|Mets players mob Lucas Duda after he hit a walk-off RBI in the ninth inning. (NYTimes.com)|
Lucas Duda's walk-off single in the bottom of the 9th capped a 4-run comeback and the Mets snatched victory from the cliched jaws of defeat, overcoming the Padres 9-8.
The Good Stuff:
- Let's start in the 8th. New York was down 8-4, and things looked grim. A strikeout, single, and walk later, enter Mike Baxter, called up yesterday after injuries to Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy. On the first pitch he saw in his team debut (against his former team, no less), Queens native Baxter ripped an RBI double to left. Ronny Paulino then brought home another on a sac fly to make it 8-6.
- So the deficit was halved, but the Mets still had to face one of the top closers in the game: Heath Bell. The Amazin's weren't about to go down quietly, though. Jason Pridie led off with a single, then after Angel Pagan struck out, Justin Turner hit a single. Up came David Wright, not known for his clutch hitting. Image changed: Wright lashed a single up the middle to score Pridie and make it 8-7. Lucas Duda then came up to bat. A rattled Bell then threw a wild pitch, allowing both runners to advance into scoring position. Duda, auditioning for the role of "cleanup," made the most of his chance, grounding a single into right center, scoring both, and setting off a wild celebration for those who remained at Citi Field (not to mention Willie Harris and his whipped cream pie to the face).
- This game had it all. Believe it or not, there was even a power surge in the early innings. Angel Pagan led off the game with a home run, then Jason Bay led off the 2nd with his 200th career longball. Justin Turner singled in the 3rd, then David Wright blasted one of his own into the stands, giving the Mets 4 runs, all of which they would need.
- (Think Church Lady when you read this) Gee, I wonder...what could have let the Padres back into the game and given up a 4-spot in the top of the 8th? Oh, I *just* don't know, could it be...*pitching*??? Why yes: pitching. Mike Pelfrey allowed 4 of those runs, and Pedro Beato & Ryota Igarashi allowed the other 4 in the 8th to one of the worst offensive teams in the league.
In his address to the Dartmouth Class of 2011 this spring, Conan O'Brien said that "few things are more liberating than having your worst fears realized." Yesterday, the New York Mets had their worst fears realized: they lost their two leading hitters, their game, their series, and their playoff chances. And yet, the season was not over: Terry Collins and his team still had 49 games left to play in 2011. They couldn't just curl up in a corner and die. They needed to play on. So, with nothing left to lose, the Mets played on. And tonight, they won. Thrillingly.