On what I would call a normal beginning to a night with the Mets’ first inning success this season, the Mets scored 2 runs in the first inning, and kept piling it on for the next three innings to blow the game open with a 7-0 lead. Blow the game open? Well, when the Mets play the Phillies, anything can happen. As any Met fan would know, what sometimes could go wrong against the Phillies would, whether it was last year’s game-ending Marlon Anderson debacle, the season-ending 2007 collapse, opening day at Shea this season, or last night.
With Pedro Martinez cruising through the first four innings only allowing one run, there seemed to be no worries heading into the fourth. However, Pedro ended his start with five runs allowed in five innings to raise his ERA to a scary 5.22. Following his departure, the bullpen was not exactly sitting around, with seven relievers taking the mound on the night
The ninth inning went from looking like a sunny, calm day for the Mets into a hurricane, with all the action taking place after two outs were recorded by Luis Ayala, the newly-acquired reliever. A hit up the middle, a double in the gap, then the game-tying hit that nearly went for naught when Ryan Church’s great throw was relayed and thrown on a bad hop. The throw was in time, just the timing of the bounce was off. Finally, a hard-hit ball was ripped on one hop up the middle, but Reyes was there on the diving stop to save the game and bring it into extras.
Aaron Heilman went on to pitch the scariest three extra innings of my life. I was scared of every pitch and just wondered what Aaron would mess up next. Instead, he was stellar, allowing no runs to cross despite getting into some jams.
With night turning to morning, Chris Coste broke Citizens Bank Park loose when his walk-off hit in the 13th emptied the Phillies bench to mob him. The Phillies took over possession of first place in the NL East by a half game. This back-and-forth thing is getting exciting this late in the season, isn’t it?
Damion Easley was a master at the plate last night, picking up four hours, including a home run (solo, of course…whats new?) and a triple. David Wright, on the other hand, had two hits but knocked in his 100th RBI of the season. Great work, David. Jose Reyes had two stolen bases to raise his total to 43 on the season, eighteen shy of the MLB-leading 63 by Colorado’s Willy Taveras.
Tonight, the Mets conclude their short two-game series with the Phillies when ace Johan Santana (12-7, 2.64) faces off against Kyle Kendrick (11-7, 4.87). If Santana takes care of the Phillies tonight, and as long as the Mets bats back him up for once in his lifetime, it will be as if last night never happened.
With 29 games remaining on the regular-season schedule for the Mets, it is clear that this division race will go right down to the wire. It will be one interesting September!