Derek Bell

2000 Game Recap: Hampton Goes The Distance

When you have a tired and beleaguered bullpen, and your team has had to go to the whip to pull out some games, what you desperately need is for a starting pitcher to step up and get you innings. Mike Hampton did more than that in going the distance for the second time this season.

In fact, it was a complete game shut out where he set a season high with nine strikeouts.

After the fifth inning, Hampton would not allow another hit, and he would limit the Pirates to just five hits total. With him pitching this way, the win was assured. The question was just how badly the Mets would beat the Pirates. It was a rout.

The game winning RBI was a Jay Payton RBI single in the second scoring Robin Ventura, who had led off the inning with a double off Kris Benson. It would stay close through five-and-a-half until the Mets offense battered a tiring Benson.

In the sixth, the Mets loaded the bases with no outs. Ventura would walk to force home the first run, and Todd Zeile would hit a sacrifice fly to increase the Mets lead to 3-0. The Mets then put the game away in the seventh.

Joe McEwing led off the inning with a single, and he went to third on a Melvin Mora single. Mora then stole second, and he would come home to score with McEwing on a Derek Bell RBI single. The Mets weren’t done there. Edgardo Alfonzo and Mike Piazza hit back-to-back doubles to increase the Mets lead to 7-0. It was 8-0 after a Ventura RBI single.

Mora would cap off the Mets scoring with a solo homer in the eighth. That was the capper for a great game from Mora. He was 4-for-5 with three runs, a double, homer, RBI, and a stolen base. If not for Hampton going to the distance, he would have been the star of the game.

Game Notes: With Hampton complaining about the city traffic, there are some who are concerned about the Mets chances to re-sign him. Mora seems to be winning the shortstop job. He has a five game hitting streak, and he is hitting .281 this month.

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.

2000 Game Recap: Mets Offense Picks Up Reed And Flailing Bullpen

For a moment, it had seemed Rick Reed turned the corner, had been past the injuries, and is now the pitcher he was early on in the season. That didn’t seem the case today as the Pirates roughed him up. Over the three innings he lasted, he allowed homers to John Vander Wal and Kevin Young.

In total, he allowed four runs in three innings, and he slogged through with 75 pitches. With the pitch count an ineffectiveness, he was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the third.

While Jason Tyner didn’t get a hit, Melvin Mora would get a rally started with a bunt single. Later that inning, Derek Bell and Edgardo Alfonzo would hit a pair of RBI doubles. Combined with Robin Ventura‘s solo homer in the second, the Mets pulled themselves to within 4-3. It was going to be one of those games.

Pat Mahomes came in for Reed, and he was just okay. Over his three innings, he allowed two runs, which came on a Bruce Aven two RBI double in the fifth. After Ventura got one of those runs back in the sixth with his second solo homer of the game, Dennis Cook came in and was as bad as he’s been all season.

Cook allowed a leadoff homer to Brian Giles to start the seventh. Aven would double off of Cook, and later in the inning, Abraham Nunez would hit a two out RBI single giving the Pirates an 8-4 lead. With the way the Mets bullpen has been pitching, that lead seemed safe enough even for the Pirates.

That was until the bottom of the seventh when Mike Piazza jolted the Mets. After a Bell lead-off single, Alfonzo drew a walk. Both would score on a Piazza RBI double. Nunez would give back the run he knocked in when his error allowed Jay Payton to reach and Piazza to score.

The Mets were now withing 8-7, and Bobby Valentine wasn’t taking any chances with his leaky bullpen anymore. With the game on the line, he only trusted John Franco and Armando Benitez the rest of the way. The two would combine to shut the Pirates out over the final two innings and allow the Mets to take the lead.

After Bell drew a one out walk, he was knocked home on a game tying Alfonzo double. After Piazza struck out, Ventura was intentionally walked. Alfonzo and Ventura would come home to score on a go-ahead Todd Zeile RBI double.

When Benitez set the Pirates down in order in the ninth, the Mets turned what could have been a very troublesome game into a good come from behind win. As we see, their bullpen still needs a lot of help, but you will take wins like these whenever they come along.

Game Notes: It may be public posturing, but Steve Phillips has indicated he’s comfortable going forward with Melvin Mora and Kurt Abbott at SS the rest of the way. Before Reed’s short start here, the Mets had quality starts in eight of the last nine games. Piazza has a 13 game hitting streak.

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.

