April 30, 2001: Five-Run 6th Puts Away Astros

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Date: April 30, 2001
Mets starter: Steve Trachsel
Mets: 8
Astros: 2
Winning pitcher: Steve Trachsel
Key player(s): Steve Trachsel, Timo Perez, Edgardo Alfonzo, Mike Piazza
Key play: Perez’s and Alfonzo’s RBI singles, Piazza’s home run

The Mets faced the Astros on a Monday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. The Mets scored five runs in the sixth inning of an 8-2 win over Houston.

Mets’ starter Steve Trachsel retired the side in order in the top of the first. The Astros’ Scott Elarton hurled a scoreless bottom half and Lance Berkman hit a home run to lead off the top of the second. Moises Alou flied out to center fielder Jay Payton and a pop-up by Chris Truby was caught by third baseman Robin Ventura. Jose Vizcaino singled and stole second base. Trachsel struck out Glen Barker to end the inning. Elarton then shut down the Mets in the bottom half.

Trachsel yielded only a single to Craig Biggio in the top of the third. Mike Piazza singled with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Ventura drew a walk and Todd Zeile hit a single to score Piazza, tying the game at 1-1. Payton hit a force play ground ball to third baseman Truby for the inning’s final out and Trachsel pitched a scoreless top of the fourth. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Benny Agbayani drew a walk and Timo Perez singled. Elarton then retired Edgardo Alfonzo on a line drive to right fielder Alou that closed out the inning.

Trachsel gave up just a double to Biggio in the top of the fifth. Elarton retired the side 1-2-3 in the bottom half and Trachsel held the Astros to a double by Alou in the top of the sixth. Payton doubled to begin the bottom of the inning. Rey Ordonez grounded out to Elarton and a pop-up by pinch-hitter Lenny Harris was caught by shortstop Vizcaino. Agbayani drew a walk and Perez singled to drive home Payton. Alfonzo hit a single to score Agbayani for a 3-1 Mets lead. Against Houston reliever Kent Bottenfield, Piazza connected for a home run that lengthened the New York lead to 6-1. Ventura walked and Bottenfield retired Zeile on a fly ball to center fielder Barker to finish off the inning.

Mets’ reliever Rick White pitched a perfect top of the seventh. Payton homered to begin the bottom half. Bottenfield set down the next three Mets batters to end the inning and Jeff Bagwell got a one-out double in the top of the eighth. Berkman drew a walk and Alou singled to drive home Bagwell, cutting the Mets’ lead to 7-2. White retired then next two hitters on outfield fly balls to close out the inning and Perez drew a walk against the Astros’ Jay Powell to open the bottom half. Alfonzo singled and Piazza walked to load the bases. Ventura went down on strikes and Zeile hit a force play grounder to second baseman Biggio that plated Perez with the Mets’ eighth run of the game. Powell then got Payton on a force play ground ball to shortstop Julio Lugo for the inning’s third out.

Mets’ reliever Turk Wendell struck out pinch-hitter Orlando Merced to start the top of the ninth. Lugo was retired on a grounder to shortstop Ordonez. Wendell then got Biggio to fly out to right fielder Perez and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a solid victory to begin the series.