Remembering Mets History (2000): NLCS Game #5: Mike Hampton's Three Hit Shutout Clinches NL Pennant

Monday, October 16th 2000- NLCS Game #5: It was an exciting night at Shea Stadium, as centerfieldmaz had to be there with 55,695 Mets fans in attendance. There was no doubt, tonight was the night the Mets would clinch the pennant & advance to the World Series. 

It was a mad house that night as the upper deck shook up & down. The rafters swayed & it was loud. Even on the Fox TV broadcast, former long time Mets announcer; Tim McCarver stated it was the loudest he ever heard it in Shea Stadium.

Bobby Valentine gave the ball to Mike Hampton (15-10 / 3.14 ERA / 151 Ks) & it was his night. Tony LaRussa began the game with Pat Hentgen & would see six Cardinal pitchers come to the mound this evening.

Starting Lineups

The Mets began in the 1st inning; Timo Perez singled & stole second. The next hitter; Eduardo Alfonzo immediately singled him home to make it 1-0.

Mike Piazza then walked, Robin Ventura singled as Alfomzo scored with the second run. Todd Ziele grounded out o the second base side & it brought in Piazza. It was 3-0 Mets and they never looked back. 

In the home 4th, Hentgen was still pitching for St. Louis when Timo Perez singled again. Piazza doubled with a short liner to left field. Timo Perez was unable to score. Robin Ventura then walked to load the bases. 

Todd Ziele then hit a long double and cleared the bases, the Mets were up six runs to nothing. Shea Stadium was rocking & shaking very loudly. This time Timo Perez did score & set an NLCS record with eight runs scored.

After a festive seventh inning stretch, Tony Larussa brought in Rick Ankiel to pitch. Ankiel had had control problems in the series & was very wild. He had even thrown a couple of pitches that sailed past the catchers head & hit the back stop. It was a wild night all around, when his wildness took over again, the Shea Faithful let him have it.  

Ankiel walked two batters and threw two wild pitches, allowing another run to score. It was a wild scene in the stands & an ugly exit for Ankiel. In four innings pitched in the post season, he had thrown nine wild pitches.

By now the Mets were up seven runs, it was all they needed to roll to an easy victory. They clinched the pennant and become the 2000 National League Champions.

On the mound it was Mike Hampton’s biggest night as a Met. He pitched a complete game shutout, allowing only three hits and one walk. He struck out eight batters and never let anyone even get to second base. Hampton had gone 15-10 as a Met in the 2000 regular season, he then won two games in the NLCS earning him the Series MVP award.

 Quotes: Bobby Valentine- "He did everything anybody could hope he could do in the biggest game of his life and mine, too. When you have great players playing great, it makes my job easy."

Although his stay in New York was brief, he played an important role in their history.

In the 8th inning there was drama. Cardinal pitcher Dave Veres hit Mets center fielder; Jay Payton in the head with a pitch. Payton went down & even drew blood from the beaning. He charged the mound, both benches cleared but order was restored. The crowd of nearly 56,000 also grew very restless, angry & loud. The Cards may have feared for their lives but once again order was restored.

Quotes: Jay Payton- "There's only one person that ever knows the intent, but nobody's going to stand up and say they were throwing at somebody's head."

By now the anticipation of the final out was really making the crowd anxious.  In the 9th inning, Craig Paquette lined out for out number one. Mark McGwire in as a pinch hitter; then grounded out to second base. 

Then Reggie Wilkins, also pinch hitting, flew out to center field. Timo Perez switching over to fill in for Payton, caught the last out & leaped into the air. It was over, the Mets won it!

The Mets mobbed a rather somber Mike Hampton, he was lifted high in the air as he raised his glove in victory.

The fans celebrated long after the game was over, dancing in the aisles & rocking the stands, but no one was allowed on the field like back in 1986. 

In the clubhouse, the team celebrated as well. For Mike Piazza, the team's leader was finally going to his first World Series.

Quotes: Mike Piazza- “This is what it’s all about. It’s just been so satisfying to see us come together as a team.”

“It’s great, man! It’s a great feeling,” said a champagne soaked John Franco.


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