2000 Game Recap: Bobby Jones Finally Cruises In Mets Rout

When the Mets put up a nine spot in the third inning, you would normally assume the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates was all but over. However, the Mets bullpen has been leaky, and Bobby Jones, who returned from Triple-A to pitch today really has not been able to avoid the big inning all season.

Entering that bottom of the third, the game was actually tied 1-1.

In the second, Bronson Arroyo intentionally walked Benny Agbayani to load the bases to bring up Jones. The move backfired when Arroyo balked home Todd Zeile. The move eventually did work as Jones struck out to end the inning.

The Pirates got that run back in the top of the third. Pat Meares doubled and was sacrificed to second by Arroyo. Meares then scored on a Warren Morris sacrifice fly. That was as close as the Pirates would get all day.

The bottom of the third started innocently enough for Arroyo as Melvin Mora flew out to center. Then, as many rallies start, he walked Derek Bell. The flood gates soon opened. After an Edgardo Alfonzo single, Mike Piazza crushed a three homer. The Mets were far from done.

After the homer, the Mets hit three straight with the third from Jay Payton knocking in a run. For the second time in the game, Agbayani was intentionally walked. After Jones flew out, Mora hit a bases clearing double. He then scored on a Derek Bell RBI single. When Bell advanced on an error from Aramis Ramirez on the play, he then scored on an Alfonzo RBI single.

Alfonzo hit the RBI single off of Jeff Wallace who finally relieved Arroyo when the Mets were up 9-1. After that Alfonzo single, the Mets were up 10-1. Arguably, the game was not over given Jones’ performance this season. Then, something even more shocking than the nine run inning happened.

Jones was great.

After allowing that one run in the third, Jones was brilliant the rest of the way. He would not allow another run while he pitched eight strong innings. It was his longest outing since he pitched eight innings against the Houston Astros on September 16, 1998.

After that third inning, only two more Pirates would reach scoring position against Jones. His final line was an impressive 8.0 IP, 5 H, R, ER, BB, and 8 K. You could argue Jones hasn’t been this good since his 1997 All-Star season. Obviously, Jones would pick up the win.

Agbayani had a pair of RBI singles later in the game, and the Pirates scored a window dressing run with Aramis Ramirez hitting a ninth inning RBI single off of Rich Rodriguez in the ninth. All told, it was a 12-2 win, and it was an important one too as it seems, at least for one start, Jones’ work in Triple-A paid off.

Game Notes: In response to criticism over his usage of the bullpen, Bobby Valentine presented information detailing how he has used his relievers less than he had at this point last year. Mets were 7-for-14 with RISP.

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.

2000 Game Recap: Mets Homers Provide Enough Cushion For Leaky Bullpen

Well, in this three game series, it appears as if getting a 2-0 lead was a death knell. To that end, it seems fortunate Glendon Rusch walked the first batter of the game before allowing RBI singles to Bobby Abreu and Mike Lieberthal to give the Mets a 2-0 deficit before they ever came up to the plate.

The Mets got one of those runs back when Derek Bell hit a homer off of Cliff Politte in the bottom of the first. It was a much needed hit for Bell who was mired in a real 12-for-88 stretch (.136) at the same time Benny Agbayani and Jay Payton have taken off at the plate.

Just like the Mets did in the first two games of this series, after scoring their first run of the game, their offense went dormant. After Bell’s homer, Politte would retire the next eight Mets in a row. The Mets would get things started again in the fourth when they loaded the bases with two outs, but Todd Zeile struck out to end the inning.

The Mets couldn’t cash in on rallies in this game, but the one thing they were able to do was hit the long ball. In the fifth, Melvin Mora tied the game on a solo homer, and then in the sixth, Payton hit a two run homer to give the Mets a 4-1 lead.

During this time, Rusch had settled in and gone to work after that tough 36 pitch first inning. In the fourth, he got out of jam with runners on first and second with two outs by getting Politte to pop out. In the seventh, he fought through a Robin Ventura error allowing the lead-off batter to reach. Through it all, Rusch pitched seven strong innings allowing just the two earned runs from the first inning while allowing seven hits and one walk. He would also strike out seven.

Rusch was lifted for the pinch hitter Lenny Harris, who hit a one out double. He’d come around to score later that inning on a two out RBI single by Bell. Little did we know it at the time, but the Mets would need that run.

While the Mets bullpen has been leaky of late, Turk Wendell has been good. He had not allowed a run over his last three appearances, and he had allowed runs once over his last eight appearances. Today, he was not good at all, and he nearly blew the game.

