May 1, 2001: Ventura's Slam Lifts Mets Over Astros

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Date: May 1, 2001
Mets starter: Dicky Gonzalez
Mets: 7
Astros: 5
Winning pitcher: Tom Martin
Key player(s): Robin Ventura, Mike Piazza, Lenny Harris
Key play: Piazza’s home run, Harris’s triple, Ventura’s grand slam

The Mets faced the Astros on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams began May with the second game of a three-game series. The Mets came from behind for a 7-5 win over Houston.

Making his major league debut, Mets’ starter Dicky Gonzalez pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. Astros’ starter Octavio Dotel shut down the Mets in the bottom half. Following a scoreless second, Gonzalez limited Houston to singles by Dotel and Craig Biggio in the top of the third. Edgardo Alfonzo doubled with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Mike Piazza hit a home run for a 2-0 Mets lead. Dotel then struck out Robin Ventura for the third out.

The Astros failed to score after loading the bases against Gonzalez in the top of the fourth inning. Dotel hurled a scoreless bottom half and Julio Lugo drew a one-out walk in the top of the fifth. Lugo stole second base and came around to score on a single by Biggio. Jeff Bagwell followed with a single and Mets’ reliever Tom Martin walked Lance Berkman to load the bases. Moises Alou singled to drive home Biggio and Bagwell, giving Houston a 3-2 lead. Berkman stole third and Daryle Ward flied out to left fielder Benny Agbayani. Martin fanned Chris Truby to close out the inning. Dotel then retired the Mets in order in the bottom half.

Brad Ausmus homered to lead off the top of the sixth inning. Martin set down the next three Astros hitters and Jay Payton doubled off Houston’s Nelson Cruz with two outs in the bottom half. Cruz committed a balk to advance Payton to third base. Rey Ordonez flied out to left fielder Ward to end the inning. Bagwell walked to open the top of the seventh. Martin then retired the next three batters.

Pinch-hitter Lenny Harris hit a leadoff triple in the bottom of the seventh inning. Agbayani drew a walk and Timo Perez doubled to score Harris. Cruz struck out Alfonzo and issued an intentional walk to Piazza that loaded the bases. Ventura hit a grand slam off Houston reliever Jay Powell to put the Mets ahead, 7-4. Todd Zeile hit a fly ball to right fielder Alou for the second out. Payton drew a walk and moved to second on Ordonez’s single. Astros’ reliever Wayne Franklin then fanned pinch-hitter Tsuyoshi Shinjo to bring the inning to an end.

Mets’ reliever John Franco pitched a scoreless top of the eighth. Houston’s Michael Jackson shut down the Mets in the bottom of the inning. With one out in the top of the ninth, Bagwell hit a solo home run off Mets’ reliever Armando Benitez. Berkman followed with a double and Alou grounded out to second baseman Alfonzo. Benitez then struck out Ward to end the game. The Mets had a victory to start the month of May.

Notes

  • The win for Martin was his only one as a Met.
  • Ventura's grand slam was his fifth as a Met, tying John Milner's team record.