The 2000 feud between New York Mets star Mike Piazza and New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens began on June 9, 2000, with a grand slam.
On June 9, 2000, the New York Mets took the subway over to Yankees Stadium to face off against the New York Yankees. It was a Friday night match-up between Al Leiter and Roger Clemens. With home-field advantage, one could have given the edge to the Yankees in this game.
The importance of this game went beyond just this Friday night. It was the beginning of the season-long rivalry between Clemens and Mike Piazza. It’s understandable why Clemens was so terribly angry at Piazza. On this night, Piazza and the Mets absolutely bludgeoned “The Rocket.”
A lineup featuring Jason Tyner in the leadoff spot wouldn’t usually represent equal success for the Mets. However, it didn’t seem to matter on this evening.
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The first inning included a minor threat by the Mets and a strikeout with Piazza at the plate. The two pitchers managed to keep the score tied at zero until the top of the third when the future Hall of Fame catcher opened things up.
An error, a walk, a passed ball, and another walk to open up the inning sent Piazza to the plate with the bases juiced and nobody out. On the second pitch, he went yard.
With one swing, the Metropolitans were up 4-0. The grand slam put them ahead and they weren’t about to look back. They scored another run in the fourth on a Derek Bell Single, a sixth run on a fifth inning on a Todd Zeile single, and three more in the sixth inning. A double by Bell and a two-run home run by Edgardo Alfonzo combined to score those final three against Clemens.
With the Mets now leading 9-2 with Piazza due up next, Clemens was hooked from the game. His final line included 5 innings pitched, 10 hits, 9 runs with only 1 of them going as unearned, 3 walks, a pair of home runs surrendered, and only 4 strikeouts.
After an exhausting 127 pitches, Clemens was done for the night and the Yankees were ready to dip into the bullpen.
Meanwhile, Leiter held the Yankees 7 hits over 7 innings. Only a Tino Martinez double went for extra-bases. The rest were singles, thus aiding in the 12-2 beat down against the in-city rivals.
Piazza finished the game 3 for 4 with his only RBI coming on his grand slam versus Clemens. Bell had perhaps the biggest game of all, going 3 for 4 with 3 runs scored and 5 RBI. All told, the boys from Flushing managed 15 hits in this affair.
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It’s never a bad day when the Mets beat the Yankees. When they beat them this badly, those “not bad days” can turn into great ones.