The top of the eighth started with a Scott Rolen homer. After that, Wendell walked Lieberthal, and Lieberthal went to second on a Todd Pratt passed ball. Pat Burrell, who at least didn’t homer today, reached safely on Ventura’s second error of the game. Kevin Jordan hit a sacrifice fly pulling the Phillies to within 5-4. Fortunately, Wendell retired Kevin Sefcik to get out of the inning.

Things were not nearly as eventful in the ninth. Beginning his second inning of work, Wendell retired Doug Glanville and Ron Gant. Bobby Valentine then brought in Dennis Cook to get the left-handed Abreu to end the game. With that, Cook had his first save of the season, and the Mets avoided the sweep.

Game Notes: After his time working on things in Triple-A, Bobby Jones is slated to make his next start against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Darryl Hamilton will start his rehab assignment next week. Armando Benitez called Mets fans dumb for booing John Franco yesterday, and he accused Mets fans of only wanting to see the bad. With his two errors today, Ventura passed his error total for all of 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.

2000 Game Recap: Rookie Pat Burrell Becoming A Mets Killer

Starting with Mike Piazza hitting a first inning two run homer off of Curt Schilling scoring Edgardo Alfonzo to give the Mets a 2-0 lead, this game had a bit of an ugly deja vu feeling to their frustrating loss to the Phillies yesterday.

Part of that deja vu was Pat Burrell being the Phillies big bat leading the assault. The other part was a ninth inning meltdown by the Mets bullpen.

After two, the Mets had a 3-0 lead with Jason Tyner hitting an RBI ground out scoring Jay Payton in the second. Al Leiter would surrender that 3-0 lead in the third with two of the three runs being unearned.

With one out, Robin Ventura made a rare error allowing Doug Glanville to reach safely. After that, the Phillies would load the bases. Mike Lieberthal hit a two run double, and then Kevin Jordan hit a sacrifice fly tying the game at 3-3.

After the score was tied, Schilling had begun making quick work of the Mets lineup. Starting with the second inning, Schilling retired nine in a row. After Schilling retired Tyner to lead off the fifth, Leiter and Melvin Mora would hit a back-to-back singles, but the Mets could not push a run across.

That immediately came back to haunt the Mets with Burrell leading off the sixth with a homer. In the seventh, it was Ron Gant homering against Leiter to give the Phillies a 5-3 lead. When Scott Rolen followed the Gant homer with a single, Bobby Valentine lifted Leiter for Turk Wendell.

You could argue Leiter deserved better on the day. Through his 6.1 innings, he had allowed five runs with only three of them earned. He would walk three while striking out seven. However, that third inning rally was exacerbated by Leiter, and he didn’t get the big out he needed.

Fortunately for Leiter, the Mets would get him off the hook. Chris Brock came out of the Phillies bullpen in the eighth, and he was greeted immediately with back-to-back singles by Derek Bell and Alfonzo. After Alfonzo stole second and Piazza struck out, there was runners on second and third with one out. Ventura delivered and atoned for the two unearned runs resulting from his error with a two RBI single tying the game.

The Mets had the chance to take the lead but squandered it. Todd Zeile followed Ventura’s RBI single with a single of his own. The rally ended there as Payton struck out, and Tyner grounded out to end the inning. Much like in the sixth, the Mets would immediately regret wasting this chance.

John Franco had nothing. He was pitching for the second straight game and third time over a four day span. Perhaps, he was just tired. Whatever the case, he imploded.

After a Gant double, there were runners on second and third with no outs. After Franco struck out Scott Rolen, Lieberthal, who is a Mets killer, was walked to load the bases and set up a potential double play. That double play never happened.

Franco walked Jordan to force home a run. Then, Valentine brought in Benitez to pitch to Burrell. Benitez was tired himself. He had pitched over an inning yesterday and threw 33 pitches. On the fifth pitch to Burrell, Burrell got Benitez again this time hitting a grand slam to put the Phillies up 10-5.

With the Mets going down 1-2-3 in the ninth, they yet again had wasted a good pitching performance, and they were unable to overcome the failures of Benitez. Worse yet, it seems as if the rookie Pat Burrell is starting to become a Mets killer.

Game Notes: Piazza is currently riding an 11 game hitting streak. Rey Ordonez has been officially ruled out for the rest of the year leaving the Mets to ride with Melvin Mora and Kurt Abbott at shortstop until they decided to obtain one in a trade.

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.

