April 3, 2000: Mets Win Shea Opener
|Date: April 3, 2000|
|Mets starter: Al Leiter|
|Winning pitcher: Al Leiter|
|Key player(s): Derek Bell|
|Key play: Bell's home run in 8th|
After beginning the official Major League Baseball season with two games in Japan, the Mets returned to American soil. A crowd of 52,308 was on hand for the first game at Shea Stadium in the new millenium. The Mets got the home season off to a good start with a 2-1 win over the Padres.
Al Leiter and San Diego's Sterling Hitchcock started the game with a scoreless first inning. In the top of the second, Phil Nevin homered to give the Padres a 1-0 lead. Hitchcock shut down the Mets in the bottom half and the score was unchanged through the middle of the seventh.
Edgardo Alfonzo drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning for the Mets. Mike Piazza followed with a single on which Alfonzo went to third base. Edgardo then came home on Todd Zeile's sacrifice fly to tie the game. Hitchcock was later relieved by Donne Wall, who recorded two strikeouts to end the inning.
Leiter shut down San Diego for the sixth straight inning with a perfect top of the eighth. Wall retired the first two batters in the bottom half. Derek Bell then hit a home run to put the Mets ahead. It was Bell's first homer as a member of the team.
In the ninth, reliever Armando Benitez retired all three Padre hitters to come to bat. Benitez got Bret Boone on a ground ball to shortstop Rey Ordonez for the final out. The Mets had a victory in their first true home game of the 2000's.