Angel Pagan made a major splash in his World Series debut last night for the Giants, lashing out two doubles and scoring twice. The former Met was shipped out West last offseason in the ill-fated deal for Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez. While it didn’t work out for his former team, Pagan experienced a rebirth by the Bay, hitting .288 with 29 stolen bases and a league-leading 15 triples. In honor of his World Series renaissance, today on “Glory Days” we revisit Angel Pagan’s finest day with the New York Mets.
Dateline: June 29, 2011. The Mets were in the midst of a blazing stretch of interleague play: they took two straight games from the Rangers by scores of 14-5 and 8-5, and a couple grand slams the night before in Detroit gave them a 14-3 win. Finally over .500 for the year, Terry Collins’s team wasn’t about let that mark slip away.
The fun began right with the first at-bat against Phil Coke and the Tigers. Jose Reyes continued his all-world stretch with a leadoff single. Justin Turner and Carlos Beltran flew out, but Reyes reached second on an error and stole third with Ronny Paulino up. Paulino singled in the run to make it 1-0. After Jason Bay walked, Angel Pagan started his night with a line drive single that would’ve scored a faster runner than Paulino. But Pagan and the rest of his teammates would come home on a rare Scott Hairston bases-clearing triple. 4-0 Mets after the 1st, and the fun was just beginning.
In the 3rd, Jason Bay got on with another two-out walk and stole second base. Up came Angel to bring him home with his second hit of the day. 5-0 Good Guys. Chris Capuano gave up a couple solo home runs over the next two innings, but the Mets responded with three more runs, chasing Coke in the process to make it 8-2.
But there would have to be more fireworks after the Tigers scored four times in the bottom of the 6th. New York got a couple more runs back on Daniel Murphy’s single in the 7th, but Andy Dirks erased those runs with a home run in the same frame. The Mets got two on with two out in the 8th inning to bring up Pagan, who once again delivered in the clutch with a run-scoring double. Pagan’s hit opened up the floodgates in the inning, as singles by Murphy and Ruben Tejada combined to bring in three more runs.
Up 14-9 in the 9th, the team decided it wasn’t going to risk being up by so “little.” And who was it that called checkmate? Think about whose Glory Day this is: yes, it was Angel Pagan who delivered the death knell on the night with a two-out, two-run double. DJ Carrasco retired the final three Kitties in order, and the Mets had a series victory over the Tigers in grand style, 16-9. Pagan final line (4-6, 2 2B, 3 R, 4 RBI) underscored one of the more remarkable four-game offensive stretches in Amazin’ history: 52 runs in four road games against the two teams that would eventually meet in that season’s ALCS. They had it on the rest of the American League, but not against the New York Mets.
June 29. A good day for Randy Johnson in 2004 (fourth and fastest pitcher to reach 4,000 career strikeouts) and fans of no-hitters in 1990 [two thrown on the same day (Dave Stewart & Fernando Valenzuela) for first time since 1917]. Also a good day for U.S. soccer in 1950 (defeated England 1-0 at the FIFA World Cup). A bad day for Russian ballet in 1974 (Mikhail Baryshnikov defects from Soviet Union while touring in Canada) and the independence movement in Tahiti in 1880 (annexed by France). A great day for Angel Pagan in 2011.