Mets Game 114: Win Over Padres
Mets 5 Padres 3
The bullpen blew another one for Johan … but David Wright saved the win with a ninth-inning, two-out, two-run homer.
Wright gets the save, and Aaron Heilman, of all people, gets the win. Good for Aaron, who needs something to help build back his confidence.
Johan Santana did his part, pitching seven stellar innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks, striking out 7. He was removed after 104 pitches and back-to-back singles by the Padres to start the 8th.
Duaner Sanchez threw one pitch in relief, hitting Scott Hairston to load the bases. Pedro Feliciano was brought in to face Brian Giles, who grounded into a fielder’s choice for the first out of the inning (the out was made at home so no one scored). Adrian Gonzalez, however, followed with an RBI single just past an outstretched Jose Reyes that should have scored two, but Hairston ignored third base coach Glenn Hoffman’s waving him home and instead slid into third base. Joe Smith was then brought in, and he induced a grounder from Kevin Kouzmanoff up the middle. Argenis Reyes made a diving stop, smothering the ball, and flipped to Jose, who threw a ball in the dirt and up the line to first. Nick Evans made a spectacular dive to scoop the throw, and somehow kept his foot on the first base bag to double up Kouzmanoff and end the inning.
The spectacular defense, however, was for naught, as Scott Schoeneweis gave up a game-tying homer in the ninth to Jody Gerut before yielding to Heilman, who finished the inning without further damage.
The kids in the corners did it again. Nick Evans drove in two runs, and Daniel Murphy drove in the third, accounting for all of the Mets’ scoring before Wright’s blast.
Beautiful hit-and-run execution by Robinson Cancel in the sixth to push Murphy to third base on a single to right field. That’s not the first time Cancel has poked a perfect grounder past an infielder during a hit-and-run. He may not be a great hitter, but he’s a good situational guy. Little things like that win ballgames. Of course, Cancel also threw the ball to second base after a force out at home and a runner on third, and luckily didn’t throw it away. Little things like that can lose ballgames.
Speaking of little things, and Murphy, Daniel Murphy has been outstanding when it comes to working the count and getting a good pitch to hit. Both Murphy and Nick Evans have been very patient and selective, and taking easy swings at the ball. In other words, neither are trying to hit homeruns, or “jack” the ball. As Murphy stated in a pre-game interview with Kevin Burkhardt, he’s “not trying to do too much”. If these kids stay with that approach, they will continue to spray singles and doubles around the field and my squawking for a big veteran bat will be silenced.
In the third, it was noted by Ralph Kiner that Jose Reyes took a wide turn after rounding first base. This is actually a strategy by Reyes to set himself up for a triple. The hit was guaranteed to be a double, so there was no need for Reyes to get to second base as fast as possible. Usually, a player will start taking a wide turn prior to hitting the first base bag, to put himself on a straight path to second base for a double. Reyes, however, smelled a triple immediately, and took very little turn before first base, so that the resulting momentum of his body would cause a wide turn as he approached second base. This “banana” running path going into second puts his body in a straight sprint from second to third.
Who the heck is Jody Gerut? The most loyal MetsToday readers might remember me mentioning him last November, when he was ripping up the Venezuelan winter league and again in January after he signed with San Diego. My thoughts then: “The Padres might have a find in this guy.”
Jerry Manuel, during the SNY postgame, said that it’s OK for the bullpen to struggle with the ninth inning, as long as they’re winning the games. Thanks Jerry. Funny how people don’t sound like blithering idiots when they have a winning record.