April 28, 2001: Mets Come Back to Win in 11

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Date: April 28, 2001
Mets starter: Rick Reed
Mets: 6
Cardinals: 5
Winning pitcher: Armando Benitez
Key player(s): Joe McEwing, Edgardo Alfonzo, Benny Agbayani
Key play: McEwing’s home run, Alfonzo’s double, Agbayani’s single

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Saturday night in St. Louis. The teams used a combined twelve pitchers in the game. The Mets made a comeback to tie in the ninth inning and went on to win, 6-5, in the 11th.

Cardinals’ starter Dustin Hermanson retired the first two batters in the top of the first inning. Mike Piazza followed with a home run for a 1-0 Mets lead. Todd Zeile hit a fly ball to center fielder Jim Edmonds for the third out. Mets’ starter Rick Reed then pitched a perfect bottom of the inning.

Hermanson and Reed each pitched scoreless ball from the second inning to the fifth. The Mets got singles from Joe McEwing and Desi Relaford and a walk to Piazza, but no runs against Hermanson. Reed yielded only a fourth-inning single to Edmonds and back-to-back singles to J. D. Drew and Mike Matheny in the fifth. In the top of the sixth, Hermanson pitched his third consecutive perfect inning. The Redbirds then broke through against Reed in the bottom half when Fernando Vina singled and Edmonds homered for a 2-1 St. Louis lead.

Jay Payton and McEwing got consecutive singles with one out in the top of the seventh inning. On Rey Ordonez’s ground ball to first baseman Albert Pujols, Payton was caught and tagged out by catcher Matheny. Pinch-hitter Lenny Harris singled to score McEwing and tie the game. Hermanson retired Timo Perez on a foul pop-up to third baseman Placido Polanco. The Cards then reclaimed the lead on a Drew’s solo homer off Turk Wendell in the bottom of the inning.

St. Louis reliever Gene Stechschulte struck out the side in a scoreless top of the eighth. Pujols homered off John Franco with one out in the bottom half. A two-out homer by Edgar Renteria stretched the Cardinals’ lead to 5-2. Franco was replaced on the mound by Tom Martin, who issued a walk to Drew. With Matheny at bat, Drew was caught by Martin’s pickoff and thrown out at second base.

Payton singled to lead off the top of the ninth inning. McEwing hit a home run to cut the Redbirds’ lead to 5-4. Stechschulte was replaced by Dave Veres, who gave up a double to Ordonez. Pinch-hitter Edgardo Alfonzo hit an ensuing double off reliever Steve Kline to plate Ordonez with the tying run. Perez’s sacrifice bunt advanced Alfonzo to third base and Relaford grounded out to shortstop Renteria. Kline issued an intentional walk to Piazza and struck out Zeile to end the inning. Mets’ reliever Rick White then set down the Cardinals 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

In the top of the 10th, Payton got his third single with one out. McEwing hit into a force play and Ordonez singled. Pinch-hitter Todd Pratt walked to load the bases for the Mets. Kline got Perez on a ground ball to first baseman Larry Sutton for the third out. Mets’ reliever Armando Benitez then shut down St. Louis in the bottom half, closing the inning with a double play grounder by Pujols.

Against the Cards’ Mike James, Relaford singled and stole second base to open the top of the 11th inning. Piazza hit a ground out to third baseman Pujols on which Relaford advanced to third. Zeile was hit by a pitch and Benny Agbayani (hitless in five at bats) singled to bring home Relaford, giving the Mets a one-run lead. Payton grounded out to Pujols to move the runners to second and third. James then retired McEwing on a grounder to Renteria for the third out.

Benitez retired Kerry Robinson on a fly ball to center fielder Payton to begin the bottom of the 11th. He followed up by getting Renteria to fly out to Agbayani in left. Armando walked Drew and got pinch-hitter Bobby Bonilla on a grounder to first baseman Zeile to end the game. The Mets had an amazing comeback win in extra innings.

Notes

  • In the bottom of the seventh, Wendell was ejected by home plate umpire Ron Kulpa for throwing behind Matheny after Drew’s home run. Reliever Dennis Cook completed the inning for the Mets.
  • Mets’ manager Bobby Valentine was ejected by Kulpa in the top of the 11th. Valentine was upset that James was not ejected after hitting Zeile.