On This Date in Sports August 12, 2000: Benny's Blunder

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Benny Agbayani of the New York Mets has an embarrassing moment as he forgets how many outs there are in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Agbayani fields a fly ball in left field off the bat of Bobby Estallea, allowing Jeff Kent to score. A second run scores when Agbayani gives the ball to a young fan in the stands at Shea Stadium. The Mets would overcome Benny’s blunder to win 3-2.

 Benny Agbayani was born on December 28, 1971, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Playing at Hawaii Pacific, Agbayani was drafted by the New York Mets in the 30th round of 1993 MLB Draft. Benny Agbayani made his first appearance in the majors in 1998. Benny Agbayani saw limited action in 1998, playing in just 11 games. In 1999, Agbayani showed some power as he hit 11 home runs in the first half of the season, at the time it was the second-most home runs for a rookie in Mets franchise history.

 Benny Agbayani would become a Mets fan favorite and a cult hero, especially when he hit a grand slam in Tokyo to win the second of a two-game set against the Chicago Cubs at the start of the 2000 season.  This helped him earn the nickname Hawaiian Punch. The Mets were in position for the Wild Card in mid-August. Managed by Bobby Valentine, they held a record of 67-47 as they faced the San Francisco Giants, who held a record of 64-49 for manager Dusty Baker.

 On a Saturday night at Shea Stadium, the Mets had Mike Hampton on the mound, while the Giants countered with Shawn Estes. The Mets got the first run of the game when Mike Bordick hit a home run in the third inning. Hampton ran into trouble in the fourth when Jeff Kent led off the inning with a double. The next batter reached based on an error by Bordick at short. Following a groundout by Rich Aurilia, the Giants loaded the bases when J.T. Snow was hit by a pitch. The Giants tied the game on a sacrifice fly by Bobby Estallea. They would get an extra run when Benny Agbayani thinking there were three outs hand the ball to a young fan in near left field. Agbayani got the ball back, but the run would score. Shawn Estes struck out to end the inning without further damage.

 The Giants had a 2-1 lead into the seventh inning. Bubba Trammell pinch-hitting for Hampton walked to start the inning. Felix Rodriguez came into pitch, relieving Estes after retiring Bordick and Derek Bell, Rodriguez made a mistake by walking Edgardo Alfonso. Following a wild pitch, the Mets would take a 3-2 lead when Todd Zeile laced a double to right. The 3-2 lead would hold as Turk Wendell was perfect in the eighth, while Armando Benitez pitched around a leadoff single to retire the final three batters for the save as the game ended with a strikeout of Barry Bonds.


 The Mets and Giants would meet again in October in the Division Series. In Game 3, at Shea Stadium, Benny Agbayani atoned for his blunder with a walk-off home run as the Mets won the game 3-2 in 13 innings and went on to win the series in four games.