April 25, 2000: Mets Rebound for Win Over Reds

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Date: April 25, 2000
Mets starter: Al Leiter
Mets: 6
Reds: 5
Winning pitcher: Turk Wendell
Key player(s): Edgardo Alfonzo, Robin Ventura, Derek Bell, Jon Nunnally
Key play: Mets’ home runs, Nunnally’s walk

The Mets faced the Reds on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. After letting a three-run lead get away, the Mets came back for a 6-5 win over Cincinnati.

Mets’ starter Al Leiter pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. The Reds’ Rob Bell retired the side on three straight infield ground balls in the bottom half and Leiter yielded just a single to Benito Santiago in the top of the second. Mike Piazza doubled to open the bottom of the inning. Robin Ventura hit a double to score Piazza for a 1-0 Mets lead. Todd Zeile drew a walk and Jay Payton flied out to right fielder Dante Bichette. Rob Bell then got Melvin Mora on a fly ball to left fielder Alex Ochoa and fanned Leiter for the inning’s third out.

Pokey Reese got a one-out double in the top of the third. Reese advanced to third base on a wild pitch and scored the tying run on Ochoa’s ground out to shortstop Mora. Ken Griffey, Jr. went down on strikes to end the inning and Rickey Henderson drew a walk to begin the bottom half. Derek Bell popped out to second baseman Reese and a homer by Edgardo Alfonzo put the Mets ahead by two runs. Piazza grounded out to third baseman Aaron Boone and a home run by Ventura increased the New York lead to 4-1. Rob Bell then retired Zeile on a foul pop-up to catcher Santiago to finish off the inning.

Leiter gave up just a single to Dmitri Young in the top of the fourth. Rob Bell yielded only a single to Leiter in the bottom half and Santiago singled to lead off the top of the fifth. Travis Dawkins grounded out to third baseman Ventura and a foul pop-up by pinch-hitter Chris Stynes was caught by catcher Piazza. Reese drew a walk and Leiter retired Ochoa on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Payton. Cincinnati reliever Manny Aybar then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Bichette drew a walk with one out in the top of the sixth. Young doubled and Boone was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Santiago hit a force play ground ball to Mora to drive home Bichette and advanced to third base on Dawkins’ double that scored Young. Pinch-hitter Mark Lewis singled to bring home Santiago and Dawkins for a 5-4 Reds lead. Reese hit a single and Leiter was replaced on the mound by Mets’ reliever Turk Wendell. Reese stole second and Wendell retired Ochoa on a grounder to first baseman Matt Franco to close out the inning. Cincinnati’s Scott Sullivan then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Wendell surrendered only a walk to Griffey in the top of the seventh. Leading off the bottom of the inning, Derek Bell homered against Sullivan to tie the game at 5-5. Alfonzo hit a single and Piazza doubled. Reds’ reliever Scott Williamson issued an intentional walk to Ventura that loaded the bases. Pinch-hitter Jon Nunnally walked to force home Alfonzo and put the Mets in front by a run. Williamson then fanned both Payton and Mora before retiring Matt Franco on a grounder to first baseman Sean Casey that ended the inning.

Mets’ reliever John Franco set down the side 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. Williamson pitched a scoreless bottom half and Casey drew a walk against New York’s Armando Benitez to begin the top of the ninth. Benitez fanned Reese and threw a called third strike past pinch-hitter Michael Tucker. Armando then got Griffey on a called third strike to bring the game to an end. The Mets had emerged with a victory to start the series.