|Ike Davis hit a three-run home run in the eighth inning against the Phillies' relief pitcher Jose Contreras. (NYTimes.com)|
The Mets held their own against Cliff Lee and pounded out 8 runs in the last 3 innings, highlighted by an absolute bomb by Ike Davis, to take the game and a sweep of the Phillies, 10-6.
The Good Stuff:
- You could sense it for 6 whole innings: the Mets were biding their time. Yes, they were down 4-2 and had only 9 outs to make up the deficit. But the hard part was done. Cliff Lee was gone from the game. Terry's boys had held their own against him, getting 2 runs across the plate and keeping the game in striking distance. The Phillies were sending out a bullpen they had gotten to each of the last two nights. Baseball is a game of momentum, which the Mets had an ample supply of, and Kyle Kendrick was about to feel its blunt force.
- Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who started on the bench against lefty Lee, led off the 7th with a pinch-hit walk. Justin Turner then followed with a double to cut the deficit in half. After Ike Davis doubled and sent Turner to third (see Bad Stuff for clarification on that seemingly non sequitur), light-hitting reserve catcher Rob Johnson took a 4-pitch walk. Lucas Duda came up to pinch hit and was plunked in the back. Tie ballgame. Andres Torres put the team up with an RBI groundout the next at-bat and Daniel Murphy hit into a double play to end the inning, so even with a 5-4 lead you knew the Mets were hungry for more. The Feast of Kendrick was far from over.
- After having already blown the save, Charlie Manuel still elected to send Kendrick out for the start of the 8th. He was rewarded with the quickest Groundhog Day I've seen in a while: David Wright and Scott Hairston led off with back-to-back doubles, making it 6-4. That was it for Kenrick, who was finally relieved for old man Jose Contreras. He got Nieuwenhuis to strike out swinging and Turner to hit a long fly to right, but the usually sure-handed Hunter Pence had a spell of generosity, dropping the ball and allowing Justin to reach on an error. Enter Ike Davis, already hot from the last at bat, looking to put the final nail in the Philly coffin. He brought the biggest hammer he could, blasting a 2-0 pitch off the second deck of Citizens Bank Park to make it 9-4 and send a mass of Phillies fans on an exodus to the gates.
- It was almost an afterthought, but the Mets added one more in the 9th as Andres Torres went deep off Brian Sanches for his first home run with the team. It was the first time all year New York made it for double-digit runs.
- In all the chaos the Mets' bats caused tonight, here's the statlines that really stand out:
- Ike Davis: 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBIs (should've been 4 - see Bad Stuff)
- Andres Torres: 2-4, 3B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBIs
- David Wright/Scott Hairston: 2-5, 2B, R, RBI each
- Tim Byrdak got out of the 6th inning and picked up the W, and Manny Acosta followed with another nice outing, a 1-2-3 affair in the 7th. Jon Rauch and DJ Carrasco (making his first appearance of the year) gave up runs but did enough to keep the Phillies mostly at bay.
- Another stat that may go unnoticed, but was pointed out by Howie Rose and Ed Coleman on WFAN: New York pitchers didn't issue any walks. 15 hits, yes, but 0 BBs. That'll do.
- Now about that 4th RBI that Ike should've had...Justin Turner was on second after his RBI double but only went to third on Davis's double, thinking Shane Victorino had a play on it and going back to second to tag. No harm in the game, Turner would eventually score on Lucas Duda's HBP, but I think it merits some exasperation. GOB, would you do the honors?
- Dillon Gee went 5.2 innings, allowing 4 runs on 10 hits. Yes, he did keep Philadelphia from getting too far in front, but it goes under Bad Stuff because I think he can do much better, and probably should have against a flimsy Philly offense.
- ...Led by Mr. Flimsy-at-the-Plate, second baseman Freddy Galvis. Coming into tonight's game, the rookie was hitting .189 and an OPS of .504. Tonight Galvis went 3-4 with a double, triple, run and 3 RBIs. Hey GOB, you still around?
This was about the most Amazin' series the Mets could have possibly had: a sweep of the archrival Phillies (their first in Philadelphia since 2006), comeback wins in all 3 games against a less-then-stellar bullpen (after all these years of having the same condition ourselves, I'll bet it was nice for New York fans to have a healthy dose of schadenfreude). In addition to a trifecta of wins in the City of Brotherly Love, the Mets have achieved another trifecta of accomplishments: a 5-game winning streak, their longest of the season; 5 games over .500 at 18-13, their highest point in nearly 2 years; and 11 come-from-behind wins, good for tops in all the major leagues.
Tonight will do wonders for the team's momentum going down to South Beach to break in Marlins Park. All I can say is, watch out Heath Bell. We're about to have some fun in the sun.