September 29, 2000: Early Offense Puts Away Expos

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Date: September 29, 2000
Mets starter: Mike Hampton
Mets: 11
Expos: 2
Winning pitcher: Mike Hampton
Key player(s): Jay Payton, Robin Ventura, Mike Hampton
Key play: Payton’s grand slam, Ventura’s home run

The Mets faced the Expos on a Friday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a season-closing three-game series. The Mets scored ten runs in the first two innings and rolled to an 11-2 win over Montreal.

Mets’ starter Mike Hampton pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. Timo Perez singled against the Expos’ Mike Thurman to lead off the bottom half. Darryl Hamilton and Edgardo Alfonzo drew walks to load the bases and Mike Piazza walked to force home Perez. Robin Ventura singled to score Hamilton and a strikeout of Todd Zeile followed. Jay Payton slugged a grand slam for a 6-0 Mets lead. Thurman then retired both Mike Bordick and Hampton on fly balls to left fielder Terry Jones for the inning’s final outs.

Hampton shut down the Expos in the top of the second. Perez and Hamilton got back-to-back singles against Thurman to begin the bottom half. Alfonzo singled to bring home Perez. With Montreal reliever Julio Santana on the mound, a passed ball by catcher Michael Barrett advanced Hamilton to third base and Alfonzo to second. Piazza hit a single that scored Hamilton. On the play, Alfonzo was out at home via a throw by center fielder Peter Bergeron to Barrett. Ventura hit a two-run homer to extend the Mets’ lead to 10-0. Zeile singled and Payton went down on strikes. Santana then got Bordick to fly out to Jones and end the inning.

Hampton and Santana each pitched scoreless ball from the third inning to the fifth. Bergeron singled against Mets’ reliever Dennis Cook to open the top of the sixth. Jones and Fernando Seguignol were retired on fly balls to center fielder Payton and New York’s John Franco got Talmadge Nunnari on an inning-ending ground ball to second baseman Kurt Abbott. Santana then set down the Mets in order in the bottom half.

Jose Vidro doubled against John Franco to lead off the top of the seventh. Vidro moved to third base after Orlando Cabrera’s fly out to Payton. Mets’ reliever Grant Roberts struck out Mike Mordecai. Barrett reached on an error by third baseman Jorge Velandia that allowed Vidro to score the Expos’ first run of the game. Pinch-hitter Tomas de la Rosa hit a single. Roberts then got Bergeron on a force play grounder to shortstop Joe McEwing that closed out the inning.

McEwing got a one-out single against Montreal reliever Guillermo Mota in the bottom of the seventh. Matt Franco drew a walk and Payton hit a force play ground ball to third baseman Mordecai. Second baseman Vidro made an error on the play that brought home McEwing with the Mets’ eleventh run. Mota struck out Abbott to end the inning and Jones tripled against New York’s Rich Rodriguez to lead off the top of the eighth. Seguignol grounded out to McEwing to drive home Jones. Rodriguez got Nunnari to ground out to Abbott and retired Vidro on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Perez (who had shifted from left to replace Payton.) Expos’ reliever Scott Forster then set down the side in order in the bottom half.

Mets’ reliever Eric Cammack struck out Yohanny Valera to start the top of the ninth. Mordecai popped out to Velandia and a walk to Trace Coquillette ensued. Cammack then fanned de la Rosa to bring the game to an end. The Mets had an easy victory.