The Mets (17-19) beat the Phillies (17-19) by a score of 5-4 in 11 innings on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field, snapping a 5-game losing streak and salvaging the final game of their 3-game series with Philadelphia.
Jon Niese got the start for the Mets and pitched well, going 6 innings and striking out 6 Phillies, allowing 3 runs on 8 hits and a walk. Niese was better than the numbers indicated, but would be victimized by some bad luck and some bad defense (more on that in a bit).
The Mets jumped out to a lead in the 1st inning against Cole Hamels. Eric Young led off with a single, stole 2nd, and advanced to 3rd on a bad throw. After Daniel Murphy walked, David Wright singld to left to score EY and put runners on the corners with no outs. However, the Mets would fail to capitalize further on this opportunity. Chris Young struck out, Eric Campbell grounded out to the pitcher, and Juan Lagares whiffed to end the inning.
After the Mets let them off the hook in the bottom of the 1st, the Phillies quickly struck back in the top of the 2nd. Will Nieves and Cody Asche each hit 2-out doubles to tie it up at 1-1.
Niese struck out the side in the top of the 3rd, but the Mets wasted another chance to score in the bottom of the frame. Daniel Murphy doubled down the line in left, but Wright flew out and Chris Young struck out to get Hamels out of the inning.
Niese ran into some tough luck in the top of the fourth. Ryan Howard hit a weak grounder to short, which would have been a routine play if the Mets had not had the shift on against the big lefty. Marlon Byrd followed him up with a double to the wall in center, bringing Dominic Brown to the plate with runners on 2nd and 3rd and none out. Brown hit an easy grounder to 1st, and Campbell, after a brief hesitation, decided to gun for the slow-footed Howard at the plate. The throw was well on time, but off line. Anthony Recker caught the ball, but was in bad position, and was unable to put the tag on an inexplicably evasive Ryan Howard, who scored to make it 2-1. Will Nieves hit a soft grounder to short to bring home Byrd and make it 3-1 Phillies, but Niese was able to escape the inning before things got truly out of hand.
The Mets “Mets-d” (is that a verb yet?) away another chance to score in the bottom of the 4th. Eric Campbell led off with a single (his first major league hit) and Lagares singled through the hole at short to put runners on 1st and 2nd with 0 outs. Anthony Recker got ahead on Hamels 3-0, and, with the green light, hit a deep fly ball to left field. However, the ball died just before it got to the wall, in typically agonizing fashion. After Ruben Tejada worked a walk, Jon Niese struck out and Eric Young grounded out to end the inning.
Niese worked in and out of trouble in the 6th to end his afternoon, and the Mets had a chance to get him off the hook in the bottom half. Soup (I may refer to Campbell as Soup once in awhile, so be on your toes) led the inning off with a walk, and with 2 outs, Ruben Tejada doubled into the gap to put runners at 2nd and third. Curtis Granderson pinch-hit for Niese and fulfilled his daily strikeout quota to end the inning.
Daisuke Matsuzaka came in to replace Niese in the top of the 7th and cruised through the inning with a Jimmy Rollins walk as the lone blemish. Eric Young led off the bottom of the 7th with a routine grounder to 3rd, but after Cody Asche took his time (for some reason) it turned into a bang-bang play at the bag with EY flying down the line. Young was called out, but Terry Collins immediately ran out of the dugout to challenge the call. After a lengthy review in which replays showed that Young appeared to be safe, the umps upheld the original call, presumably on the grounds that there was not sufficient evidence to reverse the ruling. The next hitter, Daniel Murphy, hit a ball into the gap in right field which would have probably scored EY, but alas, the Mets would once again come away without a run as Wright struck out and Young flied out to center.
After Matsuzaka worked another hitless inning in the top of the 8th, the Mets threatened again in the bottom of the inning when Recker singled and Tejada walked with 2 outs against Mario Hollands. Terry brought in Travis d’Arnaud (a day after pulling him in a huge spot), who took a called strike three down the middle to send it to the 9th with the Phillies up 3-1.
The Mets would make that insurance run one of great significance by rallying in the bottom of the 9th. Eric Young led off against Antonio Bastardo with a double down the left-field line and Daniel Murphy
killed the rally made it a 1-run game by hitting a bomb over the wall in right. After Wright struck out, Chris Young snapped an 0-for-18 skid by doubling off the wall in left. Roberto Hernandez (Fausto Carmona), who had started game 1 of the series, came in to face pinch-hitter Bobby Abreu, who lined one to the hole on the right side. A diving Utley put a glove on it, holding CY at 3rd, but was unable to reel it in, and Abreu reached with a single. The next hitter, Lagares, tied it up by hitting a grounder to short which was too slow for the Phillies to turn 2. With the winning run on 2nd, Recker struck out to send the game to extras.
Jeurys Familia worked a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 10th, and the Mets almost won it in the bottom half. Eric Young hit a 2-out single against Jeff Manship and promptly swiped his 2nd bag of the ballgame. After Manship walked Murphy to get to Wright, Manship got the captain to roll one over to short to end the inning.
Chris Young got the Mets’ turn at-bat started with a single and moved to 2nd on a pinch-hit sac-bunt by Zack Wheeler. Manship walked Lagares to get to Recker, who hit one towards the hole on the left side which seemed destined for the outfield. A diving Brignac pounced on the ball to keep CY from scoring, but was unable to make the play on Recker. With the bases loaded and 1 out, Ruben Tejada lined one into left field to send the Mets home with a win.
The Mets really needed this win, and they got it, but they made it as hard on themselves as they possibly could. The Mets can’t afford to keep leaving so many guys on base. The Mets have been the victims of some bad luck and bad officiating lately, but their planning and execution have been poor as well. Hopefully the Mets can ride the emotional wave of this victory into the Bronx tomorrow night.
David Wright had an RBI today, but came up empty in some big spots. Still, he has been hitting the ball pretty well recently, and he made a great play in the field in extras to help out Familia, so overall, I’m not worried about our franchise player.
Chris Young struggled early in the game, but he redeemed himself with big hits in the 9th and in the 11th. He also ran into some tough luck in the middle innings when a rocket off of his bat ended up in Dominic Brown’s glove. It was good to see CY snap his skid today; let’s hope he can get some more big hits against the Yankees.
Ruben Tejada had a nice game, especially at the plate. I can’t believe I just wrote that. But anyway, Ruben hit a couple balls hard, had some long at-bats, and, of course, had the game-winner in the 11th. Maybe he felt the heat from Wilmer Flores…
Niese has been great this season, and he was solid once again today, despite the fact that his line in the box score will only look decent in the papers tomorrow (if anybody still reads the papers instead of MMO). With the bullpen and offense both performing inconsistently, the Mets need their starting pitching to be as steady as possible.
Familia has looked solid lately, and it looks like getting regular work is working wonders for the hard-throwing righty. Hopefully Terry keeps getting him action, but avoids running him into the ground…
The Mets wasted opportunities all game long, but got the big hits when their backs were against the wall. A win is a win, and we were in desperate need of one, so in the end, the Mets made it a Happy Mother’s Day for all of us.