Sunday, April 29, 2012

Game #22: Mets 6, Rockies 5 (11)

Johan Santana throws six scoreless innings Sunday, allowing two hits and striking out five but he doesn’t factor in the decision as the bullpen blows a 4-0 lead in the eighth inning. (
This time, the third time was the charm.

Ike Davis's go-ahead single in the 11th gave New York their third lead of the afternoon as the Mets held on to beat the Rockies 6-5 and win the road series.

The Good Stuff:
  • With Old Man Jamie Moyer on the mound, the Mets were swinging early and often. David Wright's 2-run double got the ball rolling and Scott Hairston knocked in another in a 1st inning in which the team batted around.
  • Josh Thole added an insurance run in the top of the 5th with his first home run of the season and second of his career.
  • This year at least, Johan Santana isn't used to getting run support of...well, any kind. But he got it today and responded beautifully, going 6 scoreless, 2-hit innings, walking 3 while striking out 5. He was in line for his first W of the year...
  • ...Until he wasn't. Todd Helton's grand slam tied it at 4 in the 8th, but New York went back to work in the 10th. Mike Baxter knocked a pinch-hit single, and hometown hero Kirk Nieuwenhuis, after delivering with his glove with a perfect "Nieuwenheist" (thanks to Jon Presser, @metsjetsnets88, for coming up with that brilliant phrase) in the 5th, delivered with his bat and launched an opposite field double to score Baxter and make it 5-4. Nieuwenhuis finished the day 3-6 with a run and RBI in likely his last game in the leadoff slot for a while, what with Andres Torres returning to the lineup tomorrow.
  • So the Mets were in line to win again...until they weren't. Carlos Gonzalez's solo homer in the 10th tied it at 5, but the resilient Mets went back to work in the 11th. David Wright led off with a single (finishing his day 2-3 with 3 walks - the man gets on base - 2 runs and 2 RBIs), and Lucas Duda's single sent him to third. After Scott Hairston grounded into a force out, Ike Davis came up with something to prove. He had hit the ball well all day, collecting 2 hits previously, including his first double of the year, but came through in the clutch by knocking a groundball into left field to score Wright and make it 6-5.
  • This was a lead New York would not relinquish, as Ramon Ramirez retired the Rockies 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 11th to seal the deal.
  • Ruben Tejada also stayed hot, going 3-6 with a run, making it a whopping 10-17 for the series.
The Bad Stuff:
  • Well, there is the matter of having to win the game thrice. The first blown save came in the 8th: Jon Rauch, who had been spotless till this point, got 2 outs but loaded the bases on a hit and 2 walks. Tim Byrdak, also usually very good, was brought on to punch out pinch-hitting Todd Helton. Guess who punched who? With good friend Peyton Manning in the stands, Helton absolutely crushed the game-tying grand slam of the second deck in right field. That ball would have been out of any ballpark, not just Coors Field.
  • The second blown save happened when Frank Francisco took the mound in the 10th. Carlos Gonzalez saw a fastball right down Broadway and launched an absolute rope just over the high wall in right. Frank-Frank put the winning run on second before eventually getting out of it.
  • Still, the Mets shouldn't have even been in that situation: they scored 6 runs but pounded out a whopping 18 hits. A lot of it was great Colorado defense, which we saw throughout this series, but a lot of it was New York's continued inability to hit with ducks on the pond: the Mets went a dreadful 4-18 with RISP and stranded 14 men on base, double what they had on Gilligan's Island. Just a couple more runs against Old Man Moyer and we could be reading that column about Johan's first win that writers had to scrap once the ball left Helton's bat in the 8th.
Final Analysis:
...But a W is a W, and we'll take it all the way. New York went through the first half of its western road trip in good fashion, taking 2 straight from the Rockies after Friday night's trouncing. Johan pitched great, the offense is hitting, and Ike Davis appears to be coming out of his slump. All systems are go as the Mets take off for Houston tomorrow.


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