Mets Game 90: Win Over Reds
There was no way Tom Glavine was losing this game.
Tom was terrific, pitching eight innings and allowing only one run — a solo homer by Brandon Phillips.
After allowing the Phillips homerun in the second, Glavine retired the next 16 batters in a row, before finally allowing a single to Ken Griffey Jr. in the top of the seventh. It would be the first and only time all night that Tom Glavine would throw from the stretch, and it would be the Reds’ last hit of the ballgame. Glavine smelled his 298th career victory and got it.
Meanwhile, he needed to pitch as well as he did, because once again the Mets batters were stymied by a mediocre pitcher. The Mets had Matt Belisle on the ropes in the first inning, as Ruben Gotay singled and Carlos Beltran walked to put runners on first and second with one out and the sluggers coming up. But David Wright struck out and Carlos Delgado flied out to center to let Belisle off the hook. Almost immediately after getting out of that jam, Brandon Phillips belted a homerun over centerfield to give Belisle a 1-0 lead and a jolt of motivation. That was all the momentum and confidence he needed to pitch over his head for the next five innings, as he shut out the Mets despite allowing the leadoff batter to reach base three times.
The fourth time that happened, however, turned out to be a charm. David Wright led off the sixth by hammering a single into left, then stole second after Delgado flied out. Paul LoDuca advanced him to third on a grounder to second, bringing Shawn Green up to the plate with two outs. Green took two pitches then fisted a fastball into short right field to score Wright and tie the game. It was Green’s first RBI in 16 games, and one he needed nearly as much as the Mets.
Two innings later, Green again came to bat with two outs, but this time with the bases cleared. He seared a line drive to leftfield that Adam Dunn could not catch despite a gloriously awkward, sliding-on-his-butt dive. The ground around Flushing shook with such force when Dunn came down that inspectors were sent to check the CitiField foundation later in the evening. Green wound up on second base with his 19th double of the season, and it was up to Lastings Milledge to drive him home. Reds interim manager had lefthanded specialist Mike Stanton pitch to Milledge despite his swinging a hot stick lately and despite Milledge being a righty and despite the fact the pitcher’s spot was up next. Naturally, Lastings bounced the first pitch he saw up the middle to score Green with the go-ahead (and winning) run.
Sandman entered to dispose of the Reds in short order and save Glavine’s game.
So far, Lastings Milledge is being everything the Mets need him to be in this young second half. If he can keep this up, we won’t need to worry about whether Moises Alou returns — though if Alou does return, Shawn Green may be the one to start worrying.
Green, by the way, was 2-for-4 for the second straight night. While his hot streaks no longer earn legendary status, we’ll be fine with his bloop singles and occasional doubles coming in clutch spots, as they did tonight.
Speaking of 2-for-4, Ruben Gotay did that too, and is now hitting .353. That Willie Randolph is one smart cookie, unearthing this gem of a ballplayer from the end of the bench and pressing him into starting duty. I don’t know how Willie is able to find these guys and know they’re going to do well — must be some kind of a sixth sense or something.
David Wright and Paul LoDuca were also part of the “dos en quatro club”. Tres of those were basura, however.
Gotay and Jose Reyes made splendid defensive plays on back-to-back pitches to end the sixth inning — Gotay a perfectly-timed dive on a popup behind him, Reyes a textbook backhand stab, turn and throw to nail the speedy Ryan Freel by a step. Glavine nearly sweat that inning, throwing nine pitches.
Oliver Perez comes off the DL to face Kyle Lohse in a 1:10 PM start for the series finale. It would sure be nice to take three out of four.