The Mets (27-29) played one of their shorter games in recent memory, beating the Phillies (24-30) by a score of 4-3 in a measly 11 innings on Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.
Jon Niese got the start for New York and was a Man Amongst Mets, striking out 6 in 8 innings of work, allowing 2 runs on 8 hits and a walk. Niese took just 91 pitches to get the job done.
While Niese cruised through the first few innings, the Mets put runners in scoring position a couple times early in the game against Cole Hamels, but were unable to get a run across. The Mets finally broke through in the top of the fourth when David Wright doubled and then scored from third on a heady play, breaking for the plate on a pretty shallow fly ball in foul territory and making it home safely when Philadelphia third baseman Reid Brignac couldn’t get his momentum going towards the plate well enough to make a strong throw.
New York evened it up in the top of the 6th. Eric Campbell led off with a double down the line and Chris Young reached on an error by Brignac before Curtis Granderson hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Soup with the tying run.
Both pitchers really settled in as the game wore on, and Hamels struck out Campbell and Young with 2 runners on base to finish his solid 7-inning outing. Niese ended up going 8 and could have gone deeper if not for a bizzare play on the bases. With Niese up to bat against Cesar Jimenez with 2 outs in the top of the 8th, Ruben Tejada tried to steal 2nd and managed to beat the throw. However, Tejada overslid the bag and was tagged out by Jimmy Rollins to end the inning, and after Jon easily got through the bottom of the 8th, Terry Collins decided he didn’t want a pitcher leading off the 9th inning and sent Bobby Abreu in to hit for Niese.
Abreu and the Mets went down in order against Jonathan Papelbon, and with Niese out of the ballgame, Scott Rice came in to pitch to Ryan Howard to start the bottom of the 9th. Rice retired the Philly slugger before being pulled for Vic Black, who retired John Mayberry and Cesar Hernandez to send the 2 teams to extras for the 3rd day in a row.
The Mets went down quietly against Justin De Fratus in the top of the 10th, and Josh Edgin struck out the side in the bottom of the frame. The Mets finally ended the scoring drought in the top of the 11th, when Travis d’Arnaud drew a 2-out walk and Lucas Duda hit a shot over the wall in left-center to put New York up 4-2.
Jenrry Mejia came in to close things out in the bottom of the 11th, and made things a bit tight by surrendering a solo shot to Marlon Byrd to cut the Mets’ lead to 1. However, Mejia retired Ruiz and Howard to end the ballgame and give the Mets another win over the Phillies.
The Mets certainly love playing baseball, don’t they? We went into extras once again in this game and it looked like we might be in store for yet another marathon, but thankfully Duda stepped up in the 11th. When I’m at college in Philly next year, I’m going to want the Mets @ Phillies games to last as long as possible, of course. But this weekend, The Mets have found a way to make it exhausting to sit on the couch and watch the TV…
Our bullpen has been great lately, and with the Farnsworths and Valverdes having been cast aside, the pen is full of young, exciting arms we can really look forward to watching. The starting pitching has been great as well, although it’s a shame Niese couldn’t get a win today (or go 10 innings, which would have been awesome to watch).
I really hated Terry’s decision to pull Niese after 8, though. Who cares if the out he makes starts the 9th instead of ending the 8th? Is there that much of a difference? And it’s not like there’s more than, say, a 30% chance of Abreu getting on base anyway… good thing we ended up getting the win anyway to make this a bit of a moot point. But I “blame” Terry for what happened there, not Tejada. It’s not like Tejada didn’t get to the bag on time…
Juan Lagares left the game early after aggravating his rib injury. I really hope he’s OK… he’s one of my favorite players, he’s been one of our best, and we’re suddenly a bit shallow in the outfield with Eric Young out and Chris Young struggling. Hopefully Lagares can be healed by 2 or 3 games off and avoid the DL.
Murphy makes about 2 or 3 “Damnit, Murph!” plays every week, but he also makes some really nice plays out there, and he did that today with a lunging stab in the hole and a spinning throw to nab the runner at first.
Wright hit a double today, hopefully the “Singles Critics” will be quieted for a few hours.
Today’s triumph gives us a series win over the Phillies. I love it. Let’s make it a convincing win by beating them tomorrow and taking 4 out of 5 on the road. And can we please do it in 9 innings, this time?
Up Next: The Mets will finish up their series with the Phillies tomorrow night at Citizens Bank Park. Bartolo Colon (4-5, 4.73 ERA) will face off against The Artist Formerly Known As Fausto Carmona (2-2, 3.76 ERA) at 7:05 PM in Philadelphia.