Mets Game 24: Win Over Pirates

Mets 4 Pirates 4

It took eleven innings on a chilly night in Flushing, but the Mets eventually wore out the Pirates thanks to some good old fashioned small ball.

Endy Chavez — who had three hits on the night — ripped a leadoff single in the bottom of the 11th, advanced to second on a balk, moved to third on a bunt by Marlon Anderson, and scored on a booming fly ball to the deep rightfield corner that went unplayed by Xavier Nady (who was appropriately playing shallow to guard against the bloop or line drive single).

Johan Santana — who hasn’t had his best stuff yet this year — didn’t have his best stuff but battled through six innings and 114 pitches to keep the Mets in the game. When he left, he had a 4-2 lead, but the Pirates tied it against the Mets’ back end of the bullpen, scoring a run each against Duaner Sanchez and Billy Wagner.

Notes

Wow! Willie pulled off a double switch! In the 11th inning, Randolph expertly inserted Jorge Sosa on the mound and Marlon Anderson at first base. The move was made after Carlos Delgado made the last out of the 10th, so Sosa would not bat for a really long time. Well done, Willie! Randolph also attempted a squeeze with Luis Castillo earlier in the game, proving that he is aware of his team’s presence in the National League. Next lesson: wheel play.

Remarkably, Aaron Heilman appeared in the game and did not give up a run. However, it took a heroic tag at home plate after a wild pitch by Scott Schoeneweis to make that reality.

Jose Reyes may have finally busted out of his slump. Reyes reached base six times, going 3-for-3 with three walks, a run, and an RBI, and was letting the ball get deep — key to his success. (That means he’s waiting longer on pitches before committing to swinging.) He has such quick hands, all he needs to do is trust them — something he tends to get away from. This isn’t rare — it’s something nearly all hitters have an issue with at one point or another.

Billy Wagner finally allowed a run, but it was unearned because leadoff batter Ryan Doumit reached base on Reyes’ fifth error of the season. Is that kid on drugs?

This win marked the Mets’ third in a row, their third walkoff victory, and put them three games over .500.

Hey, welcome back Straw Man! Darryl Strawberry appeared on SNY’s Nissan Post Game Live to discuss the contest with Matt Yallof. Straw looked good, and sounded good, and had good things to say. After his rollercoaster life — the result of more bad decisions than good — it’s great to see him come full circle and be (sort of) back with Mets.


Next Game

The Pirates return to Shea for a day game, it will be a 1:10 PM start. Oliver Perez will face his old team and Tom Gorzelanny. Weather reports say it will be sunny and in the mid-50s.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. sincekindergarten April 30, 2008 at 4:30 am
    I went to bed after seven, so I didn’t see Duaner and Reyes and Wags give the lead back. Aaron Heilman owes Scott Schoeneweis a steak or two for getting him out of that inning without a run scored. Yeah, The Schoe did what he could to give that run to the Bucs, but if you looked real closely at the replay, Bautista’s hand hit the dirt just before the plate, then came up and went over the plate by about an inch (dirt was under his hand). I don’t know if Bautista’s hand grazed the plate as it was bouncing up; the umpire must have thought so.

    Said umpire’s strike zone was ridiculous, too. He struck out Church with a pitch that was is the right hand batter’s box.

    Did you see Santana–who used Carlos Santana’s “Smooth” as his batting music–and Feliciano talking about the grip on the ball in the dugout? I thought it was pretty funny what Feliciano’s solution seemed to be–“Take off your hat and wipe your brow. You get some sweat on the ball, and you can use it for your grip.” Feliciano seemed to stress the point with a smile.

  2. isuzudude April 30, 2008 at 12:15 pm
    Joe – thanks for pointing out the positives of Willie’s game management last night. Far too many times the things he does well go unnoticed or unannounced. And not only did he attempt a squeeze and pull off a double switch, he also left in Santana to try and clean up his own mess in the 6th, and made all the right bullpen moves. It’s very funny how some fans blame Willie for being at the root of every loss, but give him no credit for making the right decisions in the wins. Must be the same lame brains who get a kick out of booing after every out the Mets make.