What was supposed to be a pitcher’s duel between Johan Santana and Matt Cain turned into another story altogether, as David Wright was felled by a 94 MPH fastball thrown by Cain. The Wright beaning was the most disturbing feature of today’s 5-4 loss to the Giants in 10 innings.
Both Santana and Cain had cruised through the first three innings, putting up zeroes for both teams. Then Luis Castillo led off the fourth inning with a single, which was followed by the aforementioned fastball to David Wright’s head, near the left ear flap of his helmet.
Wright lay motionless on the ground for a few minutes as he was looked at by the Mets athletic trainers. He was able to get up and walk off the field, but looked dazed and disoriented. FOX cameras later caught Wright entering an ambulance outside Citi Field where he was taken to the Hospital For Special Surgery in Manhattan for a precautionary CT scan.
Fernando Tatis replaced Wright after the incident and later was able to advance to second base on a sacrifice fly by Daniel Murphy. The run-scoring fly ball gave the Mets an early 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, Tatis was stranded in scoring position as Jeff Francoeur grounded out to end the inning.
The Giants took the lead on Johan Santana and the Mets by scoring three runs on five hits in the sixth inning. The hardest hit ball was the long double by Bengie Molina off the left field wall that tied the game at 1. An RBI single by Ryan Garko and an RBI fielder’s choice hit into by Aaron Rowand gave the Giants a 3-1 lead.
Quite a bit of controversy ensued in the top of the seventh inning. Johan Santana threw a pitch behind the back of Giants’ third baseman and fellow Venezuelan Pablo Sandoval, prompting home plate umpire Brian O’Nora to issue warnings to both benches. Since Sandoval is considered the Giants’ best position player, this may have been a retaliatory strike to Wright being hit by Cain’s wayward fastball. Sandoval responded to the brushback pitch by Kung Fu-ing the next pitch off the facing of the second deck in left field. The massive home run gave the Giants a 4-1 lead. Santana did plunk the next batter, Bengie Molina. ‘Han the Man was not ejected despite the previous warning, much to the dismay of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who came out to argue the non-decision. However, Jerry Manuel removed Santana from the game anyway. Santana’s day ended with him giving up four runs on nine hits, while walking one batter, hitting another and striking out six Giants in 6.2 innings.
The game stayed that way until the bottom of the eighth inning, when the Mets rallied to tie the game, taking Santana off the hook. Anderson Hernandez led off the inning with a single and later scored on a long single by Cory Sullivan. This was the last pitch thrown by Matt Cain, as he was removed from the game still leading 4-2. As he exited the field to a shower of boos from the fans who were upset at the Wright beaning, Cain unexpectedly tipped his cap to the angry patrons, placing him in the same book as John Rocker to this blogger. The FOX broadcasters were also surprised by Cain’s unusual gesture, stating that while David Wright was in the hospital, he was doffing his cap to Wright’s fans, which was very disrespectful to all involved.
Fortunately, Cain would not figure in the decision. An RBI single by Wright’s replacement, Fernando Tatis and a sacrifice fly by Gary Sheffield (neat slide by Luis Castillo to score the tying run) got the Mets even with the Giants. The score remained tied at 4 until the top of the tenth inning.
In his first at-bat since being hit by Johan Santana’s final pitch of the game, Bengie Molina continued the Molina family tradition by homering to deep left field. His blast off Mets’ closer Francisco Rodriguez gave the Giants a 5-4 advantage, a lead they would not relinquish in the bottom of the tenth inning, as Brian Wilson retired the Mets in order to give the Giants the victory.
In the post-game interview on SNY, Johan Santana did not admit to throwing at Sandoval and Molina, but did say that he had to protect his teammates. Tomorrow the Mets have a chance to exact a different type of revenge against the Giants. Any loss for the Giants would be detrimental to their Wild Card chances. Mike Pelfrey will take the hill against Jonathan “I Can Throw A No-Hitter And You Can’t” Sanchez. The best way to get back at the Giants for the Wright HBP would be to defeat them tomorrow. Game time is at 1:10 PM.
Wright update: According to Newsday, David Wright has suffered a concussion. His CT scan was negative and he will remain at the Hospital For Special Surgery overnight.