It was a clearly uncomfortable game for John Maine.
But then, all pitchers should be lucky enough to have his discomfort.
With a look on his face that conveyed frustration, aggravation, or possibly constipation, Maine nonetheless powered through the Arizona lineup, allowing just one run on six hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out three en route to his fifth victory without a loss.
Maine didn’t have his very best stuff — his command on all pitches was way off — but he kept a stiff upper lip and turned in a veteran-like performance, keeping the ball in the strike zone and making great “pitcher’s pitches” exactly when he had to.
While Maine was shutting down the D’Backs batters, the Mets offense is finally beginning to kick into gear. Jose Reyes led off the game with a single, stole second, and scored on a base hit by Carlos Beltran. In the second inning, surprise starter Julio Franco gave Maine a cushion, blasting an opposite-field, two-run homer into the pool beyond the right-center fence off Randy Johnson to put the Mets ahead 3-0. Paul LoDuca — who scored on Franco’s homer — hit a homerun of his own in the fourth, a high drive over the leftfield fence. Jose Reyes drove in Endy Chavez in the fifth to finish the scoring for the night.
Though the Diamondbacks managed three runs, they never seemed to be in the game. The homer by Franco seemed to take all the air out of them, save for Orlando Hudson, who made some nice plays at second base and hit a controversial two-run homer off Amby Burgos in the top of the 8th. Hudson’s fly was about to strike the top of the leftfield fence, but the outstretched glove of Endy Chavez (who else?) managed to swat the ball back onto the field. What appeared to be a one-run double was ruled a homerun by third base umpire Gary Darling. Luckily, there were already two out and Burgos induced a popup from Eric Byrnes to end the inning.
Billy Wagner threw 10 pitches to finish the game without incident, earning his sixth save of the season.
LoDuca batted fifth in the lineup and went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Reyes went 3-for-4 with a stolen base, a run, and an RBI, and was thrown out attempting to steal in the fifth on a great throw by catcher Chris Snyder. Reyes argued the call for a few moments, and he might have snuck his hand in before the tag, but in reality the ball beat him to the bag and the play was close enough to go either way.
Chavez started because Moises Alou was resting a sore knee. However, Endy might have injured his ankle on the faux-homer by Hudson. He stayed in the game, but limped a bit through the rest of the game.
The Mets turned three double plays, all of which effectively squelched any momentum the Arizona offense could muster.
Next Game – Sosa Starting
As expected, Jorge Sosa has been promoted to the big club to face Brandon Webb in Saturday night’s game (another 9:40 PM start). Sosa has tallied a 4-0 record and 1.13 ERA in AAA, allowing 29 hits and 4 walks in 32 innings, striking out 29 in the process. His low walk total is encouraging, as is the fact he’s only allowed one homerun in the homer-happy PCL. Also encouraging: he’s induced twice as many ground balls as fly balls. Being that the dinger has been his big bugaboo, perhaps he’s turning a corner in his career.