April 23, 2000: Mets Slug Cubs for Series Sweep

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Date: April 23, 2000
Mets starter: Mike Hampton
Mets: 15
Cubs: 8
Winning pitcher: Mike Hampton
Key player(s): Derek Bell, Edgardo Alfonzo, Mike Piazza
Key play: Mets’ three home runs

The Mets faced the Cubs on a Sunday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played the finale of a three-game series in front of 27,560 fans on hand. With a solid display of hitting, the Mets came away with a 15-8 win over Chicago to complete a series sweep.

Mets’ starter Mike Hampton pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. With one out in the bottom half, Derek Bell singled to center field. Edgardo Alfonzo hit a two-run homer and Mike Piazza followed with a home run for a 3-0 Mets lead. Cubs’ starter Kevin Tapani then got Robin Ventura to ground out to shortstop Ricky Gutierrez and retired Todd Zeile on a fly ball to right fielder Sammy Sosa for the inning’s third out.

Shane Andrews drew a one-out walk in the top of the second. Joe Girardi doubled to drive home Andrews with the Cubs’ first run and a walk to Damon Buford ensued. Tapani and Eric Young hit consecutive force play grounders to third baseman Ventura for the final outs of the inning and the Mets were set down in order in the bottom half. Gutierrez hit a single to open the top of the third. Mark Grace flied out to center fielder Jay Payton and a home run by Sosa tied the game at 3-3. Hampton retired Glenallen Hill on a grounder to Ventura and got Andrews on an inning-ending fly ball to left fielder Rickey Henderson. Tapani then held the Mets to a single by Bell in a scoreless bottom half.

Hampton set down all three Chicago batters in the top of the fourth inning. Ventura doubled to lead off the bottom half. Zeile lined back to Tapani and a single by Payton drove home Ventura. Rey Ordonez hit a double to score Payton and came home on an ensuing single by Hampton. Henderson singled and Bell followed with a three-run homer for a 9-3 Mets lead. Alfonzo grounded out to Gutierrez and a double by Piazza followed. Tapani was replaced on the mound by Cubs’ reliever Ruben Quevedo, against whom Ventura reached on an error by third baseman Andrews that allowed Piazza to score the Mets’ tenth run of the game. Zeile hit a single to send Ventura to third base and Quevedo got Payton to hit a force play ground ball to second baseman Young for the third out of the inning. Hampton then hurled a scoreless top of the fifth.

Ordonez drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning. Hampton flied out to Sosa and a single by Henderson ensued. Bell singled to drive home Ordonez and a walk to Alfonzo loaded the bases. Piazza hit a double that brought home Henderson and Bell, stretching the Mets’ lead to 13-3. Chicago reliever Brian Williams got pinch-hitter Matt Franco to pop out to Gutierrez. Zeile followed with a single to score Alfonzo and pinch-runner Todd Pratt with the Mets’ fourteenth and fifteenth runs. Williams then struck out Payton to end the inning.

Hill reached on a two-base error by right fielder Benny Agbayani to begin the top of the sixth. Andrews doubled to drive home Hill with an unearned run and Girardi grounded out to shortstop Kurt Abbott. Andrews advanced to third base on a wild pitch and came home on Buford’s ground out to second baseman Melvin Mora. Hampton retired pinch-hitter Jose Nieves on an inning-ending grounder to third baseman Franco. Cubs’ reliever Felix Heredia then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Hampton hurled a scoreless top of the seventh. Agbayani and Mora got back-to-back singles against Chicago’s Mark Guthrie to begin the bottom half. Guthrie struck out the next three hitters to end the inning and Mets’ reliever Rich Rodriguez got Andrews to fly out to Payton to open the top of the eighth. Girardi singled and Buford hit a two-run homer to cut the Mets’ lead to 15-7. Rodriguez retired Jeff Huson and Young on consecutive ground balls to Mora to close out the inning. Cubs’ reliever Rick Aguilera then struck out the side in order in the bottom half.

Roosevelt Brown doubled to lead off the top of the ninth. Grace followed with a single that plated Brown with the Cubs’ eighth run and pinch-hitter Jeff Reed was struck out. Hill hit a force play grounder to Abbott. Rodriguez then retired Andrews on a fly ball to Agbayani to end the game. The Mets had completed a sweep of the three-game series with an offensive outburst.