Remembering Mets History (2000): Mets Batter Pirates With a Nine Run Third Inning

Friday June 23rd, 2000:
A large crowd of 39,849 gathered at Shea Stadium to see Bobby Valentine's second place Mets (39-31) host Gene Lamont's third place Pittsburgh Pirates (39-31). 

The Mets were starting a six-game win streak going into the following week. Bobby Valentine sent Bobby Jones to the hill against Pittsburgh's rookie, a young Bronson Arroyo.



Bobby Jones started the game by striking out the first two Pirates & easy 1st inning.

In the home 2nd inning, after the first two Mets outs Todd Zeile singled & Jay Payton doubled, putting two on. Benny Agbayani was walked intentionally to get to Bobby Jones the pitcher. That strategy backfired when Pirate pitcher, Bronson Arroyo balked, forcing in the Mets first run. It was the start of a bad day for Arroyo. 

In the top of the 3rd the Pirates got on the board with a Warren Morris sac fly.

In the home 3rd, the Mets blew it open with their biggest inning of the 2000 NL Pennant season. With one out Derek Bell walked & Eduardo Alfonzo singled. Mike Piazza then followed with his 21st HR of the season, a three-run shot putting New York up 4-0.   

Trivia: Piazza would lead the Mets in HRs (38) RBIs (113) & tie Edgardo Alfonzo for best batting average on the club (.324). Certainly, deserving of an MVP award but was slighted once again.

Next up Robin Ventura, Todd Zeile & Jay Payton all singled, with scoring Ventura making it 5-0 Mets. 

Benny Agbayani again, walked to load the bases. With Arroyo still on the mound, Melvin Mora doubled to clear the bases, making it an 8-0 Mets lead. Derek Bell then singled as well to make it 9-0 Mets.

Arroyo finally was lifted after just 2.2 innings, he would get charged with ten runs (nine earned) nine hits & three walks, soaring his ERA over ten. 

Trivia: Arroyo was in his rookie year, he would have success winning a World Series in Boston & win 14 games of more five times, including three 15 plus win seasons in with the Cincinnati Reds (2008-2010).

Reliever, Jeff Wallace took the mound & was greeted by Edgardo Alfonzo who also singled scoring Derek Bell, making it 10-1 New York. 

The Mets sent 13 men to the plate, belting out eight hits with nine runs in their biggest run production inning of the pennant year. 

Everyone in the Mets starting lineup got a hit on the night (except the pitcher's spot) Edgardo Alfonzo, Todd Zeile, Benny Agbayani & Jay Payton all had two hits each. Piazza & Mora leading the RBI department with three each.

Bobby Jones cruised to the victory, striking out eight Pirates: allowing only five hits through eight innings. The Mets Rich Rodriquez finished it up in the 9th. 

For Jones it was only his second victory of the season & his best outing up to that point as his ERA was still over eight. He would improve, ending up 11-6 for the 2000 NL Champion Mets that year.

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