Padres 6 Mets 5
This one should have been a slam-dunk.
The Mets were facing a Padres team of no-names, including a journeyman 32-year-old rookie pitcher last seen in the lowly Mexican League. It seemed to be a setup, a gift-wrapped easy win to top off their first ever regular season game in Citi Field. But it was not to be.
That journeyman Mexican, Walter Silva, stifled the Mets hitters for four and two-thirds, and the San Diego bullpen held the Flushing Nine scoreless over the remainder of the game to spoil the celebration.
Mike Pelfrey struggled with his footing, his control, and his ability to keep the ball inside the vast confines of Citi Field, and as a result gave the Padres an early four-run lead that they never relinquished.
Pelfrey’s third pitch of the game was drilled over the short right field porch by Jody Gerut, and San Diego scored another three in the second inning immediately after Pelfrey tumbled to the ground in the midst of his delivery (was that foreshadowing?). Adrian Gonzalez blasted the second homerun in Citi Field history to make the score 5-1, but the Mets fought back with four runs in the bottom of the fifth, capped off by a David Wright 3-run homer.
However, the Padres scratched out a run in the sixth, when Pedro Feliciano balked home Luis Rodriguez with two outs. Rodriguez had reached third on a fly ball to right field that was misjudged by Ryan Church and called an error. (Personally, I thought that the official scorer was being tough on Church with that error, but whatever.) Not that it matters, but the hitter at the time of the balk, David Eckstein, eventually ripped a clean single to left field, so the run might have scored anyway.
In an evil twist of irony, former Met Duaner Sanchez pitched a perfect eighth to set up the save for another former Met, Heath Bell.
Bell received a loud, negative response to his pregame introduction. Sanchez received a mixed, but mostly negative response. Uncle Cliffy Floyd was honored with cheers.
When Brian Stokes came in to relieve for Mike Pelfrey in the sixth, I thought, ah, he must be the long man — he should be able to handle two innings here. Two batters, nine pitches, and one run later, he was out of the game.
Frankie Rodriguez (aka “K-Rod”) pitched the top of the ninth. I guess because the Mets have tomorrow off, and his last appearance came on Saturday.
The Mets used six pitchers in the game.
It looked like David Wright might have missed first base on his three-run homer. Can you imagine if he did, and if the first base ump caught it and called him out? That would have been a mighty ugly “first” in Citi Field — and the ump likely would not have made it out of the stadium alive.
Jody Gerut was the MVP of the game, with a homerun, a double, a walk, two runs scored, and a brilliant catch in center field to rob Carlos Beltran of an extra-base hit.
While Pelfrey’s bizarre fall during his delivery was strange enough, but even stranger was the appearance of a cat that came out of nowhere and sprinted down the third base line in the middle of the game. How the heck can a feline afford a field-level seat at Citi Field?
Next Mets Game
The Mets take a day off tomorrow to think about this loss and collect their thoughts, then return to Flushing on Wednesday against the Padres again. Oliver Perez faces his original team at 7:10 PM, while former Giant Kevin Correia takes the hill for San Diego.
Get your taxes in, folks.