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Here's Johnny

September 23, 2001 was one of the darker days for the Mets in the last seven years, though it was a great day for newest Met Johnny Estrada.

While Armando Benitez was blowing a 3-run lead against the Braves with 2 outs in the 9th inning (Brian Jordan's 10th inning HR off Jerrod Riggan won it), Estrada and his Phillies friends were having much fun at home against the Marlins.

While the Mets entered the day 3 1/2 games back of the Braves, the Phillies were only 1/2 a game back. The Phillies would have moved into first place with a win and a Braves loss and kept their end of the bargain in rather dramatic fashion.

The Phillies blew a 3-2 lead in the 8th inning as, after getting two outs, Ricky Bottalico faltered, allowing back-to-back home runs to Preston Wilson and Mike Lowell. Scott Rolen would strand two baserunners in the bottom of the frame and the score held at a 4-3 edge for the Marlins into the home ninth.

Marlon Anderson led off against Antonio Alfonseca by striking out looking. Pat Burrell did the same, much to the dismay of manager Larry Bowa, who was subsquently tossed from the game for arguing.

He missed the best part.

Travis Lee got ahead in the count 3-1, then cranked a game-tying home run, capping a rare quality day in which he went 4-for-4 with a pair of home runs.

The game subsequently went extra innings and that boded well for the Phillies. After the Marlins went down 1-2-3, Estrada, then a rookie, led off against former Met Juan Acevedo. Estrada fell behind 0-2, then made contact with a ball that soared and sailed until it landed in the Phillies bullpen.

Phillies reliever Eddie Oropesa tossed a chair into the air in celebration, because this was a very big win. Had the Phillies gone on to win the division it would have been one for which their fans would still be quite thankful. They did not (they can thank Mr. Benitez), and instead it simply stands an example in which Johnny be good.

True Metstradas know...Johnny Estrada is a .429 career hitter against Pedro Martinez and a .375 career hitter against Roger Clemens, but he's just 1-for-21 (.048) in his career against Steve Trachsel.

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