July 27, 2000: Mets Come Back for Win Over Expos

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Date: July 27, 2000
Mets starter: Grant Roberts
Mets: 9
Expos: 8
Winning pitcher: John Franco
Key player(s): Todd Zeile, Matt Franco, Benny Agbayani
Key play: Agbayani’s two doubles, Matt Franco’s two singles, Zeile’s three hits

The Mets faced the Expos in a doubleheader on a Thursday afternoon. In the opener of the twinbill at Shea Stadium, the Mets found themselves in an early five-run deficit. The team came back for a 9-8 win over Montreal.

Milton Bradley and Peter Bergeron drew back-to-back walks to open the top of the first inning. Andy Tracy singled to load the bases and Vladimir Guerrero lined out to third baseman Matt Franco. A double by Jose Vidro drove home Bradley, Bergeron and Tracy for a 3-0 Expos lead. Geoff Blum singled to score Vidro with the fourth Montreal run of the inning. Mets’ starter Grant Roberts (in his major league debut) then got Chris Widger to ground out to shortstop Melvin Mora and retired Mike Mordecai on a fly ball to right fielder Joe McEwing for the third out.

Edgardo Alfonzo drew a two-out walk in the bottom of the first. Todd Zeile hit a single and Matt Franco walked to load the bases. Benny Agbayani doubled to bring home Alfonzo and Zeile. Montreal starter Mike Thurman struck out Todd Pratt to end the inning and got an infield single to lead off the top of the second. Thurman advanced to third base on a double by Bradley and scored as Bergeron reached on an error by second baseman Alfonzo. Tracy hit a sacrifice fly that brought home Bradley from third and a double by Guerrero ensued. Vidro was walked intentionally to load the bases and Roberts was replaced on the mound by Mets’ reliever Pat Mahomes. Blum grounded out to first baseman Zeile to drive home Bergeron and extend the Expos’ lead to 7-2. Mahomes walked Widger and got Mordecai on an inning-ending force play grounder to Mora. Thurman the set down the Mets in order in the bottom half.

Following a scoreless third inning, Tracy drew a leadoff walk in the top of the fourth. Guerrero was hit by a pitch and Vidro flied out to right fielder Lenny Harris. After a wild pitch, Mahomes fanned Blum and retired Widger on a fly ball to Harris that ended the inning. To begin the bottom half, Matt Franco doubled and scored on an ensuing double by Agbayani. Benny moved to third base on a passed ball and came home on a single by Pratt. Harris hit a double and Mahomes drew a walk to load the bases. Jay Payton hit a grounder back to Montreal reliever Felipe Lira, who threw to catcher Widger for an out at home on Pratt. Widger threw to first baseman Tracy to complete a double play. Lira then retired McEwing on a ground ball to shortstop Blum for the inning’s final out.

Mahomes and Lira each pitched a perfect fifth inning. Pat set down the Expos in order once again in the top of the sixth and Agbayani singled to lead off the bottom half. Pratt hit a single and Harris’s sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third base. As pinch-hitter Mark Johnson drew a walk, Agbayani came home on a wild pitch. Payton singled to score Pratt and reduce the Montreal lead to 7-6. Lira was replaced on the mound by Expos’ reliever Anthony Telford, who got McEwing to fly out to right fielder Guerrero. Telford followed up with a strikeout of Alfonzo to finish off the inning. Mets’ reliever Turk Wendell then hurled a scoreless top of the seventh.

Zeile hit a triple to begin the bottom of the seventh inning. Matt Franco singled to bring home Zeile with the tying run and Pratt grounded to Blum for a double play. Expos’ reliever Scott Forster retired Harris on a ground ball to second baseman Vidro that closed out the inning and pinch-hitter Fernando Seguignol drew a walk to lead off the top of the eighth. Pinch-runner Tomas de la Rosa went to second base on Bradley’s sacrifice bunt. Bergeron hit a single against Mets’ reliever John Franco that plated de la Rosa for an 8-7 Montreal lead. On his own hit, Bergeron advanced to second via an error by center fielder Payton. Tracy grounded out to Alfonzo and an intentional walk to Guerrero ensued. John Franco then struck out Vidro to end the inning.

Expos’ reliever Scott Strickland retired pinch-hitter Mike Kinkade on a grounder to shortstop de la Rosa to open the bottom of the eighth. Payton went down on strikes and McEwing hit a double. Alfonzo drew a walk and Zeile singled to score McEwing, retying the game. Matt Franco followed with a single against Montreal’s Steve Kline to drive home Alfonzo for a one-run Mets lead. Kline then got Agbayani to hit a force play grounder to third baseman Michael Barrett for the inning’s final out.

Mets’ reliever Armando Benitez retired Blum on a fly ball to left fielder Agbayani to start the top of the ninth. Widger went down on strikes. Benitez then got Mordecai on a foul pop-up to catcher Pratt to bring the game to an end. The Mets had begun the doubleheader with a come-from-behind victory.