The Division Series match against the 97-win Giants against Mets was supposed to be a regular headliner: New York duo Mike Piazza And Edgardo Alfonzo With a power odd couple in San Francisco Barry Bonds Formerly met Jeff Kent, Probably the MVP of the National League.
But postseason baseball has a way to spotlight unprecedented people, who happen to be in the right place at the right time.
Mets’ four-game victory over the Giants reminded him of that theory. The unlikely cluster of stars, each on their own journey to the October stage, was the difference in their promotion to the League Championship Series in New York.
take Jay PaytonRehabilitated from three elbow surgeries, became a major league rookie in 2000, produced a winning hit in the game, and was drafted as the first pick on the disabled list for five years. Spent the part. In game 2.
take John Franco, Replacing the former closer Armand Benitez Franco was demoted in September last year due to a finger tendon injury and has since been banished by Setupman even before he was asked to finish Game 2 with Bond’s dramatic strikeouts.
take Benny AgbayaniIt is not envisioned that Mets rosters will be created in spring training, requesting a deal from the organization on the verge of being sent to minors early in the season, and his name in Mets post-season folklore. Strolled-Leave Homer and finish the 5 hour 13 innings contest in Game 3.
And take Bobby JonesMeet since 1993, but interrupted the playoff roster in 1999 and has no reason to continue rotation after the start of the season, offering one of the best pitching performances in the definitive Game 4 October chronology. Did.
Mets’ second playoff trip began with a stumbling block.
The attack was muzzled by the opener Livan Hernandez (1997 LCS and World Series MVP) Coupled with a stingy Giants bullpen, 4 runs 1/3 Mike Hampton On Wednesday afternoon, the brand new Pacific Bell Park paved the way for New York’s 5 to 1 road defeat.
That loss, however, seemed to be nullified by a sharp outing Alhead In game 2.
With a wealth of big game experience, the rater led 8-2 and pursued even the best 5 series.
Its slim advantage was compounded when Edgardo Alfonzo provided insurance with a two-run home run at the top of the ninth inning.
manager Bobby Valentine I sent the rater to the lower half, but was immediately yanked after a lead-off double from Barry Bonds.
With Benitez in, the heart rate around New York quickly rose. Benitez continued the very frequent pattern of post-season failures and was unable to defend the lead that the rater had saved very well.
Two outs from victory and two runners on the base, first baseman JT Snow He sent one high and deep enough to sneak through a 24-foot-high wall with his right fielder and stayed to the left of the foul pole.
New York’s momentum was shattered by Snow’s tying Homer. However, after Benitez finished the inning, Met’s attack restored the piece in the 10th inning. And that’s when Peyton entered the painting.
When Darryl Hamilton On the second and second outs, Peyton ripped the single in the middle. Hamilton returned home safely.
Benitez was still in the game, but not long.
He gave up the lead-off single from Armand Rios Start at the bottom of the tenth.
Now it’s Franco’s turn.
He saved 420 games during his career — 272 of them as the New York Mets are more than anyone else for this franchise.
But this savings will be his greatest ever.
Bond stepped up after a terrible runner-play bunt and fielder’s choice by Rios trying to reach third base.
The count was full and Franco made an internal change-up. Bond made no offer and took Borderline Strike 3.
For Mets, it was a great call from home plate referee Gary Sederstrom and a punctuation mark in a contest of cardiac arrest essentials that showed their best character.
And if Game 2 wasn’t enough drama, Shea Stadium Game 3 offered even more drama. New York is dangerously close to defeat again, 2 outs in 8th place, Lenny Harris Second.
Fortunately, they had a guy on the plate who liked to go through the clutch. Edgardo Alfonzo, who made many big hits in the playoffs last year, did it again. A left fielder double field who helped win Harris and send it to Extras.
It lasted more than 5 hours ago until the 13th, before Agbayani faced Aaron Yan..
Hawaiian natives became cult heroes in a short amount of time with Mets.
Fans accepted the story of his vulnerable and made it into the major leagues without resembling the physique of a typical baseball player.
They almost forgave his misrepresentation against the same Giants on August 12. He caught the runner in 3rd place, handed the ball to the young man on the stand, and for a moment thought the innings were over.
Now, Benny was trying to completely eradicate that memory and provide something more lasting.
Agbayani blows Frutz’s pitch into a crowded stand in the center left field, flips the bat, takes the most satisfying walk around the base, then jumps into the sea of teammates around the home plate and lifts his shoulders. I did.
He was more than a cult hero. He was a postseason hero.
“Bobby Valentine told me there is a way things can work,” Agbayani said. New York Times..
“I didn’t understand that. Now I’ll do it.”
Valentine recalled another prophetic conversation with Bobby’s wife, Christie Jones. This was done prior to her husband’s significant outing in Game 4, where the NLCS harbor is at stake.
“I’m sorry,” she is said to have told him. “He will pitch the game of his life.”
Jones has been steadily improving since returning from his regular season demotion. He set a 1-3 record in the first eight starts, a horrifying 10.19 ERA in 32⅔ innings, and then an 8-2 in the second half with a 3.98 ERA.
He was even an all-star in 1997.
Still, there was no earthly reason to believe that the jewels were waiting in the wings.
Against the powerful Giants attack, Jones placed them in turn throughout the four innings.
Kent led the fifth by lacing the shot However On the expanded range of third baseman Robin Ventura, Offering an early attack in the form of a two-run home run at a time.
Following Kent’s double, two walks were made before Jones escaped the jam.
New York’s lead grew to 4-0, and Bobby further asserted his dominance.
San Francisco batters have retired in an orderly manner with pinpoint control and speed changes. Not to mention the post-season pitchers, they were helpless by pitchers who didn’t know if they would be in Major League Baseball just four months ago.
The final touch on this masterpiece was against Barry Bonds, who was only 3 to 17 in the series. Barry Bonds raised the pitch he first saw to the center field.
Jay Payton raced over to his right and caught.
Delighted teammates attacked the pitcher under the common name of accomplishing an unusual feat — it was just the sixth batter in the history of the playoffs.
It was a performance that no one had ever seen.
There is no one but Christie Jones.
If avoiding returning to the West Coast to win the series and decide on the fifth game, but couldn’t raise the spirit of the Mets enough, there was this little news: Cardinals of the other Division Series Defeated the Braves.
The biggest obstacle to their World Series pass has been cleared.
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