rusch pitches poorly, to say the least. He starts the bottom of the second with three consecutive extra base hits, looking particularly perturbed after the third, a Reggie Sanders double that follows several close-but-no-cigar pitches deemed balls by the home plate umpire. Two runs score during this troika of hits and another comes home when opposing pitcher Andy Ashby smashes a ball off of Robin Ventura’s leg. Rusch completely implodes after this misfortune, firing off a wild pitch, issuing a walk, and allowing an RBI single to Chipper Jones. The lefty is yanked at this point, but reliever Pat Mahomes provides no relief, as he gives up a pair of walks and a single that drive home three more runs. Seven Braves cross the plate before all is said and done, putting this game well out of reach of the visitors. The remainder of the contest is played almost as an exhibition, as little-used relievers and September callups take the place of regulars on both sides.
  • Wednesday, September 20, 2000

    New York Mets 6, Atlanta Braves 3 at Turner Field

    With the Mets desperate for a win, Al Leiter contributes a solid performance, giving his team both quality and length in deference to a bullpen overworked by the bludgeoning of the previous night. A two-out RBI single from Benny Agbayani in the top of the fifth and two solo homers from Edgardo Alfonzo and Todd Zeile in the sixth stake Leiter to a 3-0 lead. The lefty is perfect through 5 1/3 innings, until Robin Ventura charges a slow grounder, only to watch it zip past him. The error allows Walt Weiss to reach base, then score when Rafael Furcal singles him home. Leiter proceeds to load the bases on a walk and an infield single, but wriggles off the hook by inducing a harmless pop-up from Brian Jordan. Leiter finds trouble again with two outs in the seventh, when a pair of walks, a passed ball, and a single set up an RBI hit from Weiss, shaving the Mets’ lead down to one run. Timo Pérez prevents further damage by fielding Weiss’s single and nailing baserunner Reggie Sanders as he gets hung up between second and third. After allowing one more single, Leiter gives way to fellow lefty John Franco, who escapes further damage by the skin of his teeth. A Mike Piazza homer and a Jay Payton RBI sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth expand the Mets’ lead by two runs, which comes in handy when Franco falters in the bottom half. After a leadoff homer by Chipper Jones, he allows a one-out single. Taking no chances, Bobby Valentine summons Armando Benítez, but the Met closer walks the first two batters he faces to load the bases. Benítez corrects himself with a pop fly and a grounder to end the inning, and after Todd Zeile collects an insurance run in the top of the ninth, he pitches a scoreless bottom half to secure a much needed win.
  • Thursday, September 21, 2000

    Philadelphia Phillies 6, New York Mets 5 at Veterans Stadium

    In the opener of a four-game series in Philadelphia, Rick Reed is less than sharp. After loading the bases and allowing a run in the second, Reed gives up solo shots to Bobby Abreu and Travis Lee in the third and fourth innings, respectively. The Mets grab a run back on a Jay Payton homer in the top of the fifth, but Reed hands two back to the Phils in a damaging bottom of the sixth. With one out and runners on the corners, Reed catches Tomás Pérez leaning off of first base but fires a wild pickoff throw that allows the runner at third to score. He follows this by giving up an RBI double that puts the Mets in a 5-1 hole, but his team begins to claw back in the top of the seventh, scoring twice on a bases loaded walk and a Mike Piazza RBI single. The comeback continues in the ninth when Todd Zeile bangs a home run off the left field foul pole, and Robin Ventura ties the game with a clutch two-out double. Unfortunately, Rick White begins the bottom of the ninth by giving up a single and double to bring the winning run 90 feet from home. With Scott Rolen due up next, the Mets walk the Phillies’ most dangerous hitter and pitch to Pat Burrell instead. They pay for it when the Phils' rookie hits a long “single” over the drawn-in infield to end the game.
  • Friday, September 22, 2000

