Jul 13, 2020

Remembering Mets History: (2001) Robin Ventura Leads N.L. Champs Over Braves On Opening Day

The NL Champion Mets opened up 2001 with enthusiasm, at the home of their biggest rivals during this period, the Atlanta Braves.

42,117 came to Turner Field to see Bobby Valentines Mets take on Bobby Cox's Braves.

The Mets 2001 Opening Day line up:
Benny Agbayani LF
Edgardo Alfonzo 2B
Robin Ventura 3B
Mike Piazza C
Todd Zeile 1B
Jay Payton CF
Darryl Hamilton RF
Rey Ordonez SS
Al Leiter P

In the top of the 1st, Benny Agbayani walked & was thrown out at second. Edgardo Alfonzo doubled & then Robin Ventura struck out. Mike Piazza then hit his first HR of the year, coming off the Braves ace Tom Glavine. The Braves answered with a run on base hits by Rafael Furcal, Andru Jones & the Mets nemesis; Chipper Jones. Glavine put out the Mets in order in the next five innings, Leiter allowed just two hits himself going to the 7th inning. Then catcher; Javier Lopez tied the game with a solo HR.

In the top of the 8th, Glavine walked Agbayani, Tsuyoshi Shinjo came in to pinch run & John Rocker came in to relieve Glavine. Robin Ventura shut Rocker up, with a two run HR putting the Mets ahead 4-2.

But in the 8th John Franco came on & blew the lead. Dave Martinez singled and was brought in by Rafael Furcal's double. Franco then hit Quilvio Veras with a pitch, and Bobby Valentine replaced him with Turk Wendell. He recorded the next two batters but gave up a base hit to Brian Jordan, scoring Furcal with the tying run.

The game went to extra innings, with Dennis Cook on the mound for New York & Kerry Ligtenberg for Atlanta.

In the 10th, Robin Ventura hit his second HR of the day, a two run shot following Shinjo's base hit. It was the winning run, as Armando Benitez saved it in the 9th, Cook was the winner.

The Mets would finish up 82-80 in third place, six games behind the Braves. It was disappointing after they had made the playoffs the past two years.

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