Tim Redding’s late season renaissance continued, as he enjoyed his third consecutive solid outing. However, his enjoyment of the game was short-lived, as party pooper Brian Stokes gave up three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning for the second time in five games, including a bases loaded two-run pinch-hit single to former Yankee Jason Giambi. The latest Rockie Rally gave Colorado a 5-2 victory over the Mets Wednesday night in Denver.
Before the Mets came to the Mile High city, the Rockies were showing signs of wilting in the late summer heat. They had lost five straight games and visions of a Rocktober sequel appeared to be fading. Enter the perfect remedy for Colorado’s case of defeat-itis: the Mets.
Ubaldo Jimenez took the mound for the Rockies, hoping to keep his team in the Wild Card lead after the Giants had won earlier in the day. Jimenez had just completed a brilliant month of August in which he went 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA. But the Mets wasted little time in putting together a run.
Angel Pagan led off the game with a double to deep center field. This was followed by a beautifully placed bunt single by Luis Castillo. Daniel Murphy then hit a sacrifice fly to left field and the Mets took the early lead on the Rockies.
Tim Redding was so unfamiliar working with an early lead that he gave it right back two batters into the game. After retiring Carlos Gonzalez to begin the first inning, Redding gave up a solo home run to Seth Smith. The blast tied the game at 1.
The game of “you score one, I score one” continued when the Rockies took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning, only to have Jeff Francoeur tie the game in the top of the fourth inning with a home run to left field. It was his 12th home run of the season, surpassing his total for 2008, and his seventh home run for the Mets since being traded to New York from the Braves in July.
After the home run by Francoeur tied the game, the Mets were only able to manage one measly hit for the remainder of the game. Fortunately for them, Tim Redding was able to keep the Rockies off the scoreboard until he was taken out of the game with two outs in the seventh inning. It was his third consecutive good outing for the Mets. However, he only has one win to show for it, despite the 2.45 ERA and .197 batting average against him in 18.1 innings pitched. Tonight he held the Rockies to two runs on seven hits in his 6.2 innings of work. He also added six strikeouts and walked only one batter.
With the score still tied at 2 heading to the bottom of the eighth, Jerry Manuel brought in Brian Stokes to start the inning. It was Stokes who gave up the go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning to Alfonso Soriano last Friday in Chicago to turn a 2-2 tie into a 5-2 deficit. As Yogi Berra used to say, it was deja vu all over again.
Stokes started off well by getting Todd Helton to ground out to third base. However, the dreaded walk came back to haunt the Mets as Troy Tulowitzki drew a free pass from Stokes. This was followed by a double into the left field corner by Brad Hawpe. Ian Stewart was intentionally walked to load up the bases for Clint Barmes. However, it was not Barmes who stepped up to the plate for the Rockies, but recently acquired slugger Jason Giambi.
Giambi had left his Village People cover band in New York this past offseason when he reunited with his original band in Oakland. However, that reunion did not last long, as he was clearly not the same mustachioed marauder he used to be during his first stint with the band. Oakland released him and the Rockies signed him to be a spark off the bench. What a spark he provided tonight!
He lined the first pitch by Stokes over the outstretched glove of Anderson Hernandez into center field for a two-run single, giving the Rockies a 4-2 lead over the Mets. An RBI single by neglected stepchild Yorvit Torrealba added another run, giving the Rockies their final run in the 5-2 victory.
Although the Mets will not win a series for the tenth straight time (eight series losses, two splits dating back to their last series victory in late July over the Rockies), they can still avoid a sweep with a victory in tomorrow’s afternoon affair. They were able to avoid the broom in each of their last two series by taking the finales against the Marlins and the Cubs, respectively.
Pat Misch will take the mound in the finale against the Rockies. He will be faced by 14-game winner Jason Marquis. Game time for the matinee will be at 3:10 PM.
Misch pitched well in his last start against the Cubs. He may not have a future as a starting pitcher for the Mets, but another solid performance could lead to renewed confidence and a role on next year’s team. As long as he doesn’t pitch like Brian Stokes pitched on Wednesday night, the Mets might be able to avoid the bristles of the Rockies’ broom.