Oct 12, 2018

Remembering Mets History (2000): NLCS Game #2: Jay Paytons 9th Inning Single Wins It

Thursday October 12th, 2000- NLCS Game #2- Busch Stadium St. Louis, Missouri: 

After Bobby Valentine's Mets won the first game of the NLCS, he gave the ball to Al Leiter (16-8 / 200 Ks / 3.20 ERA) for Game #2. His opponent was Rick Ankiel (11-7 / 3.50 ERA / 194 Ks).

Starting Lineups

Ankiel would suffer from control issues in this series, throwing wildly & way off target. In this game, he had trouble in the 1st inning, issuing three walks & two wild pitches. 

A sac fly from Todd Zeile & a double by Benny Agbayani put the Mets up 2-0. Ankiel was removed in the 1st & Britt Reames came on for the Cards. In the 3rd, Mike Piazza led off with a solo HR off Reams, adding to the Mets lead.

The Cards collected a run in the 2nd & then got two runs off Leiterin the 5th inning. Fernando Vina singled & Edgar Reteria doubled him in making it 3-2. They tied it up on a Fernando Tatis double later in the inning.  Leiter pitched seven innings, he gave up three runs on eight hits & struck out nine, leaving in a 3-3 tie.

In the top of the 8th with Matt Morris on the mound, Timo Perez got a two out single. Eduardo Alfonzo hit a short single to left center field, Perez scampered all the way around the bases & was safe at home on the throw. Mike Piazza was walked & Todd Zeile then singled bringing in Alfonzo, giving the Mets a two run lead. 

The Mets bullpen couldn’t hold the lead, as John Franco gave up a walk & a base hit. He then threw a wild pitch bringing in a run. He was relieved by Turk Wendell who quickly gave up an RBI double to JD DRew tying the game. Eight Cardnials came to the plate in the inning.
In the top of the 9th, Mike Timlin replaced Daryl Kile for St. Louis. Robin Ventura reached on an error by third baseman Craig Paquette who had replaced Fernando Tatis earlier in the game. 

Bobby Valentine went to work, managing against Tony Larussa. Benny Agbayani laid down a successful bunt, moving Ventura over to second base. "Super" Joe McEwing was brought in to pinch run, and then Jay Payton came to the plate. Payton singled to center bringing him home what would be the winning run, as McEwing scored. 

Armando Benitez closed out the 9th for the save, sending the Mets home with a 2-0 Series lead.

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