    New York Mets 9, Philadelphia Phillies 6 at Veterans Stadium

    The Met offense breaks out by hanging seven runs on the ledger of Phillies starter Randy Wolf. The scoring starts early with an Edgardo Alfonzo RBI in the first, followed shortly by an error by left fielder (and budding Met Killer) Pat Burrell that allows another run to score. A Bubba Trammell single in the fourth plates the Mets’ third run. The Phils fight back with single runs in the first, fourth, and fifth against Bobby Jones to tie the score at 3, but the visitors do their best to blow the game wide open with a four-run top of the sixth that includes a Mike Piazza homer. Jones pitches through seven innings without further incident, but John Franco makes the proceedings far too interesting in the eighth by allowing a pair of homers to Scott Rolen and Burrell to bring the Phils back within a run. Dennis Cook restores order by securing the last two outs in the eighth, while Piazza gives the Mets breathing room in the top of the ninth with a laser beam two-run opposite field home run. Armando Benítez limits the drama with a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth.
  • Saturday, September 23, 2000

    New York Mets 7, Philadelphia Phillies 3 at Veterans Stadium

    Mike Hampton pitches 6 2/3 solid innings, fanning nine Phillies. His teammates scratch out single runs in the first (Timo Pérez doubling and scoring on an error), third (Edgardo Alfonzo solo shot), and sixth (Mike Piazza RBI double) before blowing the game wide open in the top of the seventh. Piazza and Robin Ventura collect RBI singles, and the Mets add two more runs on an embarrassing pair of bases loaded wild pitches. After waiting out this carnage, Hampton allows two runs in the bottom of the seventh, but that is as close as the home team gets.
  • Sunday, September 24, 2000

    New York Mets 3, Philadelphia Phillies 2 at Veterans Stadium

    Glendon Rusch recovers nicely from his rough outing in Atlanta by working eight excellent innings, fanning seven Phillies and scattering five hits. The only run against him comes in the seventh, after Timo Pérez misjudges a Pat Burrell fly ball into a double, allowing the outfielder to eventually score on a groundout. Otherwise, the Phils barely scratch against Rusch, and his teammates provide just enough offense to support him. The first Met run scores when the Phillies' center fielder slips while running in on a fly ball, allowing the speedy Pérez to leg out an inside-the-park home run. The lead expands on a two-run opposite field shot by Todd Zeile in the fourth, and though the Mets do little else against Phillie starter Bruce Chen, this proves sufficient. Things get dicey in the ninth when Armando Benítez allows a leadoff single, a one-out walk, and a two-out bloop RBI hit to Kevin Jordan. This cuts the Mets’ lead to one slim run and, when a cutoff throw sails home, also puts both the tying and winning runs in scoring position. Benítez shakes it off by striking out Marlon Anderson to earn the save, end the game, and shake off the demons of Philadelphia 1999.
  • Tuesday, September 26, 2000

    Atlanta Braves 7, New York Mets 1 at Shea Stadium

    The Braves and Mets match up for a three-game set, with Atlanta on the verge of claiming the division yet again and the Mets close to clinching the wild card. Al Leiter and Braves starter John Burkett trade zeroes until the top of the fifth, when Reggie Sanders doubles and scores on a single by Burkett himself. Though Leiter escapes the inning with no further damage, the Burkett hit seems to unnerve him. He allows a leadoff homer to Chipper Jones to start the sixth, then loads the bases on a one-out double and a pair of walks. When Walt Weiss hits a chopper to third base, Robin Ventura attempts to barehand the ball and throw it home all in one motion, but flings the throw wide instead. Two runs score on the error, and Leiter leaves shortly thereafter, having placed his team in a 4-0 hole. Edgardo Alfonzo leads off the bottom of the sixth with a solo shot, but the Braves put the game out of reach by knocking around Rick White and Turk Wendell for three runs in the top of the seventh. For extra humiliation, when the Mets mount a ghost of a threat in the eighth with consecutive two-out singles against Kerry Ligtenberg, John Rocker runs in from the bullpen to retire Robin Ventura on a harmless fly ball. The home team manages a pair of hits against Rocker in the ninth but nothing else, as the Braves once again claim their divisional crown.
  • Wednesday, September 27, 2000