2000 Game Recap: Mets Throw One Away

This is a game the Mets are going to want to get back. After having a 3-1 lead through four-and-a-half innings, they blew that lead, and then they effectively game this game away to the Cubs.

Through the first four, it was 1-1 with both Rick Reed and Kevin Tapani dealing. With respect to Reed it was a sight for sore eyes. Early in the season, Reed was pitching like the team’s ace. However, he has been nicked up a bit lately, and he has struggled with a 7.00 ERA over his last five starts.

After Sammy Sosa and Mark Grace got to him with back-to-back doubles in the first, he retired 11 of the next 13 Cubs with no one reaching scoring position. While Reed was shutting down the Cubs, the Mets were working on getting him a lead.

The Mets tied the game in the second. With runners on second and third after a Robin Ventura walk and Todd Zeile double, Jason Tyner hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game. The rally ended there with Reed striking out to end the inning.

Reed failed to deliver again in the fourth. After Tapani hit Tyner, the bases were loaded with two outs. The Mets didn’t push home a run as Reed struck out. That’s National League baseball for you.

In the fifth, Reed wasn’t around for Tapani to get out of the inning. The rally started with Jay Payton, who was installed as the lead-off hitter during his hot stretch, and he moved to second on a Derek Bell single. After Edgardo Alfonzo and Mike Piazza failed to deliver, Robin Ventura hit a two run double giving the Mets a 3-1 lead.

The Cubs got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning. Jeff Huson led off the inning with a single, and Tapani sacrificed him over to third. Huson then moved up to third when Reed uncorked a wild pitch. That allowed him to score on a Eric Young Sr. sacrifice fly.

Reed would nearly escape the seventh with a 3-2 lead before handing it off to the Mets bullpen. After two quick outs, Young singled and stole second. Reed just couldn’t get that last out as Brant Brown hit an RBI single tying the game. After Turk Wendell relieved Reed to get out of the inning, Reed had a no decision after 6.2 strong innings.

Reed assuredly wanted a better result, but this was a step in the right direction for him. More often times than not, if he pitches this way, the Mets are going to win the game. Today was just not his or the Mets day.

One of the reasons why was the Mets offense just did not get anything going after the fifth. Tapani pitched two scoreless before handing the ball to the Cubs bullpen. Felix Heredia and Rick Aguilera got the job done keeping the Mets off the board over the final two innings.

The same could not be said for the Mets bullpen. John Franco relieved Wendell to start the eighth, and in typical Franco fashion, he got into trouble. With runners on first and second and one out, Glenallen Hill hit a ball at Zeile. Zeile fired it to Kurt Abbott to get the first out, but Abbott’s return throw missed its target. Franco ran past the ball allowing Damon Buford to score the go-ahead run.

It’s easy to kill Abbott here and say the Mets would’ve won the game had that been Rey Ordonez instead of him. However, it needs to be pointed out Joe Girardi took him out with the slide at second, and Franco never quite read or adapted to the throw which was off the mark but not all that wild.

Whoever you want to blame here, the result is the same. The Mets gave away a game they should have won. They were shut down by the Cubs bullpen they should have been able to at least gotten started against. When you chalk it all up, it was just a bad loss. The key is to not let this type of loss spiral.

Game Notes: The finale of the Yankee Stadium portion of the Subway Series was rained out. There is some discussion about the make-up being a doubleheader split between Shea and Yankee Stadium.  Piazza tweaked his ankle during the game but said it should not keep him out of the lineup. The Mets are considering skipping Bobby Jones‘ next turn through the rotation, but Paul Wilson is not under consideration as he’s been limited to 85 pitches per start.

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.

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.

2000 Game Recap: Mets Leave In Mike Hampton Too Long

Like with his last start, Mike Hampton had to square off against another great pitcher. Last time, it was Kevin Brown. This time, it was Mike Mussina. Again, Hampton pitched well, but he would be out-pitched by the other team’s ace.

The shame of it was the Mets actually led this game 2-0. Those two runs came in a second inning two out rally started by a Melvin Mora bunt single. After that, Hampton singled himself. That set the stage for the recently called up Jason Tyner to have his first big moment.

Tyner would hit an RBI single giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. After that, Mussina would uncharacteristically lose command of the strike zone walking Derek Bell and Edgardo Alfonzo to force home a run. After that Mussina was Mussina again shutting down the Mets offense for the rest of his six innings.

With respect to Hampton, he had his lead, but he would not be able to hold onto it. The first crack came in the third. Rich Amaral would hit a one out single and steal a base, and he would take third on a Jeff Conine fly out. That put him in position to score on an Albert Belle RBI single.

