April 9, 2001: Piazza Leads Mets to Home-Opening Win
|Date: April 9, 2001|
|Mets starter: Kevin Appier|
|Winning pitcher: Kevin Appier|
|Key player(s): Mike Piazza, Rey Ordonez, Edgardo Alfonzo|
|Key play: Alfonzo’s RBI single, Piazza’s two home runs|
The Mets faced the Braves on a Monday afternoon at Shea Stadium. A crowd of 53,640 was on hand for the team’s first home game of the season. Mike Piazza hit a pair of home runs in the Mets’ 9-4 win over Atlanta.
Kevin Appier and the Braves’ Kevin Millwood each pitched a scoreless first inning. With one out in the top of the second, B. J. Surhoff homered for a 1-0 Atlanta lead. Andruw Jones followed with a single and Javy Lopez grounded to third baseman Robin Ventura for an inning-ending double play. Todd Zeile drew a leadoff walk in the bottom half. Jay Payton flied out to right fielder Brian Jordan and a pop-up by Tsuyoshi Shinjo was caught by second baseman Quilvio Veras. Zeile stole second base and scored the tying run on a single by Rey Ordonez. Millwood then got Appier to ground out to third baseman Chipper Jones and finish off the inning.
Appier and Millwood each hurled scoreless third and fourth innings. Kevin shut down the Braves again in the top of the fifth and Ordonez doubled to lead off the bottom half. Appier took a called third strike and Darryl Hamilton hit a single to advance Ordonez to third base. Edgardo Alfonzo singled to bring home Ordonez and put the Mets ahead by a run. An ensuing single by Ventura scored Hamilton. Piazza followed with a three-run homer to increase the Mets’ lead to 6-1. Millwood struck out Zeile and got Payton on an inning-ending ground ball to first baseman Rico Brogna. Appier then pitched a scoreless top of the sixth.
Shinjo hit a home run against Atlanta reliever Jason Marquis to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning. Marquis retired Ordonez on a grounder back to the mound and struck out Appier. Hamilton drew a walk and Alfonzo went down on strikes for the third out of the inning. Andruw Jones singled to begin the top of the seventh. Lopez popped out to first baseman Zeile and an ensuing homer by Brogna reduced the Mets’ lead to 7-3. Pinch-hitter Dave Martinez lined out to right fielder Shinjo. Appier then fanned Rafael Furcal to close out the inning.
Braves’ reliever Joe Slusarski issued a walk to Ventura to open the bottom of the seventh. Piazza hit a home run for the Mets’ eighth and ninth runs of the game. Zeile went down on strikes and Payton flied out to Jordan. Shinjo grounded out to shortstop Furcal to end the inning and the Mets’ John Franco pitched a scoreless top of the eighth. Slusarski then set down the side in order in the bottom half.
Mets’ reliever Armando Benitez struck out Andruw Jones to start the top of the ninth inning. Lopez hit a home run and Brogna was called out on strikes. Pinch-hitter Keith Lockhart drew a walk. Benitez then threw a called third strike past Furcal to end the game. The Mets had a victory in their home opener.