May 16, 2004: Piazza and Phillips Stun Astros

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Date: May 16, 2004
Mets starter: Matt Ginter
Mets: 3
Astros: 2
Winning pitcher: Dan Wheeler
Key player(s): Mike Piazza, Jason Phillips
Key play: Piazza’s and Phillips’ home runs

The Mets faced the Astros on a Sunday afternoon in Houston. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. Mike Piazza and Jason Phillips connected for late home runs to give the Mets a 3-2 win in 13 innings.

Astros’ starter Roger Clemens retired the side on three straight outfield fly balls in the top of the first. Craig Biggio singled against the Mets’ Matt Ginter to lead off the bottom half. A sacrifice bunt by Adam Everett advanced Biggio to second base. Jeff Bagwell hit a single to drive home Biggio for a 1-0 Houston lead. Jeff Kent went down on strikes and Lance Berkman drew a walk. Ginter then got Morgan Ensberg to fly out to right fielder Eric Valent and end the inning.

Clemens and Ginter each pitched scoreless ball from the second inning to the fifth. Clemens set down the Mets on three consecutive infield grounders in the top of the sixth and Kent singled against Ginter to open the bottom half. Berkman was struck out and Ensberg reached on an error by third baseman Todd Zeile. Jason Lane flied out to left fielder Cliff Floyd and a single by Brad Ausmus loaded the bases. Clemens singled to score Kent and increase the Astros’ lead to 2-0. Mets’ reliever Ricky Bottalico then struck out Biggio to finish off the inning.

Clemens yielded only a single to Zeile in the top of the seventh. Bottalico hurled a perfect bottom half and Houston reliever Brad Lidge retired the side in order in the top of the eighth. Berkman singled against the Mets’ Braden Looper to begin the bottom of the inning. Ensberg and Lane followed with singles that loaded the bases and Ausmus flied out to Valent. Pinch-hitter Mike Lamb went down on strikes. Looper then got Biggio on a fly ball to Valent for the inning’s final out.

Valent doubled against Astros’ reliever Octavio Dotel to lead off the top of the ninth. Kazuo Matsui and Floyd both went down on strikes and Piazza came up to bat with the Mets only an out away from defeat. Mike connected for a two-run homer to tie the game. Zeile flied out to right fielder Lane to end the inning and Looper pitched a perfect bottom half to send the game onward. Dotel struck out the side in order in the top of the 10th. Mets’ reliever Mike Stanton then hurled a scoreless bottom of the inning.

Houston’s Dan Miceli pitched a scoreless top of the 11th. Richard Hidalgo drew a walk to begin the bottom half. Biggio’s sacrifice bunt moved Hidalgo to second base and Everett fouled out to first baseman Piazza. Bagwell was walked intentionally and Kent drew a walk to load the bases. Stanton then got Berkman on a ground ball to Zeile for the third out of the inning.

Miceli gave up just a single to pinch-hitter Karim Garcia in the top of the 12th. Mets’ reliever Dan Wheeler yielded only a pinch-hit single to Jose Vizcaino in the bottom half. With one out in the top of the 13th, Phillips came to bat against the Astros’ Brandon Backe and homered to put the Mets ahead by a run. Backe then threw a called third strike past Valent and retired Matsui on a grounder to first baseman Bagwell for the inning’s final out.

Wheeler got Biggio on a called third strike to open the bottom of the 13th. Everett fouled out to third baseman Ty Wigginton and a single by Bagwell ensued. Wheeler then threw a called third strike past Kent to end the game. The Mets had a stunning come-from-behind victory in extra innings.