June 24, 2000: Mets Defeat Pirates in Slugfest

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Date: June 24, 2000
Mets starter: Rick Reed
Mets: 10
Pirates: 8
Winning pitcher: John Franco
Key player(s): Robin Ventura, Edgardo Alfonzo, Todd Zeile
Key play: Ventura’s home runs, Alfonzo’s double in 8th, Zeile’s double in 8th

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Saturday night at Shea Stadium. The teams combined for 27 hits in a high-scoring game. The Mets scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to pull out a 10-8 victory over Pittsburgh.

In the top of the first, Jason Kendall singled with one out against Mets’ starter Rick Reed. An ensuing home run by John Vander Wal gave the Pirates a 2-0 lead. Brian Giles and Kevin Young got back-to-back singles and Reed got Bruce Aven to hit into a double play. Bucs’ starter Jose Silva then pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning.

Luis Sojo led off the top of the second with a double to left field. Sojo advanced to third base on Abraham Nunez’s ground out to first baseman Todd Zeile. Silva hit a single to score Sojo with the third Pittsburgh run. Reed surrendered two more singles before closing the inning with no further scoring. The Mets then got a run on Robin Ventura’s homer leading off the bottom half.

Young hit a home run to begin the top of the third. Reed retired the next three Pirate batters and Melvin Mora got a one-out bunt single in the bottom of the inning. Derek Bell doubled to bring home Mora from first base. An ensuing double by Edgardo Alfonzo plated Bell to cut the Bucs’ lead to 4-3. Silva retired Mike Piazza on a fly ball to left fielder Aven and struck out Ventura for the third out. Pat Mahomes pitched a perfect top of the fourth. Silva then shut down the Mets despite a single by Jay Payton in the bottom of the inning.

Giles drew a one-out walk in the top of the fifth inning. Young singled and the runners advanced to second and third on a double steal. Aven hit a double to score Giles and Young and extend the Pittsburgh lead to 6-3. With Sojo at bat, Aven was thrown out at third on a steal attempt by catcher Piazza. Mahomes completed the inning with no further scoring. The Mets were then shut down by Silva in the bottom half.

Mahomes held the Pirates to one hit in pitching a scoreless top of the sixth. Facing reliever Chris Peters in the bottom of the inning, Ventura led off with his second home run of the game. Zeile drew a walk and Payton singled to left field. Bucs’ reliever Marc Wilkins retired the next three batters to end the inning. Giles homered off Mets’ reliever Dennis Cook to start the top of the seventh. Aven hit a one-out double and scored on a two-out single by Nunez for an 8-4 Pirates lead. Cook then fanned Wilkins for the third out of the inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, Bell got a leadoff single against Wilkins. Pittsburgh reliever Rich Loiselle issued a walk to Alfonzo. Piazza followed with a double that scored Bell and Alfonzo. Ventura and Zeile flied out and Payton’s grounder was mishandled by shortstop Nunez. Piazza scored from third on the error to cut the Bucs’ lead to 8-7. Payton moved to second on second baseman Warren Morris’s error and Benny Agbayani drew a walk. Loiselle then struck out pinch-hitter Matt Franco to end the inning.

Mets’ reliever John Franco set down the Pirates 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. Bell drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the inning. Alfonzo hit his second double to bring home Bell and tie the game. Loiselle struck out Piazza and gave Ventura an intentional walk. Zeile followed with a double to right field that scored Alfonzo and Ventura to put the Mets ahead by two runs. Payton then hit a ground ball to third baseman Sojo for the third out.

Franco retired Giles on a grounder to second baseman Alfonzo to start the top of the ninth inning. Reliever Armando Benitez got Young to fly out to left fielder Joe McEwing. Benitez retired Aven on a fly ball to McEwing to end the game. The Mets had a come-from-behind win.