Getaway day featured a great pitching match-up between Mets’ ace Johan Santana and 49-year-old Rockies starter Jamie Moyer, and the game ended up being more entertaining than anyone thought once both starters made their exits. In a series that started off ugly for the New York pitching staff, things didn’t end incredibly well either, but instead of breaking, they only bent, and were able to hold on for an extra inning win.
Johan Santana took the mound, hoping that the Mets would score some runs for him, and they scored three quick ones before he even stepped on the mound in the bottom of the first. Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Ruben Tejadaset the table with two singles in front of
David Wright, who knocked them both in with a two-run double. After a Lucas Duda walk, Scott Hairston continued his hot hitting with an RBI single to build a nice lead off of Jamie Moyer and company. While picking up a fourth run on Josh Thole‘s first home run of the season, Santana cruised in his six innings of work, surrendering two hits, three walks, and no runs, while striking out five. Moyer ended up throwing five innings and giving up those four runs on 11 hits.
Behind Moyer, the Rockies bullpen held strong with four shutout innings, allowing Colorado time to try and build a comeback. Miguel Batista threw a scoreless inning of his own, but Jon Rauch suffered his first ineffective outing of the season, walking two and giving up a hit in 0.2 innings of work, leaving the bases loaded for Tim Byrdak, who was brought in to face pinch hitter Todd Helton. The Rockies legend crushed a Byrdak offering off the facing of the second deck down the right field line for the team’s second Grand Slam of the series, blowing the opportunity for Santana to get his first win of the year.
After neither team scored in the ninth, it was on to extra innings. Mike Baxter continued his clutch hitting with a pinch-hit single, and he then scored from first on Nieuwenhuis’ RBI double, helping New York retake the lead at 5-4. Frank Francisco came in to close the door, but it wasn’t meant to be as he served up his second home run of the year to Carlos Gonzalez, re-tying the score. In the top of the 11th, David Wright started the rally with a single, followed by a Duda base hit. After Hairston grounded into a force out, Ike Davis came up in a big spot and delivered with an opposite field single, plating Wright with the go-ahead run. Ramon Ramirez came in to retire the side in order, even though Marco Scutaro almost tied the game with a fly ball that traveled to the warning track.
The win allows the Mets to take the series against Colorado, and improve to 13-9 on the season. Both Washington and Atlanta lost, so the victory puts New York only two games out of first place as they head to Houston to wrap up their second road trip of the season.
The Mets put together an 18-hit onslaught en route to their victory, but they had a hard time bringing those runners around to score. Hopefully, the return of Andres Torres and some speed to the lineup will help them improve upon their 4-18 with runners in scoring position and 14 men left on base. Captain Kirk, Tejada, Murphy, and Wright all recorded multiple hit games at the top of the order, but without a doubt, the most satisfying multi-hit game came from Ike Davis, who put together some great at-bats to today in his three-hit performance. It was great to watch him hang in against a southpaw in the 11th and take a soft pitch on the outside part of the plate to left field for a base hit.
The bullpen did struggle today with the blown save, but it’s important to point out that they didn’t completely implode again, like they did on Friday. This team has a tendency to bounce back after a horrible outing, and that’s another sign of a good team. It’s not about how they play when everything is going well, but what they do the day after a tough loss. So far, the Mets have shown us that they can have a short memory.
Probable Pitchers today:
R.A. Dickey will finally get perfect weather conditions at Minute Maid Park as the Mets start off a three-game set against the Houston Astros, who will be sending out Bud Norris to toe the slab, hoping he will get back on track. After two quality starts in his first two appearances of the season, Norris has given up 11 runs in 13.2 innings, a trend that New York would like to continue.