2000 World Series recap

Yankees defeat Mets, 4 games to 1

September 28th, 2022

This was the first Subway Series in New York since 1956, and it wasn't a foregone conclusion that either team would make it to the Fall Classic. The Yankees of 2000 were not the juggernaut champions of years past. They stumbled into the postseason after a lengthy September losing streak, almost didn't get past the Oakland A's in the Division Series before returning to form against the Mariners in the ALCS. The Mets challenged the Braves for the NL East crown for much of the season before falling short and again winning the Wild Card. They actually had an easier road than their cross-town rivals, beating the Giants and Cardinals to set up this historic matchup.

Game 1 set the tone for one of the closest Series in recent memory. It was the longest World Series game in history -- 4:51 minutes -- and a victor wasn't determined until the 12th inning. Lefties Andy Pettitte and Al Leiter threw up zeroes through five innings. After the Mets' Todd Zeile narrowly missed a two-run homer in the top of the sixth -- the first of several near-misses by the Mets in this Series -- David Justice gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead with a double in the bottom of the inning.

The Mets battled back to tie it in the seventh when pinch-hitter Bubba Trammell's bases-loaded single drove in two runs. One out later, Edgardo Alfonzo followed with an infield single to score Todd Pratt and give the Mets a 3-2 lead. But closer Armando Benitez couldn't hold the lead in the ninth, allowing Chuck Knoblauch's bases-loaded sacrifice fly to send the game into extra innings.

Nothing happened -- although the Yankees had some opportunities -- until the bottom of the 12th inning. That's when Jose Vizcaino, a surprise starter at second base who picked up four hits, ended the game with a dramatic two-out single off of Turk Wendell to give the Yankees a 4-3 victory.

There was more nail-biting for both teams in Game 2, a game which will likely be remembered for the bizarre occurrence in the first inning when Mike Piazza faced Roger Clemens for the first time since getting hit in the head by a Clemens fastball in July. Piazza's bat broke on a foul ball and the splintered bat headed to Clemens, who then picked it up and fired it toward the Mets' dugout, in Piazza's direction. Tempers flared, but there were no further incidents the remainder of the game. Clemens was dominant, picking up from his 15-strikeout masterpiece against the Mariners in the ALCS by striking out nine, walking none and allowing just two singles in eight innings.

The Yankees, meanwhile, were building a 6-0 lead for the Rocket off of Mike Hampton and the Mets bullpen, highlighted by Scott Brosius' homer to lead off the second.

The Mets scored five times in the ninth on a two-run homer by Piazza off of Jeff Nelson and a three-run Jay Payton shot off of Mariano Rivera, but it was too little too late and the Yankees grabbed a 2-0 Series lead.

The Series moved to Shea Stadium for Game 3, and the Mets climbed back into the Series while ending a couple of impressive Yankees streaks. With a 4-2 victory, the Mets snapped the Yankees' 14-game World Series streak and handed Orlando Hernandez his first-ever postseason defeat (he had been 8-0). Benny Agbayani gave the Mets the win with a go-ahead double in the eighth inning. John Franco, appearing in his first World Series, got the victory and Armando Benitez redeemed himself by closing out the win that closed the Series to 2-1.

The Yankees made a strong statement quickly in Game 4. On the first pitch of the game, Derek Jeter homered off of Bobby J. Jones to give the defending champs a 1-0 lead. The Yankees added single runs in the second and third innings to take a 3-0 lead. Paul O'Neill tripled and scored on Scott Brosius' sac fly in the second and Jeter scored the third run by tripling in the third inning and coming home on Luis Sojo's groundout. The Mets did claw back into the game on Mike Piazza's two-run blast in the bottom of the third, but they couldn't find a way to tie the score against the Yankees bullpen. David Cone relieved Denny Neagle to face Piazza in the fifth and got him to pop out. Winning pitcher Jeff Nelson went 1 1/3 scoreless, Mike Stanton struck out the only two batters he faced and Mariano Rivera pitched two innings for his sixth career World Series save, tying Rollie Fingers' record. It was another one-run game, but the Yankees were now just one win away from three-peating.

Game 5 featured another battle between the two lefties who started this Series, Leiter and Pettitte. And neither disappointed in the rematch. Bernie Williams opened the scoring by breaking an 0-for-15 streak with a second-inning solo homer. But the Mets scratched ahead with two runs in the bottom of the inning on two balls that traveled a total of about 100 feet. With runners on second and third, Leiter laid down a perfect bunt to first. Tino Martinez bobbled, and then tossed to Pettitte covering, but Pettitte dropped the ball, allowing the tying run to score. Then Benny Agbayani followed with a slow roller to third that Scott Brosius couldn't bare-hand, and the Mets had a 2-1 lead.

Derek Jeter, the eventual Series MVP, homered to tie the score at two. Leiter kept going until the ninth inning, and the game appeared to be headed to extra innings after he struck out the first two batters. But Jorge Posada walked and Scott Brosius singled to put runners at first and second. Luis Sojo slapped a ball up the middle on Leiter's 142nd pitch that just made it past the infield, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Jay Payton's throw hit Posada and bounced away, allowing Brosius to score an insurance run. It looked as if that could come in handy when Piazza strode to the plate with a man on and two out against Mariano Rivera. Piazza hit the ball hard, causing everyone at Shea Stadium to hold their breath for an instant, but the ball -- and the Mets' comeback chances -- died in Bernie Williams' glove just shy of the warning track in left-center field. It was four victories by a total of five runs, but it made the Yankees the first to win three consecutive titles since the A's did it from 1972-74.

Path to the World Series
ALCS: New York over Seattle (4 games to 2)
NLCS: New York over St. Louis (4 games to 1)
ALDS: New York over Oakland (3 games to 2); Seattle over Chicago (3 games to 0)
NLDS: New York over San Francisco (3 games to 1); St. Louis over Atlanta (3 games to 0)

Managers: Joe Torre, NYY; Bobby Valentine, NYM

MVP: Derek Jeter, NYY: .409, 2 RBI, 2 HR, 2 2B, 1 3B