October 1, 1999: Mets Beat Pirates in 11 Innings

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Date: October 1, 1999
Mets starter: Kenny Rogers
Mets: 3
Pirates: 2
Winning pitcher: Pat Mahomes
Key player(s): Robin Ventura, Mike Piazza
Key play: Ventura’s homer, Piazza’s homer, Ventura’s single in 11th

The Mets and Pirates faced each other on a Friday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a season-closing three-game series. The Mets scored a run in the 11th inning for a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh.

Kenny Rogers and Pirates’ starter Jason Schmidt each pitched three scoreless innings to begin the game. Pat Meares singled for the Bucs’ first hit to lead off the top of the fourth. Rogers retired the next three Pittsburgh batters and Mike Piazza grounded out to third baseman Aramis Ramirez to open the bottom of the inning. Robin Ventura followed with a home run for a 1-0 Mets lead. Darryl Hamilton grounded out to second baseman Warren Morris and a single by Roger Cedeno ensued. Cedeno stole second base and Schmidt got Rey Ordonez on a grounder to shortstop Meares for the third out of the inning. Rogers shut down the Pirates despite singles by Adrian Brown and Schmidt in the top of the fifth. Schmidt then set down the Mets in order in the bottom half.

Rogers pitched a scoreless top of the sixth inning. With one out in the bottom half, Piazza homered for the Mets’ second run. Ventura drew a walk and Hamilton singled to center field. Cedeno hit a force play grounder to Morris and a walk to Ordonez loaded the bases. Schmidt got Rogers to hit a grounder to Meares for a force play that ended the inning. Rogers set down the Bucs 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh. Schmidt then held the Mets to a single by John Olerud in a scoreless bottom half.

Pinch-hitter John Wehner drew a walk to begin the top of the eighth inning. Rogers threw a called third strike past Al Martin and yielded a single to Meares. Ramirez hit a single to drive home Wehner for the first Pittsburgh run. Mets’ reliever Turk Wendell struck out Kevin Young and issued a walk to Chad Hermansen that loaded the bases. Morris got an infield single against John Franco to score Meares and tie the game at 2-2. Franco then got Brown on a called third strike to close out the inning.

Pirates’ reliever Jason Christiansen struck out Ventura to start the bottom of the eighth. Hamilton singled and Bucs’ reliever Marc Wilkins threw a called third strike past pinch-hitter Matt Franco. Ordonez drew a walk and pinch-hitter Bobby Bonilla reached on an error by Meares to load the bases. Wilkins got Melvin Mora to hit a ground ball to Meares for an inning-ending force play. Mets’ reliever Armando Benitez fanned all three Pittsburgh batters in the top of the ninth. For the Pirates, Scott Sauerbeck hurled a scoreless bottom half to send the game onward.

Meares singled against the Mets’ Pat Mahomes to open the top of the 10th inning. A sacrifice bunt by Ramirez moved Meares to second base and Young was given an intentional walk. Mahomes struck out Hermansen and retired Morris on an inning-ending line drive to left fielder Jay Payton. Sauerbeck set down the Mets on three infield grounders in the bottom half. Mahomes then retired the Bucs 1-2-3 in the top of the 11th.

Pinch-hitter Shawon Dunston began the bottom of the 11th inning with a single to center field. Dunston advanced to second base on Mora’s sacrifice bunt and Sauerbeck issued an intentional walk to Edgardo Alfonzo. Olerud grounded out to first baseman Young and an intentional walk to Piazza loaded the bases. Ventura then delivered a single that brought home Dunston with the winning run. The Mets had an extra-inning victory that put them only one game behind in the race for the National League Wild Card.