|Angel Pagan after hitting a two-run homer. The Mets reached .500 for the first time since May 20. (NYTimes.com)|
Angel Pagan hit his second home run of the year and four Met pitchers combined for a 2-hit shutout, defeating the Braves 4-0 to reach .500.
The Good Stuff:
- According to old and arcane baseball rules, a starter must pitch 5 innings in order to qualify for a victory. Because the second delay of the night came after the 4th, it means Dillon Gee does not get win #8 tonight...even if he sure as heck deserved it. Gee got the Mets rolling by keeping the Braves from doing so, allowing 1 hit, walking 2, and striking out 5. The win still means that New York has won every game (10) in which Gee started off on the hill.
- Tonight's win is credited to Bobby Parnell. After DJ Carrasco's 2 perfect innings, Parnell kept the ball rolling in a big way. He struck out the side in the 7th and fanned 2 more in the 8th, allowing just 1 hit. A good majority of his pitches were in the 97-99 mph range. I'm excited about this guy. If he can stay healthy and keep that arm of his, we could be seeing the Majors' next lockdown closer in a couple years.
- In the meantime, our current closer, Fransisco Rodriguez, came on and pitched a perfect 9th, finishing a 4-man, 2-hit shutout.
- On the Mets' side of the plate, this game was over one out into the game. Jose Reyes led off with a double over the head of right fielder Jason Heyward, then advanced to third on Heyward's error. Ruben Tejada hit a groundball to the shortstop to score Reyes, and New York had an early 1-0 lead. Reyes finished the game 1-4 with that run and an RBI groundout in the 7th (which would have been a bases-clearing XBH if not for an outstanding defensive play by first baseman Eric Hinske).
- In the 4th, Daniel Murphy led off with a single. Angel Pagan then came up and hit a towering shot down the right field line, which just stayed fair and cleared the fence for a home run. With two more hits, Pagan is hitting .338 since his return from the DL, bringing his average for the year up from a dismal .159 to a less-than-dismal .252, only 8 points below what Jeter's doing in the Bronx.
- On the other side, Pagan had the "c'mon, man!" moment of the game. After his second hit, a two-out single in the 8th, Angel attempted to steal second. He appeared to beat the throw, but failed to slide and was caught. Failed to slide. Trying to steal second. C'mon, man!
The third time truly is the charm. In their third attempt this week, the Mets finally succeeded in reaching the .500 mark. And with two Marlins losses today, New York is securely in 3rd place in the NL East, and only 3.5 games out of the Wild Card. Perhaps this stay at .500 will be our last...in a good way. Perhaps crossing this threshold is the catalyst this team needs to make a legitimate run.
But before we start looking ahead, sweeping Atlanta is the top priority. A win tomorrow will give New York a winning record for the first time since they were 3-2. Afterwards, we return home for the next round of (grr) Interleague Play. A sweep over the division rivals would be a huge boost.