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2000 Game Recap: Piazza Helps Mets Take Subway Series Opener in Grand Fashion

As it is every year, this is a highly anticipated match-up. Obviously, this is the Subway Series between the Mets and Yankees allowing both fanbases to cram the stadium and ratchet up the atmosphere. However, it has also traditionally been a litmus test for the Mets and/or gut check time for them. That was the case last year when they fired coaches and went on a tear which led all the way to Game 6 of the NLCS.

This year seems different. For many, including Bobby Valentine who mentioned it more than a few times, this is a potential World Series preview. If that is the case, the Mets are in great shape.

With Al Leiter and Roger Clemens, this had the makings of a pitcher’s duel. Beginning with Jason Tyner leading off the game with a double, it was clear neither pitcher was particularly sharp. Still, over the first two innings both veterans were able to keep runs off the board.

Then, it was an error which opened the floodgates for the Mets. Tyner led off the top of the third, and he laid down a bunt. He reached safely as Jorge Posada‘s throw pulled Tino Martinez off the bag. Clemens followed that with consecutive walks bringing Mike Piazza to the plate, and he would provide a jolt through Yankee Stadium:

That grand slam would be more than enough run support for Leiter on the day who allowed just two runs over his seven innings helping him improve to a career best 7-1 start. Even if that was enough, the Mets just kept pouring it on against the Yankees scoring in five consecutive innings.

In the fourth, it was Derek Bell hitting a two out RBI single scoring Melvin Mora. Todd Zeile singled home Piazza in the fifth. Tyner led off the sixth with a single, and he took second on an error on Clemens’ pick-off attempt. He’d score on another Bell RBI single. Edgardo Alfonzo would then knock Clemens out of the game with a two run homer.

While Clemens was gone after 5+, the Mets offense wasn’t done. In the seventh, Bell hit a three run homer increasing the Mets lead to 12-2. It was complete and utter domination by the Mets over the Yankees with Bell (5 RBI), and Piazza (4 RBI) combining to drive home nine of the Mets 12 runs.

You could not have asked for a better start to this Subway Series. The Mets knocked around Clemens, Leiter had a very good start, and the Mets big hitters came up big time. While the Mets entered this series possibly looking to see how this roster fares against the World Series favorites, if one game is any indication, the Mets are a much better team.

Game Notes: Kurt Abbott was thrown out in the second for slamming his helmet after a badly missed call by first base umpire. Derek Jeter‘s throw wasn’t near the bag, and Tino Martinez didn’t tag him out. Bell snapped a 3-for-54 streak by going 3-for-4.

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.

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