2000 Game Recap: Mets Bats On Rocky Mountain High
With the two starting pitchers, Al Leiter and Brian Bohanan, on the mound, this was a fairly well pitched Coors Field game. That goes double for Leiter. Things would get very interesting when it went to the bullpens.
The Mets had opened the scoring with a Melvin Mora sacrifice fly in the second. That lead jumped to 5-0 in the fourth when Todd Zeile and Mora homered. The Rockies got a couple of those runs back. First, it was a Jeff Cirillo RBI double in the fourth, and then it was a Tom Goodwin sacrifice fly in the fifth.
While the Rockies were trying to inch back, the Mets were piling on the runs. Todd Pratt, who is filling in for the injured Mike Piazza, homered in the sixth. The Mets then seemingly broke the game open in the seventh. Edgardo Alfonzo hit an RBI single, and Derek Bell scored on a Terry Shumpert error. Later that inning, Pratt would hit a sacrifice fly scoring Alfonzo giving the Mets a 9-2 lead in the seventh.
That lead ballooned to 11-3 in the top of the eighth after a Neifi Perez homer in the bottom of the seventh and an Alfonzo two run homer in the top of the eighth. At that point, Bobby Valentine made a defensive substitution putting Jon Nunnally in for Benny Agbayani because it was a very large lead with two innings remaining.
Had this been Shea Stadium, you would have expected the Mets to hold onto this lead and pull out the victory. However, this is Coors Field. As we have seen over the years, really no lead is safe in this ballpark.
At that point, Leiter was dealing allowing just three earned over seven innings. That’s roughly the equivalent of a shutout at Shea. Due to a number of factors, Valentine pushed Leiter into the eighth even though he was already over 100 pitches. It would seem that was a bit of a mistake, but the defense was a factor.
The inning got off to a bad start when Rey Ordonez made yet another error allowing Cirillo to reach safely. Runners were then on first and second after Leiter issued a walk to Todd Helton. Shumpert then hit a single which was misplayed by Nunnally. Instead of fully charging or playing back, he was inbetween. The balls rolled between his legs scoring Cirillo and Helton and putting Shumpert on third.
That chased Leiter. Turk Wendell got Perez to ground out before loading the bases. Valentine went to Dennis Cook to face the left-haned Tom Goodwin. That didn’t work as Goodwin hit a grand slam. Suddenly, the game which was all Mets was a tense 11-9 game.
Fortunately, the Mets offense kept rolling giving the bullpen some breathing room. Mora lead-off the ninth with a walk, and he’d wind up scoring after a passed ball, Ordonez sacrifice bunt, and finally a wild pitch. Bell, Alfonzo, and Robin Ventura hit consecutive singles to put the Mets up 14-9.
It wasn’t technically a save situation, but with the way this game was going, it effectively was. Armando Benitez made things interesting again by allowing a Shumpert two run homer. Benitez then rebounded to record the final two outs in the Mets 14-11 victory.
In essence, this was a Coors Field game. Ultimately, the Mets were able to pull this one out because they put enough distance between themselves and the Rockies before the Rockies bats truly started clicking. By doing that, the Mets have won their second in a row and have taken this series.
Game Notes: In Piazza’s absence, Pratt has stepped up going 6-for-9 with three runs, a double, homer, and three RBI. With his six errors, Ordonez has now committed two more errors than he did all last season.
Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.