Saturday, May 4, 2013

Game #27: Mets 7, Braves 5 (10)

In a week defined by blown leads, it was nice to see our boys do the blowing up tonight.

David Wright blasted a mammoth home run off Craig Kimbrel in the 9th and Ruben Tejada brought home Jordany Valdespin in the 10th inning to give the Mets a dramatic comeback win over the Braves, 7-5.

The Good Stuff:

  • New York got quick runs in the 1st when John Buck launched his 10th home run of the young season, a two-run shot off Mike Minor. In the next inning, Lucas Duda hammered his own homer to make it 3-0 visitors.
  • Down 4-3 in the 8th, Marlon Byrd took the second pitch of the inning from Eric O'Flaherty and put it in the right field stands to tie the game. After Atlanta re-took the lead in the bottom of the 8th, David Wright came up against the "unhittable" Craig Kimbrel. They must have meant Kimbrel was unhittable the same way the Titanic was unsinkable: Wright got contact on a 97 mph fastball and deposited it ten rows back in right center, tying the game on the Mets' fourth longball of the night.
  • After Bobby Parnell got out of a jam in the bottom of the 9th, Terry Collins took over in the top of the 10th.
    • After two quick outs, Jordany Valdespin was sent up to pinch-hit and drew a rare walk, the first base-on-balls issued by the Braves all night.
    • Up to the plate next came not a pinch-hitter but Bobby Parnell, who stayed out of the way on the first strike from Jordan Walden as Valdespin swiped second base. Parnell was then brought back in favor of a pinch-hitter, Mike Baxter.
    • Baxter got himself hit in the foot to put two runners on for Ruben Tejada, who in his trademark fashion came back with two strikes to line a base hit over the shortstop's head to score a head-first-sliding Valdespin and give the Mets a 6-5 lead.
    • Daniel Murphy's base knock added one more insurance run to provide the final margin.
  • Jeurys Familia was then brought on and easily converted his first major-league save with a 1-2-3 inning, finishing off Dan Uggla with a wicked slider.
  • The Mets hit well in the clutch for what seems like the first time in a month, going 3-6 with RISP and stranding only two men (the last two in the 10th).
The Bad Stuff:
  • Shaun Marcum was not great in his second start, surrendering three runs and needing 87 pitches just to get 13 outs.
  • Scott Atchison and Brandon Lyon let Atlanta re-take the lead in the 7th and 8th innings respectively.
  • Ike Davis pinch-hit for Justin Turner in the 9th and feebly struck out on three pitches from Kimbrel.
Final Analysis:
A sudden power surge, cracking the Braves' bullpen, and some key managing by TC. What a way to win a ballgame! After a tough week of games, Mets fans were treated to one of the team's finest performances in its first visit to Turner Field without having to worry about Chipper Jones. No doubt he would have given Atlanta another lead in the 9th inning, but their loss is our gain.

Keith Hernandez was quick to point out Terry Collins's smart managing in the 10th inning, noting that Parnell was sent up in a situation where Valdespin was stealing flat-out; if he swiped the bag, Parnell would be relieved in favor of someone whose last clutch at-bat had come more recently than high school, and if he was caught, de facto bullpen ace Parnell would still be able to take the mound for the bottom of the frame. Smart moves from a guy whose instincts had been questioned even by me. Tonight those instincts led to a big W. If that is the result of me being proven wrong (at least for one night), by all means let me be wrong again.


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