Mets 8 Giants 6
Good to see that Johan Santana is not the only elite pitcher in baseball who has trouble collecting victories.
Following the script, the Mets jumped ahead in the first frame, but by the time they batted again, a win seemed a distinct impossibility.
After all, Livan Hernandez immediately gave up the one run lead, and four runs total, and San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum was hurling hellacious stuff.
The Giants extended the lead to 5-1 by the time the second inning ended, and Lincecum was looking downright nasty, so the picture grew bleaker.
However, Hernandez managed to keep the San Francisco bats at bay for three innings, and the Mets chipped away with a two spot in the top of the sixth. Reliever Sean Green gave one of them back in the bottom of the inning, but the Mets came charging back in the top of the seventh, rallying against a suddenly tired Lincecum. They put two runners on and Merkin Valdez (who?) was trotted in from the bullpen to put out the fire. A poor choice by SF manager Bruce Bochy, since the red-hot David Wright blasted a double to clear the bases and the game. Bochy came to his senses and immediately replaced Valdez with lefty Jeremy Affeldt, who struck out three of the next four batters to stop the bleeding.
The game remained tied until the top of the ninth, when “closer” Brian Wilson entered the game for the Giants and proceeded to melt down. He allowed back-to-back singles to Gary Sheffield and David Wright to start the inning, bringing up Ryan Church. Despite the fact that Church already had two hits, was swinging the bat well, and two RH hitters from the bottom of the order were up next, Church was asked to bunt. The ball was bunted hard right back to Wilson, and Sheffield would’ve been out at third by ten feet — but Wilson threw the ball into left field, allowing Sheff to score the go-ahead run and Wright to move to third. Omir Santos followed with his trademark sacrifice fly to make it 8-6 Mets. Wilson gave up a double to Fernando Tatis before he was finally, and mercifully, removed from the game.
Francisco Rodriguez came on in the ninth and notched his 11th save, completing a 1-2-3 inning for the first time since little league.
Pretty cool to see Lincecum not only drive in a run with an opposite-field base hit, but to also see him try to stretch it into a double (he was thrown out by Gary Sheffield). How often do you see a pitcher — much less a franchise ace — try to do that?
Keith Hernandez was a little silly during this broadcast. At one point, he referred to Ryan Church as “fleet of foot”.
Though several regular sticks in the Mets’ lineup were absent, the upside of the situation was that Jerry Manuel had several bullets to choose from in the late innings. Danny Murphy came through with a pinch-hit RBI single in the sixth, but Jose Reyes failed in his pinch-hitting appearance in the seventh.
Bruce Bochy was tossed from the game after Pablo Sandoval was called out on strikes in the bottom of the seventh. Sandoval made a check swing on a full-count pitch from Pedro Feliciano, and the pitch hit him. Originally, the home plate umpire Doug Eddings clearly made the signal for Sandoval to take first base, then asked first base umpire Hunter Wendelstadt for help on the swing call. Wendelstadt called swing and Eddings reversed his original call. Very poor execution by the umpires — not only was it a bad move to ask for help AFTER sending the batter to first, but Wendelstadt also got the call wrong; Sandoval definitely didn’t swing.
Not to be outdone, Mets manager Jerry Manuel got himself tossed by Eddings less than ten minutes later, arguing a strike three call on Carlos Beltran.
David Wright had three hits. Ryan Church, Gary Sheffield, and Jeremy Reed all collected two hits apiece. Reed started at first base for the first time in his MLB career, and the first time since college.
Bengie Molina threw out Church attempting to steal second in the ninth. It was the Mets’ first failure a dozen attempts in the series.
Seeing the lack of offense and dearth of skill in their bullpen, it’s amazing the Giants won 18 times this year. I’m beginning to think the entire National League is awful. It’s either time to contract the league by a few teams or end PEDs testing, because the talent pool we’ve been seeing lately is below “Major League”.
Next Mets Game
The Mets and Giants lock horns again at 4:10 PM EST on Saturday afternoon. Johan Santana faces Randy Johnson, though we’re learning that the starting pitchers really don’t matter so much.