|Justin Turner follows through on a single to score Ronny Paulino in the fifth inning against the Marlins. (NYTimes.com)|
Nick Evans' RBI singles put New York ahead three separate times, including for the final time in the 12th, as the Mets took a marathon from the Marlins, 7-4.
The Good Stuff:
- In the 6th, 8th, and finally the 12th, Nick Evans came up to bat with men in scoring position. All three times, the stand-in first baseman came through in the clutch, driving them all home with hard singles.
- Much like Lucas Duda earlier this season, Evans has overcome a slow start to put his name in the hat for a starting spot next season. He's brought up his average from the mid-.100s to .293, and since becoming basically an everyday player in wake of Daniel Murphy's injury, he's been red-hot. Try this on for size: in his last 21 games (15 starts), he's hit .354 with an OPS of .986 and 14 RBIs. He's not walking very often, but other than that he's been fantastic, plus solid as a rock at first base.
- It's a problem I'm sure Terry Collins wouldn't mind having, but he might have it for next year: where are we gonna put all these young guys? With three or four roster spots for six guys (Evans, Duda, Davis, Tejada, Murphy, Turner), who's gonna get the nod? That sparsity of availability ensures that the last three weeks of the season will still be exciting.
- Back to the game. Angel Pagan also had a big night at the plate, going 3-6 with an RBI, a pair of runs and a pair of doubles. Justin Turner also joins the 3-hit club for the night, going 3-4 with an RBI. And Jose Reyes, who was 0-3 going into the 9th inning, bolstered his batting average with a 3-6 night, including a run and an RBI in the pivotal 12th.
- Let's focus on that 12th for another second: in a marathon game (delayed by a lengthy rain and extra innings), this inning felt like its own game itself. Pagan led off with a single, then Jason Bay's double put them both in scoring position. After Evans' latest heroics, Ronny Paulino struck out on 4 pitches. Then up came Ruben Tejada. The end result was a strikeout, but you still call it a successful at-bat. Why? Because he took up 11 pitches, helping to wipe out Florida reliever Jose Ceda. It allowed Reyes to single in another run and Turner to reach on a walk (after a 9-pitch plate appearance; two guys made Ceda spend 20 pitches). That was it for Ceda, and then Duda was forced in after four misplaced pitches by the new guy (Steve Cishek). New York got three runs in that 12th inning, and while it wasn't the flashiest of displays, it was impressive to say the least.
- In case you forgot, Miguel Batista had a solid start to this game: 1 run on 5 hits in 6 innings. He walked 4, but simply bent and didn't break. Pedro Beato and Tim Byrdak got through most of the 10th and 11th, and after a fielding error put the winning run 90 feet from home in the 11th, Ryota Igarashi came in for a clutch strikeout to end the threat and pick up the win. After the Mets' 12th, Josh Stinson picked up a legendary first career save, 1-2-3.
- Keep in mind, the only reason we had that thrilling 12th was because Bobby Parnell coughed up the lead in the 9th. Up 4-2 with two on, Parnell threw fastball hitter Mike Cameron 3 straight fastballs. The result? A two-run double that tied the game and put the win in doubt. Parnell has 5 saves on the year and 4 blown save chances. Maybe he isn't the future of the bullpen. If he can't manage to get out of Washington and Florida with saves, can he do it against the Phillies or Braves?
What more is there to say about this one? This was a game to remember, even if no one was there to see it in the end (by SNY's rough estimates, around 300 people will still in the stadium for the 12th).
The Mets bit adieu to the Stadium of Many Names and the "Florida" Marlins this afternoon; the next time they'll meet, it will be at the Marlins' new ballpark (presumably with more people in it) against the Miami Marlins. Let's make it a good one, fellas. Let's send the fans away with one more good memory of playing this incarnation of the Fish Boys.