    New York Mets 6, Atlanta Braves 2 at Shea Stadium

    Rick Reed faces a Braves lineup that, despite clinching the night before, fields all regulars in its starting lineup. Rick Reed allows a solo shot to Andruw Jones in the opening frame but is otherwise brilliant, allowing just three more hits and no more runs the rest of the way. The Met bats are quiet until the fourth, when Todd Zeile works a bases-loaded walk against Kevin Millwood to tie the game. They pull ahead in the fifth on a Darryl Hamilton RBI single and a two-run homer from Edgardo Alfonzo, and single runs in the sixth (Jay Payton RBI single) and seventh (Robin Ventura RBI double) pad their advantage. Trying to nail down the playoff berth once and for all, Armando Benítez allows a leadoff homer to Andres Galarraga but also strikes out the side to end the game and clinch a place for the Mets in October.
  • Thursday, September 28, 2000

    New York Mets 8, Atlanta Braves 2 at Shea Stadium

    Greg Maddux enters this game with a lengthy scoreless streak under his belt—36 1/3 innings—a streak the Mets helped extend by doing absolutely nothing against him in his start in Atlanta last week. But in the final regular season matchup between these bitter rivals, the Mets end Maddux’s bid at history. Despite running out a lineup full of bench players and September callups, the Mets load the bases in the fourth inning with one out on a walk, single, and hit batter to bring Lenny Harris to the plate. Harris allowed the game’s first run to score in the top of the second when he committed an error, but he redeems himself by chopping a ball up the middle that no one can handle, driving in the Mets’ first run. Todd Pratt follows by sneaking a single between first and second to drive in two more. The Mets score once more on Maddux in the fifth when a Rafael Furcal error allows Timo Pérez to score, then touch up the Atlanta bullpen for two runs in sixth and seventh innings. This is more than enough for Bobby Jones, who allows just one earned run in eight innings of work.
  • Friday, September 29, 2000

    New York Mets 11, Montréal Expos 2 at Shea Stadium

    The Mets finish out the regular season with three games hosting the Montreal Expos. They erupt in the first inning of the opener, as the first five batters reach base and Jay Payton caps the scoring with a grand slam. Six runners race home in the inning, and four more follow in the second, this rally ending with a Robin Ventura two-run shot. Mike Hampton chips in five scoreless innings in a playoff tuneup start.
  • Saturday, September 30, 2000

    New York Mets 3, Montréal Expos 2 at Shea Stadium

    Making a bid to join the playoff rotation, Glendon Rusch pitches a solid five innings, giving up two runs. His teammates are stymied once again by Javier Vázquez, who limits the offense to a Matt Franco RBI single through the first seven innings. The home team finally gets to Vázquez in the bottom of the eighth when a walk, single, and sacrifice bunt put the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. Vázquez opts to walk Todd Pratt and face September callup Jorge Toca instead. The Expos pay for this decision when Toca (a Cuban defector who had previously faced Vázquez in international play) belts a bases-clearing double, a three-run outburst that proves the margin of error in the game.
  • Sunday, October 1, 2000

    New York Met 3, Montréal Expos 2 (13 innings) at Shea Stadium

    In the final game of the regular season, the Mets and Expos trade RBI singles in the second inning. The home team takes a lead on a run-scoring hit by Mike Bordick in the fourth and retains this advantage until the seventh, when Dennis Cook allows a game-tying solo shot to Fernando Seguignol. Once knotted, the score seems determined to stay tied. Twice in extras, the Expos load the bases with one out or fewer yet fail to drive a run in, while the Mets mount no threats at all until the bottom of the thirteenth. The inning opens with a walk of Benny Agbayani and Pat Mahomes (batting for himself, in anticipation of this game going on for a few more innings) hitting a single. The next batter, September callup Jorge Velandia, attempts to bunt both of them over, but when Expos infielder Geoff Blum throws away the ball trying to nail Agbayani at third. Benny races home with the winning run to give the Mets a walkoff victory, their 94th of the season.
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