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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, June 18, 2001

Mets rally in eighth to beat Yankees

Associated Press

NEW YORK — All season long, New York Mets' fans had been waiting for a huge hit from Mike Piazza.

Mike Piazza is congratulated at home plate after hitting a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning to help the New York Mets beat the Yankees, 8-7.

Associated Press

Those who stayed at Shea Stadium past midnight saw it.

Piazza hit a monstrous homer over the left-field bleachers, capping a rousing six-run rally in the eighth inning last night as the host New York Mets averted a Subway Series sweep by beating the New York Yankees, 8-7.

"I really didn't feel like I've been productive for my ballclub," Piazza said. "We were frustrated, as our fans were."

The Mets had not led the entire three-game series, and trailed 7-2 before taking advantage of shortstop Derek Jeter's error and a depleted Yankees bullpen.

Jeter misplayed a grounder to start the eighth inning and Desi Relaford hit an RBI single that chased reliever Randy Choate. Benny Agbayani's two-run single off Carlos Almanzar made it 7-5.

Tsuyoshi Shinjo then made a tumbling slide into first base, hustling to beat a double-play relay to give the Mets another run and pull them within 7-6.

"He willed that base," Mets' manager Bobby Valentine said. "That was one of the finest plays I've ever seen."

That brought up Piazza with two outs.

"I cringed when I saw Mike," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

Piazza took ball one from Almanzar before launching a no-doubt drive to deep left for his 19th home run. Piazza raised his arm as he rounded first base and, spurred by the crazed crowd, later came out for a curtain call.

"Obviously, you feel elation," he said. "It was definitely a big win from a pride standpoint. Probably the most important thing was to avoid a sweep."

Turk Wendell got one out in the eighth for the win, and closer Armando Benitez pitched a perfect ninth for his 11th save.