Mets Game 124: Win Over Padres
Mets 7 Padres 6
Ladies and gentlemen, Carlos Beltran has entered the building.
Continuing the hot hitting on the road that made him the NL player of the week, Beltran was a one-man wrecking crew, driving in five runs with three hits, including a laser-beam double and an opposite-field homerun, to lead the Mets over the Padres.
Though starter John Maine struggled with his command, he left the game with two outs in the sixth with a 4-3 lead, preserved brilliantly by Scott Schoeneweis. The Show struck out Brian Giles looking to end the inning, stranding the other Giles (Marcus) on third. However, the bullpen gave away the lead in the seventh. After getting two groundouts to start the inning, Schoeneweis allowed a single to Adrian Gonzalez, who trotted into second base after his grounder skipped under the legs of Lastings Milledge in rightfield. At that point, The Show was removed in favor of righthander Jorge Sosa to face the righty hitting Mike Cameron. The strategy did not pay off, however, as Cameron doubled to drive in Gonzalez with the tying run. Sosa then gave up a single to Khalil Greene, scoring Cameron with the go-ahead, before striking out Kevin Kouzmanoff to end the inning.
The score remained 5-4 Padres until the bottom of the eighth, when former Met Heath Bell came on to set up Trevor Hoffman — but failed in his mission. You just knew things wouldn’t go well for Heath when Jose Reyes led off with an infield single off the glove of Greene. Within minutes, Reyes had stolen second and was advanced to third on a groundout by small-ball master Luis Castillo. David Wright walked, bringing up Beltran — who had already driven in all four of the Mets runs. Suffice to say, he singled in the fifth as well, stroking a 1-2 pitch into left.
Billy Wagner came on to preserve the tie, but his command was off as well — perhaps due to the wet weather. He allowed a leadoff single to Milton Bradley, struck out Gonzalez, but then walked Cameron on four pitches and hit Greene to load the bases. Kouzmanoff then lifted a fly to shallow rightfield that scored Bradley and put the Padres up 6-5. Wagner then settled down to strike out Josh Bard to end the ninth.
However, it was a bad night for both closers. Trevor Hoffman came in to save the game, but like his predecessor Bell, failed to fulfill his assignment. Second-half sparkplug Lastings Milledge started things off with a single to left, and was sacrificed to second by Mike DiFelice. Pinch-hitter Marlon “Mr. Clutch” Anderson then rapped a base hit up the middle to score Milledge with the tying run. Hoffman then got ahead of Reyes 0-2, but Jose dropped a flare in front of Cameron to put runners on first and second. Castillo then jumped on the first pitch he saw and dumped a 22-bouncer into center, and Anderson beat the throw home from Cameron to score the winning run.
John Maine had more issues with pitch count, tallying 118 pitches in his five and two-thirds. He seemed to go full count on every other batter — though some of it could have been attributed to the combined factors of the wet weather and Angel Hernandez’s tight strike zone.
Speaking of the wetness, what in the world is Carlos Delgado doing on the field in his first game back from a hyperextended knee? I was at Shea for the game, and can say for certain that the infield was slick. I’m not sure what the logic was behind getting Delgado out there on wet ground with a bum knee — why not wait one more day, and play Shawn Green at first? Luckily, Delgado didn’t further damage the joint, but that was mostly due to his refusal to move. There was one ground ball toward him, in the third inning, that looked like it might be a routine double play. Instead the ball skipped about a foot past Delgado, who I believe was downloading new ringtones on his cell phone rather than reaching over to make a swipe at the ball. Instead of a double play, Milton Bradley had himself an RBI single.
As much as we like to denigrate The Show, he pitched pretty well — despite being charged with one run in one inning of work. His strikeout to end the sixth was key, and there’s a chance his runner in the seventh — Gonzalez — doesn’t score from first on the Cameron double. However, the Milledge error put him on second, and he thus scored easily.
I was quite surprised to see David Wells enter the game in the bottom of the eighth, as I thought he had been released by the Padres a few weeks ago. I was even more surprised to see him pitching with his right rather than left hand — but figured he couldn’t do any worse than he’d been doing previously. Then I realized it was not Wells on the mound but “Boomer” Bell. Hey Heath, either lay off the Big Macs, or talk to the equipment manager about a more billowy uniform — your weekly increase in girth is publicly embarrassing.
Brian Lawrence faces Jake Peavy in another 7:10 PM start at Shea. Let’s hope Lawrence has a bit more black magic left in his travel bag from his time in N’Awlins.