May 27, 2000: Zeile's Slam Trumps Cards

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Date: May 27, 2000
Mets starter: Rick Reed
Mets: 12
Cardinals: 8
Winning pitcher: Dennis Cook
Key player(s): Todd Zeile, Robin Ventura, Mike Piazza
Key play: Ventura’s home run, Piazza’s home run, Zeile’s grand slam

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Saturday night in St. Louis. The teams played the second of three games in a weekend series. Todd Zeile hit a grand slam in the eighth inning to vault the Mets to a 12-8 win.

Derek Bell singled against Cards’ starter Andy Benes to lead off the top of the first inning. Bell advanced to second base on Joe McEwing’s sacrifice bunt and came around to score on a double by Edgardo Alfonzo. Mike Piazza drew a walk and Robin Ventura hit a three-run homer for a 4-0 Mets lead. Zeile followed with a homer for the fifth New York run of the inning. Benny Agbayani hit a single and Rey Ordonez grounded out to second baseman Fernando Vina. Benes then struck out Rick Reed to end the inning.

Vina drew a walk against Reed to begin the bottom of the first. Edgar Renteria lined out to right fielder Bell and a foul pop-up by Jim Edmonds was caught by third baseman Ventura. Mark McGwire singled and a balk advanced the runners to second and third base. Ray Lankford hit a double to drive home Vina and McGwire. Craig Paquette singled to score Lankford and reduce the Mets’ lead to 5-3. Reed then struck out J. D. Drew to finish off the inning.

The Mets failed to score after loading the bases in the top of the second. Reed pitched a scoreless bottom half and Benes yielded only a single to Agbayani in the top of the third. Edmonds drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the inning. McGwire fouled out to first baseman Zeile and a home run by Lankford tied the game at 5-5. Paquette grounded out to shortstop Ordonez and a single by Drew followed. Reed then walked Eli Marrero and struck out Benes to bring the inning to an end.

With two outs in the top of the fourth, Piazza homered to put the Mets back in front by a run. Ventura hit a double and Zeile was retired on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Edmonds. Vina walked against Mets’ reliever Rich Rodriguez to lead off the bottom half. Renteria singled and Edmonds drew a walk to load the bases. New York’s Pat Mahomes threw a wild pitch that scored Vina and retied the game. McGwire walked to reload the bases and Lankford hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Renteria for a 7-6 St. Louis lead. Mahomes then fanned Paquette and caught a line drive by Drew to close out the inning.

Benes held the Mets to a single by Rey Ordonez in the top of the fifth. Mahomes shut down the Redbirds in the bottom half and Cardinals’ reliever Mark Thompson hurled a scoreless top of the sixth. A walk to Renteria began the bottom of the inning. Renteria stole second base and Edmonds was called out on strikes. McGwire singled to score Renteria with the eighth St. Louis run of the game. Lankford drew a walk and Mahomes was replaced on the mound by Mets’ reliever Dennis Cook. Paquette then hit a grounder back to Cook for a double play to close out the inning.

Thompson pitched a scoreless top of the seventh. Cook gave up just a single to Drew in the bottom half and pinch-hitter Jon Nunnally walked against Cards’ reliever Heathcliff Slocumb to lead off the top of the eighth. Alfonzo reached on third baseman Paquette’s error and St. Louis’s Dave Veres issued a walk to Piazza that loaded the bases. Pinch-hitter Mark Johnson took a called third strike. Zeile came to bat and slugged a grand slam to put the Mets ahead, 10-8. Veres retired Agbayani and Ordonez on infield ground balls for the inning’s final outs. Mets’ reliever Turk Wendell then gave up only a single to Edmonds in the bottom half.

Redbirds’ reliever Jose Rodriguez retired Matt Franco on a grounder to Vina to open the top of the ninth. Bell reached on an error by Paquette and a walk to Nunnally followed. Alfonzo singled to load the bases and Piazza hit a single against the Cards’ Darren Holmes to score Bell. Jay Payton hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Nunnally with the Mets’ twelfth run. Holmes then struck out Zeile to finish off the inning.

Mets’ reliever John Franco threw a called third strike past Lankford to begin the bottom of the ninth. Paquette also went down on strikes. John then fanned Drew for the final out of the game. The Mets had a victory in a battle of hitters.