A night after Johan Santana got shelled by the Chicago Cubs, Terry Collins was hoping that Dillon Gee would be able to provide a solid start so the Mets wouldn’t have to dig deep into their bullpen. After breezing through the first four innings, throwing 38 pitches, the next four were much more stressful for Gee, but he put together one of his best outings of the year to get New York on track with only two games before the All-Star break.
Mets Offensive Highlights:
New York put together a nine-hit attack, but it was the long ball that scored all their runs Saturday afternoon. In the second inning, Jordany Valdespin gave the Amazins an early lead with his second solo home run in as many games, hitting the ball out to the bullpens in right center field. In the bottom of the third, Ruben Tejada led off with a single, and Ike Davisput some runs across with two out after launching a two-run homer off the facing of the upper deck in right field. The Mets threatened to score a few more times, but weren’t able to put anything across, and thankfully didn’t need any more runs.
Cubs Offensive Highlights:
Chicago was able to hang seven runs on the board Friday night off Santana, but they couldn’t figure out Gee all afternoon, as he held them to only one run and eight hits. Anthony Rizzo and Luis Valbuena were each able to collect multi-hit games, but it didn’t lead to lots of runs being scored. Valbuena led of the sixth inning with a double and scored on a one-out single to center by David DeJesus, but that would be all the scoring the Cubs could muster on this day at Citi Field.
Jeff Samardzija pitched a lot better this time around against the Mets after getting shelled in the series finale at Wrigley, but it didn’t prevent him from getting his eighth loss of the year. The Chicago righty went 7 innings and gave up 7 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs on 4 strikeouts, including both of the home runs. Scott Maine and Manuel Corpas came in to pitch a scoreless eighth, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Cubs from suffering their 52nd loss of the year.
Dillon Gee enjoyed one of his best starts of the year in his last appearance before the All-Star break. He threw 8 solid innings and gave up 7 hits, no walks, and that lone run while striking out four. Bobby Parnell made things a little interesting in the ninth, but a great defensive play by Ruben Tejada in short center field helped the Mets reliever earn his second save of the year.
Ike Davis hit his 12th home run of the season, putting him in a three-way tie with Scott Hairston and Lucas Duda for the team lead in long balls. Valdespin continues to impress with the bat, as he’s now hitting .375 in his last 10 games in the Big Leagues. Kirk Nieuwenhuis continues to struggle; he collected a hit in his first at-bat Saturday afternoon, but his average has continued to drop, now hitting only .138 in his last 10 games.
The win improves the Mets to 46-39, while the Nationals and Braves both won as well Saturday. The order and separation at the top of the NL East did not change, with New York staying in second place, 4.5 games behind Washington.
Probable Pitchers Sunday:
The Mets are looking to Jonathon Niese (7-3, 3.35 ERA) to finish the first half on a high note, as Ryan Dempster (3-3, 2.11 ERA) returns from the disabled list to finish the first half, which could be a good sign for the Cubs if they’re trying to move him before the trade deadline. First pitch at Citi Field is scheduled for 1:10pm.