Entering the seventh, Hampton still had a 2-1 lead, and he had thrown 99 pitches. At that point, he had retired nine of the last 10 batters he had faced. Given how he was rolling and how the Mets bullpen had taken a hit yesterday, you can certainly understand why he was out there for the seventh. After all, he is the team’s ace, and he has been pitching like it of late.

The Mets lead evaporated when B.J. Surhoff led off the seventh with a homer off of Hampton. At that point, it seemed like Hampton was tiring and had lost it. Mark Lewis followed the Surhoff homer with a single, but he would not get into scoring position as Hampton was quick to pounce on a Mussina sacrifice bunt attempt to nail Lewis.

While Hampton got Lewis, he could not get Mike Bordick. The Orioles shortstop who is having an uncharacteristically good year at the plate delivered the go-ahead RBI single to give the Orioles 3-2 lead. After Hampton struck out Conine, Bell got to Hampton again hitting an RBI double to increase the Orioles lead to 4-2.

It was a much better start for Hampton than the four earned over 6.2 innings would indicate. Fact of the matter is, he went a little too long in the game, and it cost him and the Mets. The main takeaway you want to take from Hampton in this start was in back-to-back starts he went against another true ace, and he put the Mets in a position to win. That is all you can ask from your ace.

In terms of the Mets offense, they were beat by a great pitcher in Mussina. It happens. You just lament the missed opportunity here and hope they put it behind them as they try to win tomorrow.

Game Notes: Rick Reed will make his scheduled start after skipping his last one due to an oblique injury. Ryan McGuire was sent down to make room for Tyner. Tyner had a memorable debut with the RBI single as well as an infield single. On the day, he was 2-for-3 with a sac bunt and an RBI.

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.

2000 Game Recap: Pratt Caps Off Grand Comeback

If you thought this game went long, you were right. In fact, this back-and-forth 4:09 game between the Mets and Dodgers was the longest nine inning game in Mets history. That also makes it the longest Mets nine inning victory in team history.

Melvin Mora was rushed back off the DL after Rey Ordonez‘s injury, and he found himself atop the lineup and playing center. If there was any rust, Mora did not show it hitting a lead-off single, and stealing second. On his stolen base attempt, former Met Todd Hundley threw it away allowing Mora to go to third. That allowed him to score easily on Edgardo Alfonzo‘s RBI single.

The Mets did not enjoy the lead for very long. In the third, the Dodgers broke through against Bobby Jones. The trouble started with a Todd Hollandsworth lead-off walk. Hollandsworth stole second, but Jones almost got out of the inning after getting the next two Dodgers out.

Jones could not get Shawn Green out who hit an RBI single and advanced to second on a Mora error. Green would then score on an Eric Karros two run homer. That homer gave the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.

Dodgers starter Eric Gagne would only last four plus. After he allowed an Alfonzo double and Mike Piazza RBI single, he was lifted for Matt Herges. While Herges was relief in the fifth getting the Dodgers out of the jam, he was not that in the sixth.

After quick strikeouts of Kurt Abbott and Jones, Herges consecutive singles to Mora and Derek Bell. On the Bell infield single, Dave Hansen threw it away allowing Mora and Bell to go to second and third. That allowed both runners to score on the ensuing Alfonzo RBI single which gave the Mets a 4-3 lead.

At that point, Jones had pitched reasonably well. Over five innings, he had allowed just three runs on six hits and two walks. At 87 pitches, you understood why he was sent out there for the bottom of the sixth. Still, after former Met Hundley led off the inning with a double, he got the quick hook with Dennis Cook coming into the game to face the left-handed Hansen.

Davey Johnson countered to putting Kevin Elster into the game as a pinch hitter. As an aside, that’s a sentence which could have been written a decade ago back when Hundley, Johnson, and Elster were all Mets.

Elster singled putting runners at the corners. Geronimo Berroa then pinch hit for Herges, and he drove home Chad Kreuter, who pinch ran for an injured Hundley. Cook finally got a lefty in Hollandsworth, and he struck him out.

With the known right-handed batters coming up, Bobby Valentine brought in Pat Mahomes, who has been really overworked of late. Mahomes allowed an RBI single to Mark Grudzielanek before retiring Gary Sheffield to end the inning. With that, the Mets 4-3 lead had become a 5-4 deficit.

