Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sheffield’s 500th Ties the Game, and Castillo’s Infield Single Wins It

Only the 25th player to hit 500 hundred homeruns in a career.

Gary Sheffield has been a Met for all of two weeks, a period defined more by his perceived weaknesses than by his obvious strengths. He may no longer throw as well as he once did, or patrol the outfield as deftly, but Sheffield, even at age 40, can still hit. One of his vicious swings Friday night launched him into the record book, as the 25th player to hit 500 home runs.

His pinch-hit, bases-empty blast tied the score in the seventh inning, and the Mets, despite later squandering two bases-loaded opportunities, defeated the Milwaukee Brewers, 5-4, when Luis Castillo’s infield single scored Carlos Delgado with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. As soon as Sheffield made contact, crushing a full-count slider from Mitch Stetter into the left-field bleachers, he knew the ball was gone.

The crowd of 36,436 erupted as he raised his arms and looked into the Mets’ dugout, which emptied to greet him near the on-deck circle. Jose Reyes reached him first, wrapping him in a big hug, and the game was paused for about three minutes as Sheffield accepted congratulations and responded to the crowd’s standing ovation with a curtain call.

“I never thought it was going to happen like this,” Sheffield said, flanked by his wife, DeLeon, and two sons, Noah and Jaden, who presented him with a homemade card that read, “Hooray you hit it, you hit your 500th home run.”

The rest is here-

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