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 the other 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 longtime 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.

The Mets began their pounding in the 1st inning. Timo Perez led off with a single & stole second. The next hitter: Eduardo Alfonzo immediately singled Perez home to make it 1-0 Mets.

Mike Piazza then drew a walk, Robin Ventura singled as Alfonzo scored with the Mets second run. Todd Ziele grounded out to the second base side & it brought in Piazza with the third run. It was 3-0 Mets and they never looked back. 

In the home 4th, Pat Hentgen was still pitching for St. Louis when Timo Perez singled with one out, for his second hit of the day. After Edgardo Alfonzo popped up, Mike Piazza doubled with a short liner to left field. 

Timo Perez was unable to score & stayed at third. Robin Ventura then walked to load the bases.  Todd Ziele then hit a long double off the wall clearing the bases, the Mets were up 6-0. 

Trivia: Timo Perez set an NLCS record with eight runs scored.

Shea Stadium's stands were literally rocking & shaking. It was loud. 

After a festive seventh inning stretch, Tony Larussa brought in Rick Ankiel to pitch. Ankiel had had control problems throughout the series & was very wild tonight as well. He even threw a couple of pitches that sailed past the catcher's head & hit the back stop. 

The Shea fans let him have it, as they laughed & cheered in delight at his expense. It was a crazy, fun & wild night all around.

In the 7th, Rick Ankiel walked Mike Bordick. Mike Hampton bunted him over. After Timo Perez struck out, Ankiel threw those two wild pitches during Edgardo Alfonzo's at bat. Bordick scored another Mets run, making it 7-0 Mets. It was a wild scene in the stands & an ugly exit for Mr. Ankiel. 

Trivia: In four innings pitched in the post season, he had thrown an amazing record, nine wild

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 Mike Hampton retired the Cards in order in the 8th.

In the bottom of the 8th inning there was some drama. With two outs Benny Agbayani ssingled to left. Then Cardinal pitcher Dave Veres hit Mets center fielder, Jay Payton in the head with a pitch. 

Payton went down to the ground; the contact even drew blood above his left eye from the beaning. 

Payton got up & charged the mound, both benches cleared but no punches were thrown. Eventually home plate umpire Dana Demuth was able to restore order & send everyone back to their dug outs.

The crowd of nearly 56,000 also grew very restless, angry & loud. The Cards may have feared for their lives but luckily no one jumped on to the field & 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."

Mike Bordick came up & grounded out to end the 8th inning.

In the 9th Mike Hampton came on to close out his complete game. First, he got pinch hitter Craig Paquette to line out to Agbayani in left for the first out. Mark McGwire came in to pinch hit & grounded out to second for out number two.

By now the anticipation of the final out was really making the crowd anxious. The Shea Stadium stands were shaking up & down, almost a concern for safety at this point. 

Pinch hitter Rick Wilkns came on & flew out to Timo Perez in center field, Perez leaped in the air making the catch for the final out. The Mets had won the pennant!!!!

The Mets mobbed a rather somber Mike Hampton, he was lifted high in the air as he raised his glove in victory. It was his biggest night as a Met. Hampton 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. In the NLDS he earned a no decision & 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."

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 we did 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.”

Quotes- John Franco: “It’s great, man! It’s a great feeling.”


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