Ventura's Home Run Dooms Mets

Facing his former team for the first time since being traded in the off season, Robin Ventura made sure the Mets did not forget the talent they gave up. Ventura, who ironically enough has more home runs and RBIs than any Met player, slugged a two run home run in the 10th inning, his 16th of the year, to give the Yanks a 4-2 victory in the first game of the three game Subway Series.

Trailing the Mets by a run in the 9th inning, the Yankees received clutch hitting by Derek Jeter. One batter after Marcus Thames reached second base on a ground rule double, Jeter laced a single to left center field, scoring Thames, tying the score and sending the game into extra innings. Jeter's single was his first career hit off of Benitez.

After Jeter started the 8th inning with a walk with the Mets ahead 2-0, Mets reliever David Weathers suffered quite a scare when Jason Giambi hit a line drive off of his face for an infield single. Weathers was stayed in the game with no major injury, but was apparently shaken as Bernie Williams singled home Jeter to score the Yank's first run.

Jeromy Burnitz also suffered a scare in the fifth inning, as Sterling Hitchcock, who replaced Andy Pettite, drilled Burnitz in the side of head. Burnitz, who was understandably upset after being drilled, had some words for Hitchcock as he was heading for first base. However Burnitz's beaning was clearly not intentional, but nonetheless added more tension to a rivalry that is still centered on the Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza incident in the 2000 World Series.

The Mets received their entire offensive output in the third inning, as Roger Cedeno and Mo Vaughn singled and Piazza walked, to load the bases for Edgardo Alfonso. With the count 3-2, Pettite walked home the Mets' first run of the game as the Mets took a 1-0 lead, poised to break the game open with the bases still loaded and only one out. Pettitte's second pitch to the next batter, Jeromy Burnitz, sailed into the backstop as a chugging Vaughn raced home to give the Mets their second and final run of the game. Pettitte retired Burnitz on the 11th pitch of the at bat as Burnitz fouled out, and Jay Payton grounded out to third to end the inning.

Pettitte, who made his first appearance since April 15 because of elbow tendinitis, did not have his best stuff last night, as he lasted only four innings, giving up five hits and three walks. The Mets loaded the bases in the first inning off of Pettitte, but were unable to capitalize.

But the bullpen did a terrific job for the Yanks, as Hitchcock, Ramiro Mendoza, Mike Stanton, and Steve Karsay shut the Mets down the rest of the way, allowing just three hits. In contrast, the Mets' bullpen failed to seal the victory for starter Steve Trachsel, who pitched over five shutout innings. Armando Benitiz came on with two outs in the 8th inning, but blew his sixth save of the season when Jeter singled home the tying run. Satoru Komiyama replaced Benetiz in the 10th inning, and gave up three hits and two earned runs, including Ventura's home run while receiving his third loss of the season.

The Mets had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the 9th inning when Roberto Alomar doubled off of Stanton, and advanced to third on John Valentin's groundout to third base. Karsay then relieved Stanton, and intentionally walked Piazza to get to Alfonso. But Alfonso lined out to shortstop, stranding the runner at third base, sending the game into extra innings.

The series will reach its climax tomorrow afternoon, as The Rocket will take the mound for the Yanks, while Shawn Estes will start for the Mets in the highly anticipated showdown between Clemens and the Mets.

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