September 30, 2000: Toca's Double Beats Expos

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Date: September 30, 2000
Mets starter: Glendon Rusch
Mets: 4
Expos: 2
Winning pitcher: Turk Wendell
Key player(s): Jorge Toca
Key play: Toca’s double in 8th

The Mets faced the Expos on a Saturday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the penultimate game of the regular season. Jorge Toca hit a three-run double in the eighth inning to give the Mets a 4-2 win over Montreal.

Glendon Rusch and the Expos’ Javier Vazquez each pitched a scoreless first inning. With one out in the top of the second, Jose Vidro homered for a 1-0 Montreal lead. Orlando Cabrera drew a walk and Mike Mordecai lined out to second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo. Rusch retired Michael Barrett on a fly ball to center fielder Jay Payton to end the inning. Vazquez then shut down the Mets in the bottom half.

After scoreless third and fourth innings, Mordecai doubled to lead off the top of the fifth. Barrett hit a single to drive home Mordecai and advanced to second base on Vazquez’s sacrifice bunt. Rusch got Milton Bradley and Terry Jones on consecutive infield ground balls to close out the inning and Payton hit a leadoff double in the bottom half. Mike Bordick flied out to right fielder Vladimir Guerrero and a single by pinch-hitter Matt Franco scored Payton to cut the Expos’ lead to 2-1. Darryl Hamilton was retired on a fly ball to center fielder Bradley. Vazquez then got Derek Bell to hit a force play grounder to third baseman Mordecai for the inning’s final out.

Mets’ reliever Pat Mahomes pitched a perfect top of the sixth inning. Joe McEwing singled to begin the bottom half. Mike Piazza reached on a fielder’s choice ground ball and Robin Ventura grounded back to Vazquez for a double play. Todd Zeile was retired on an inning-ending grounder to shortstop Cabrera and New York’s Rick White set down the side in order in the top of the seventh. Vazquez then retired the Mets 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.

Mets’ reliever Turk Wendell hurled a perfect top of the eighth. Bubba Trammell drew a walk to open the bottom half. Pinch-hitter Lenny Harris singled and a sacrifice bunt by McEwing advanced the runners to second and third base. Todd Pratt was walked intentionally to load the bases. Toca came to bat and delivered a double that plated Trammell, Harris and Pratt for a two-run Mets’ lead. Vazquez was replaced on the mound by Montreal reliever Scott Strickland, who recorded a strikeout of Jorge Velandia. Strickland then got Payton to pop out to first baseman Fernando Seguignol and end the inning.

Mets’ reliever Armando Benitez retired Seguignol on a grounder to second baseman McEwing to start the top of the ninth. Guerrero went down on strikes. Benitez then got Vidro to fly out to Payton and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a comeback victory.