Mets Game 32: Win Over Braves
Mets 4 Braves 3
Though it wasn’t quite as impressive as the first seven innings of the opener, game two also delivered an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel.
Mike Pelfrey and Jair Jurrjens set down batters like bowling pins for the bulk of the game, and by the time both exited their numbers were similar. Jurrjens allowed two earned runs on seven hits and one walk through 7 2/3 innings, and Pelfrey nearly matched that performance — two earned runs on six hits and a walk in 7 innings. He had three two-inning outings in 2006.
However, after the starters exited, the contest became a battle of the bullpens. And in the end, it was awful pitching that decided the game.
After showing some METtle and fighting back to tie the game, the Mets won the game in the tenth inning on a walk-off walk with the bases loaded.
Braves reliever Jeff Bennett got two very quick outs before Jose Reyes hustled out an infield single. Then, concerned with the speedy Reyes at first, Bennett made the mistake of using the slide-step for his first two pitches to Alex Cora, and fell behind 2-0. On the third pitch, he used his regular motion and got a strike, but that was the one Reyes chose to steal on and took second base easily. (Note to the kids: scrap the slide step — it almost never works). Already down in the count 2-1 and Reyes standing on second, Bobby Cox made the next nonsensical but universally accepted move of intentionally walking Cora to create a force. As if on cue, Bennett then walked Ramon Castro, creating zero room for error, and proceeded to walk Carlos Beltran on six pitches to force in Reyes and give the game to the Mets.
Bad decisions, bad baseball, but the in the end the Mets take the game. Five years ago it would’ve been the Mets walking three straight batters with two outs and giving the game to the Braves.
Francisco Rodriguez collected the win with a two-inning effort.
Can anyone explain why Mike Pelfrey was removed from the game prior to the 8th inning after 95 pitches and his spot in the order nowhere close to coming up? Despite the two runs scratched out by the Braves, Big Pelf was hurling a brilliant game, and seemed to be more dominant as the game went on. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
K-Rod hadn’t pitched more than one inning in any regular-season MLB game since 2007. He pitched four outs or more eight times that year, and two full innings four times.
K-Rod and J.J. Putz combined for 49 pitches in the game. I imagine that neither will be available for Wednesday afternoon’s game.
Alex Cora was moved to first base in the tenth inning — a position he’s played only one other time in his MLB career — and used a fielder’s glove rather than a first baseman’s mitt.
Jerry Manuel stunned Bobby Cox by pinch-hitting Gary Sheffield for Danny Murphy after Cox brought in LOOGY Eric O’Flaherty in the eighth. Cox obviously read the scouting reports detailing Manuel and the Mets’ over the top opinion of the young lefthanded hitter. Sheffield was equally shocked — so shocked that he forgot to run to first on the grounder he hit to Casey Kotchman.
The Mets did not put a leadoff batter on base until the eighth inning, when Jeremy Reed ripped a single up the middle.
Speaking of Reed, how can you keep him out of the lineup? His defense is stellar (other than a poorly played line drive off the bat of Yunel Escobar) and he’s hitting the ball all over the place — just as he did in spring training. He does everything — fields, throws, hits, and runs — yet the Mets insist on making sure the one-dimensional Danny Murphy plays as often as possible. Go figure.
And speaking of Escobar, had he run hard out of the box on that line drive, he would’ve had a standup triple. If I’m Bobby Cox, I’m ripping into him in the clubhouse after the game and sitting him down for a game.
And speaking of Wednesday’s game, I’ll be there with my dad, a combination birthday/father’s day present. If you are also attending, send me an email and maybe we can meet at the Big Apple Beers stand for a beverage.
Next Mets Game
The Mets close out the series and their homestand with an afternoon game that begins at 1:10 PM. Jonathan Niese pitches against Jo-Jo Reyes.