Mets Game 86: Win over Astros

Mets 5 Astros 3

It was a long, hard fight, and exactly the kind of game the Mets sorely needed to win.

Hard to say who the hero was in this game — the Mets’ bullpen, which shut out the Astros over ten innings, or Carlos Beltran, who had not only the game-winning hit but also the game-saving catch.

With two outs and a runner on third in the 14th, Beltran made an unbelievable, running basket catch up “Tal’s Hill” in deep centerfield on a drive off the bat of Luke Scott to end the inning and preserve the tie. Three innings later, the Mets finally scored — for the first time in ten innings — thanks to a basehit by Beltran that scored Jose Reyes with the go-ahead run.

The top of the 17th began with a walk to Reyes. Ruben Gotay fell behind 0-2, and Reyes took off for second on the pitch. Gotay slapped the ball into the hole left by shortstop Mark Loretta, who was covering second on the steal, sending Reyes to third. Beltran followed with a screaming line drive into right to score Reyes and land Gotay on third. David Wright then drove a ball through the drawn-in infield to score Gotay for an insurance run.

Billy Wagner came on in the bottom of the 17th to save the game for winning pitcher Aaron Sele.


The Astros had the winning run on second base with less than two out five times between the ninth and 17th, but were unable to push the run home.

Tom Glavine threw a fine game, allowing three runs on five hits and one walk in seven innings. Remarkably, Woody Williams matched him pitch for pitch and then some, pitching into the eighth inning and allowing just five hits himself — two of them homeruns. Unfortunately, the Mets were unable to score runs without hitting the ball over the fence (in regulation), as has been the case all too often this season.

Carlos Delgado continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-6 with his 14th homerun of the season. David Wright went 4-for-8 with a solo homer, two RBI, and two runs scored. Other than those two, the Mets’ lineup was pretty miserable — though both Gotay and Green each had three hits. As a team the Mets amassed 17 hits, but it was they were a quiet 17, with a bunch coming after two outs in an inning. Kind of hard to get anything going with that strategy.

Gotay’s slap through the hole on that 0-2 pitch was masterful. The pitch was off the outside part of the plate, and probably a ball, but he saw Loretta covering and simply put the bat in the way of the ball right toward the spot Loretta had vacated. Now that’s heads-up baseball.

In the top of the ninth, with Paul LoDuca on first with two out, Shawn Green hit a line drive single into center and LoDuca tried to make it to third but was thrown out to end the inning. It was a questionable move by LoDuca (don’t ever make the third out at third base), but he would have made it had he not looked back three times on his way there. Ocne he made the decision to go, he needed to put his head down and move forward.

In the bottom of the ninth, Pedro Feliciano bailed out Aaron Heilman with a huge strikeout of Lance Berkman, stranding men on first and second. Joe Smith had a similarly huge strikeout in the 12th, bailing out Scott Schoeneweis and leaving the bases loaded. Great performances all around by seven Mets relievers.

Paul LoDuca caught 16 innings, with both Ramon Castro and Sandy Alomar Jr. hanging around on the bench. Castro was finally brought in to catch the 17th. At that point, what was the difference?

Holy cow … Willie Randolph not only acknowledged Ruben Gotay’s presence in the game, but complimented him on his ability to have good at-bats and “grind it out”. Wow. What an epiphany! We may actually see Gotay play more than once every two blue moons now.

Next Game

The final game of the four-game series takes place at 2:05 PM EST. The Mets offer Dave Williams as the sacrificial lamb to the Astros beast known as Roy Oswalt.

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. JIMMYJ723 July 8, 2007 at 12:06 am
    Who was that imposter wearing a Delgado jersey and playing firstbase? I was getting flashbacks of John Olerud.

    Aaron Sele’s curveball was phenomenal. That catch by Beltran was one of the best I’ve ever seen. Gotay was great again. Is there any more room on that Ruben Gotay mancrush banwagon? I’m ready to hop on board.

    Willie looked like a spectator most of the game. After he figures out what a double-switch is, someone really needs to teach him what a hit-and-run is. We had plenty of chances to win this game earlier but who cares? That was one heck of a game !!! I really needed that after watching the Colorado series.

  2. sincekindergarten July 8, 2007 at 5:10 am
    I’ve said it before–there’s 60 games you’re going to lose no matter what, there’s 60 games you’re going to win no matter what, and the other 42 make up your standing in the division. This probably was one of the 60 we were going to win no matter what happened.

    Wags said that he warmed up nine times, 12 pitches each. He remarked that it’s the first complete game he’s ever pitched . . .

  3. fafhrd316 July 8, 2007 at 10:29 am
    Let’s also not forget that the Astros made some really nice fielding plays out there to rob the Mets of alot of good hits- so even though they had a “quiet” 17 hits it’s not like they weren’t trying.

    The biggest problem for the Mets right now is that they keep putting Lo Duca in the 6 hole, when he’s far better in the 2 hole. He keeps getting into double plays in the 6 hole. Argh. The only catcher that should be in the 6 hole is Castro, who has proven power numbers. Green should regularly be in the 6 hole, and they need to figure out what to do with the 7 and 8 spots. Maybe trade for a second baseman or a right fielder….

  4. sincekindergarten July 8, 2007 at 11:47 am
    Umm . . . if Green’s in the 6 slot (in your example), and you say that the Mets should trade for a RF, where do you have Green playing? 1B, or does Delgado (who seems to be hitting, finally) go away?

    BTW–I figure that Gotay’s the 2B of the future. The future may be a year or two away, though.

  5. joe July 8, 2007 at 12:20 pm
    I’d be surprised to see the Mets trade for a bat, but you never know. If that Alou guy ever returns, there’s your #6.

    As for Gotay, man-crush aside, check out this article on Flushing U from a few months ago:

    He was neck-and-neck with Robinson Cano in the minors, and I see no reason why he couldn’t evolve into a similar hitter.

  6. Micalpalyn July 8, 2007 at 12:38 pm
    gotay: He booted a DP and I thought there goes the doghouse. But he fielded a ball deep in RFand I swa some more range at different points. It is not far fetched to say someone (us?) put a big bug in Willie’s ear. But gotay was great last night.

    I had not seen that article. Interesting that he is compared to Cano. But Gotay has not booted grounders the way Cano does. At this point Willie needs to re-evaluate. In his 3-8 show Gotay saw lefties and righties (wow), and looked Ok) except against Mller. And Valentin looked reallly bad in his one AB. Gotay is now. He what Ahern and Kepp could not be. Who would be better? Hudson…too expensive. Feiipe Lopez or Jose Batista? Gotay is hitting .317 with Pop. Obviously some DP work is needed but that is one less hole to fill with PT he will be an all-star. And he is still 24. Valentin was re-signed as a super sub, now he can fit into that role. I’m sure he’ll still be here. And Green also can fill the bench and play some RF.

    Willie: I’d have put Easley in RF sooner and brought Castro into the game in the 10th.

    Glavine was his own worst enemy…as usual NOT challenging hitters and missing on the outside corner far too often. In this game the story was defense:

    a; Beltran the catch on the hill was great, but he took away another clincher in the (9th) with the catch against the wall. Reyes and Wright both had great DPs, and Delgado had some great Abs. He is officially on a tear.

    quiet hits: Delgado had one LOUD hit and should have had 2 more. Wright like wise.

    Wagner was the worst pitcher last night. They TEEED off on him only to have the ball land in Leddeees glove.

  7. joe July 8, 2007 at 2:42 pm
    All good points. There were a LOT of details I missed among those 17 innings — thanks.

    btw bye bye Ledee …. somehow I have a feeling he’ll re-emerge later in the year.