Mets Game 77: Win Over Phillies
After going up 6-1, this game got a little too close for comfort.
Helped by a huge strike zone from home plate umpire Adam Dowdy, El Duque pitched six solid innings, striking out seven, walking two, and allowing three hits and two runs. His opponent, JD Durbin, did not fare as well from the expanded zone.
Durbin — who came into the game with a 94.50 ERA — was battered early and often by a sneak attack that has been coined “The Met Offensive”. Carlos Delgado’s 3-for-4 day was only part of the story, as the Mets pounded out 8 hits and 6 runs in Durbin’s four and two-thirds. As usual, the Mets scored first when David Wright hit a booming double to deep right-center in the second just before Delgado’s tater. Aaron Rowand countered with a solo homer in the bottom of the inning, but Jose Reyes blasted a shot over the right-center fence to make the score 3-1. Delgado nearly hit another homer in the fourth, but settled for a double, and was driven in by another two-bagger by Ramon Castro. With two outs, Ricky Ledee was intentionally walked, but El Duque spoiled the strategy by slapping a single to score Castro and send Ledee to third. The obviously rattled Durbin then uncorked a wild pitch, scoring Ledee with the Mets’ sixth run of the game.
After Rowand’s second-inning homer, El Duque set down 12 consecutive Phillies batters — but then gave up another solo shot to Chris Coste. Hernandez settled down to strike out Jimmy Rollins, induced a grounder from Michael Bourn, and then pitched around Chase Utley and Ryan Howard — walking both. The mini-rally was extinguised when Aaron Rowand went down swinging.
However, Guillermo Mota relieved Hernandez in the bottom of the seventh, and promptly gave up a hit to Greg Dobbs and a two-run homer to Wes Helms to close the gap to 6-4. Mota finished the inning without allowing another run, but the Phillies’ big bats were due up in the next inning.
Pedro Feliciano came on in the eighth, and did the exact thing he didn’t want to do: walk leadoff batter Michael Bourn, with Utley and Howard waiting behind him. Miraculously, Pedro escaped without allowing a run, getting both of the big guns to fly out before yielding to Aaron Heilman. True to form, Heilman let Bourn steal second and pinch-hitter Pat Burrell to single Bourn home to make the score 6-5. Luckily, Greg Dobbs flied out to end the inning.
The Mets could muster nothing close to a threat in the top of the ninth, so it was up to Billy Wagner to hold the slim lead. Welcomed by the Philly boo-birds, Billy struck out the side on 14 pitches to save the game.
The Mets might have had a rally going in the top of the seventh, after Jose Reyes led off with a single, but Reyes was called out stealing in a controversial call by umpire Dale Scott. It was close enough that Willie Randolph came running out of the dugout — and you know that’s a rare occurrence. Reyes was so peeved about the call, he expressed his displeasure again during warmups before the bottom of the seventh, and had to be restrained by Carlos Delgado.
Speaking of, somebody call 911 ! Carlos Delgado was kidnapped and an imposter is wearing his uniform!
My heart is palpitating, and I have cold sweats just thinking about what those nasty kidnappers are doing to poor Carlos. He’s a big man, yes, but gentle and kind. I don’t know if he can handle the vicious mental and physical abuses often applied to prisoners. Hopefully he’ll be found soon, before irreparable damage is done. Meantime, the man in Delgado’s jersey this afternoon had three hits, including a double, a homerun, two RBI and two runs scored. He likely would be the MVP of the game if not for the effort put out by Orlando Hernandez.
Only hours away, the Mets and Phils square off again at 7:05 PM, with John Maine pitching against Cole Hamels.