September 3, 2001: Mets Win 3,000th Game
|Date: September 3, 2001|
|Mets starter: Bruce Chen|
|Winning pitcher: C. J. Nitkowski|
|Key player(s): Mike Piazza, Todd Zeile|
|Key play: Mets' 5 runs in 9th|
The Mets and Phillies faced each other on Labor Day afternoon at Veterans Stadium. A five-run ninth inning propeled the Mets to a 10-7 victory. The win was No. 3,000 for the Mets in their history.
The Mets got off to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Mike Piazza homered with two out off Philadelphia starter Randy Wolf. For New York, starting pitcher Bruce Chen followed up with perfect first and second innings.
In the bottom of the third, Kevin Jordan and Johnny Estrada hit back-to-back doubles to tie the game for the Phils. After moving to third base on Wolf's sacrifice bunt, Estrada scored on shortstop Rey Ordonez's error of Jimmy Rollins' ground ball. Rollins later came home on a double by Scott Rolen for a 3-1 Phillies lead.
Piazza led off the top of the fourth inning with a single. Tsuyoshi Shinjo and Todd Zeile also singled to load the bases for the Mets. With one out, Piazza came home on a sacrifice fly by Joe McEwing. Shinjo scored on Ordonez's single to tie the game. The Phils then reclaimed the lead on Estrada's homer off Chen in the bottom of the inning.
In the fifth, Zeile singled to score Edgardo Alfonzo and bring the Mets even at 4-4. Chen shut down the Phillies in the bottom half and did so again in the sixth. The Mets then took a 5-4 lead when Shinjo came home on Jordan's error in the top of the seventh inning.
Chen walked pinch-hitter Felipe Crespo with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Rollins followed with a triple on which Crespo scored to tie the game. Against reliever Jerrod Riggan, Rolen hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Rollins and give the Phillies a 6-5 lead. Later in the inning, Pat Burrell singled off Riggan to score Bobby Abreu for another Philadelphia run. After the Mets failed to score in the top of the eighth, reliever C. J. Nitkowski shut down the Phillies in the bottom half.
Trailing 7-5, the Mets came to bat in the top of the ninth. Alfonzo started the inning with a single off Phils' reliever Jose Mesa. Piazza followed with a double and a ground out by Shinjo brought home Alfonzo. Zeile's third single of the game scored pinch-runner Timo Perez with the tying run. After a single by Jay Payton, Mesa was replaced by Jose Santiago.
While facing pinch-hitter Robin Ventura, Santiago argued with home plate umpire Tony Randazzo over a pitch call. He failed to catch a return throw from catcher Todd Pratt and Zeile took off for third. Rollins' throw got past Rolen at the base, allowing Zeile to score and put the Mets ahead, 8-7. Ventura then singled Payton to third and Desi Relaford's sacrifice fly brought home Jay. Later in the inning, Lenny Harris got a pinch-hit single to plate Ventura with the Mets' fifth run of the inning.
Armando Benitez pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth to end the game. The Mets had a come-from-behind triumph. It was the 3,000th regular season victory in the history of the team.