That’s where the score was in the ninth when the Dodgers brought in Jeff Shaw to close out the game. Mike Piazza would get the inning started with a lead-off single on the first pitch Shaw threw. With the slow-footed Piazza representing the tying run, Valentine sent in Jay Payton to pinch run.

After Robin Ventura walked on four pitches, Payton would score the tying run on a Todd Zeile RBI single. That also had the go-ahead run in scoring position. The Dodgers not wanting to lose the game brought in Terry Adams to relieve Shaw.

With the go-ahead run on second with no outs, Valentine made the curious decision of having Joe McEwing pinch hit for Benny Agbayani to bunt the runners over. Instead, McEwing would strike out. After Kurt Abbott walked, Jon Nunnally struck out.

That put the game on Mora’s shoulders. He had a tough seven pitch at-bat where he drew a walk forcing home the go-ahead run. That brought up John Franco‘s spot in the batting order. With Piazza already out of the game with Payton pinch running for him, Valentine sent up Todd Pratt. Pratt would deliver a grand slam to put the Mets up 10-5.

Armando Benitez entered the game in the ninth, and he quickly shut the door. With a victory in this long, long game, the Mets have put themselves in a position to have a winning road trip with one game remaining. That’s not too bad considering how poorly things went in San Diego to start this insane three city two time zone road trip.

Game Notes: Ordonez is expected to miss at least six weeks. Mora and Abbott are expected to split the shortstop duties in his absence. Today, Mora was in center, and Abbott was at short.

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.

2000 Game Recap: Rey Ordonez Breaks Arms In Loss

It was a play only Rey Ordonez could make. After F.P. Santangelo had his at-bat extended by a Robin Ventura error on a foul ball pop up, he walked. Al Leiter picked Santangelo off first, and Todd Zeile made a poor throw. For any other shortstop, this would have been a ball thrown into left field.

However, this is Ordonez. He made one of the most incredible plays you will ever see. Ordonez lunged to get the errant throw, and he then twisted in the air getting the tag on Santangelo to record the out. That wasn’t the only out on the play. The defensive wizard Ordonez broke his arm on the play, and he is going to be headed to the DL.

Ordonez wouldn’t be the only loss for the Mets. For the first time all season, the Mets would lose a game Leiter started.

Like the last time the Mets went out west, which was somehow little over a week ago, the Mets hot bats went cold against a mediocre pitcher. This time, it was Chan Ho Park who shut them down.

Over the first six-and-a-half innings, both teams would put together rallies, but they would each fall short. For example, the Mets twice had two on, and they failed to score. As for the Dodgers, they were shooting themselves in the foot.

In the second, Mike Piazza threw out his old roommate Eric Karros trying to steal a base to end the inning. In the fifth, Karros tried to score from first on a Chad Kreuter double, and he was thrown out at the plate on a Joe McEwingKurt Abbott relay. Abbott’s throw was high, but Piazza had enough time to leap, land, and put down the tag. In the sixth, Karros was not going to run the Dodgers out of the inning.

In that sixth inning, Leiter just lost it. He gave up a single to Jose Vizcaino to start the inning. After a Park sacrifice bunt Leiter hit the next two batters to load the bases with one out. Leiter was all over the place, and after throwing a first pitch ball to Shawn Green, he tried to throw a strike. Instead, he made a mistake, a big mistake as Green hit a grand slam.

It was a shame that happened as Leiter was very good in this game other than that stretch. In fact, other than that inning, Leiter had allowed just three other hits and issued one walk. If not for this sixth inning meltdown, who knows how much longer this game would’ve gone.

The Mets bullpen did their job with Rich Rodriguez and Jim Mann combining to pitch a scoreless seventh and eighth to give the Mets a chance. To their credit, the Mets would rally in the ninth against Dodgers closer Jeff Shaw.

Benny Agbayani led off the ninth with a single, and there would be runners on first and second with one out after a Matt Franco pinch hit walk. After a Derek Bell ground out, McEwing hit an RBI double. Unfortunately, that was the only run the Mets would score in the 4-1 loss as Edgardo Alfonzo grounded out to end the game.

For the Mets, the loss is one thing. The bigger issue for the team going forward is going to be how they are going to handle shortstop for the next two months as Ordonez’s broken arm heals.

Game Notes: Melvin Mora is expected to come off the DL after this road trip. It remains to be seen if he will be rushed back with Ordonez hitting the DL and Abbott hitting just .200. This was Mann’s MLB debut. Given what the Mets decided to do with Rick Reed, he may stay on the roster for a longer stretch than originally anticipated.

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.