April 22, 2000: Five-Run 8th Puts Away Cubs

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Date: April 22, 2000
Mets starter: Glendon Rusch
Mets: 8
Cubs: 3
Winning pitcher: Glendon Rusch
Key player(s): Derek Bell, Rey Ordonez, Benny Agbayani
Key play: Ordonez’s single, Bell’s and Agbayani’s doubles in 8th

The Mets and Cubs faced each other in a doubleheader on a Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played a two-hour and forty-eight-minute opener of the twinbill. The Mets scored five runs in the eighth inning and came away with an 8-3 win over Chicago.

Mets’ starter Glendon Rusch pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. With one out in the bottom half, Derek Bell singled against the Cubs’ Jon Lieber. Bell advanced to third base on a single by Edgardo Alfonzo and scored on Robin Ventura’s force play ground ball to second baseman Eric Young. Ventura stole second and Lieber retired Todd Pratt on a grounder to third baseman Shane Andrews for the inning’s final out.

Rusch and Lieber hurled scoreless ball from the second inning to the fifth. Glendon set down all three Chicago batters in the top of the sixth and Bell hit a double to open the bottom half. Alfonzo grounded out to shortstop Ricky Gutierrez and an intentional walk to Ventura ensued. Pratt grounded out to Young to drive home Bell for a 2-0 Mets lead. Matt Franco singled to score Ventura with the third New York run and went to third base on a single by Melvin Mora. Lieber then got Rey Ordonez to ground out to Andrews and end the inning.

Mark Grace hit a leadoff home run in the top of the seventh. Rusch retired the next two hitters and a homer by Andrews reduced the Mets’ lead to 3-2. Joe Girardi grounded out to first baseman Matt Franco to finish off the inning and Rickey Henderson was hit by a pitch with one out in the bottom half. Bell grounded back to Lieber and a walk to Alfonzo ensued. Lieber got Ventura on a ground ball to Young that closed out the inning. Mets’ reliever John Franco then shut down the Cubs in the top of the eighth.

Pratt drew a walk against Chicago reliever Ruben Quevedo to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning. Matt Franco’s sacrifice bunt moved Pratt to second base and Mora was given an intentional walk. Ordonez singled to drive home Pratt with the Mets’ fourth run of the game. Pinch-hitter Mike Piazza walked against the Cubs’ Felix Heredia to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Benny Agbayani doubled off Chicago’s Brian Williams to bring home Mora and Ordonez. Bell followed with a double that scored Piazza and Agbayani for a five-run inning and an 8-2 New York lead. Alfonzo drew a walk and Ventura popped out to Gutierrez. Williams then threw a called third strike past Pratt for the inning’s final out.

Sammy Sosa singled against Mets’ reliever Rich Rodriguez to open the top of the ninth. Glenallen Hill flied out to center fielder Mora and a wild pitch advanced Sosa to second base. Andrews hit a single and Girardi singled to score Sosa with the Cubs’ third run. Damon Buford was retired on a line drive to Mora. Rodriguez then got pinch-hitter Jeff Reed to ground out to Matt Franco and end the game. The Mets had begun the doubleheader with a victory.