Apr 24, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning of a MLB game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

4/24 Game Recap: Dodgers Dent Harvey, but Mets Walk Off in Extras 7-3

For the first time in five starts, Matt Harvey was touched in the first inning. After retiring Skip Schumaker, Mark Ellis and Adrian Gonzalez strung together back-to-back singles, and Matt Kemp easily beat a double play to allow Gonzalez to score. He was dominant over the next 4 2/3 innings, allowing only a fourth-inning single to Andre Ethier until, with two outs in the sixth, Harvey walked Gonzalez and Kemp hit his first home run of the season (the play was reviewed as the ball bounced off a security guard back onto the field). A flyout by Ethier would close the book on Harvey’s night: 6 IP, 4H, 3ER, 1BB, 7K.

Ted Lilly, making his first start for Los Angeles in 11 months, got off to a smooth start, setting down the first four in the Mets’ batting order before Ike Davis managed a 1-out single to right. A Lucas Duda single and a walk to Juan Lagares loaded the bases for Matt Harvey, who grounded out to the pitcher. He pitched five impressive innings, allowing a run on six hits, two walks, and seven strikeouts.

The Mets tied it at 1-1 when Matt Harvey drilled a double off the wall to lead off the fifth. Ruben Tejada, working another count, slipped a 2-2 curve ball past Adrian Gonzalez to score him. Daniel Murphy followed with a single of his own, but two strikeouts and a fielder’s choice killed any potential rally.

After the Dodgers took the lead and ended Harvey’s day, the Mets started off the bottom of the sixth with both Marlon Byrd and Lucas Duda drawing walks. A groundout from Lagares moved them over. Justin Turner brought in Byrd on a pinch-hit sacrifice fly, but that was it for the sixth.

LaTroy Hawkins pitched a perfect seventh inning, needing only eight pitches to coax two groundouts around a strikeout. Scott Rice one upped him, pitching 1.1 perfect innings, retiring four batters (3 left-handed) on a total of 12 pitches. Scott Atchison walked the first batter he saw (Kemp), but the Dodgers managed nothing else.

The Dodgers bullpen held down their ground. After JP Howell walked Marlon Byrd and Lucas Duda, the Mets got only a sacrifice fly between then and the ninth. Mike Baxter led off the 9th with a pinch hit double to left that Carl Crawford could not corral. Tejada bunted him to third and David Wright knocked him in with two outs to tie the game.

Bobby Parnell walked AJ Ellis to open the tenth, but Parnell retired the next three hitters to keep it tied and eventually earn the win. John Buck singled to start the tenth, and Ike Davis put him in scoring position with a four pitch walk. Marlon Byrd sacrificed them over and, following an intentional pass to Lucas Duda, Jordany Valdespin hit a walk-off grand slam to end it.

Apr 5, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy (28) is congratulated at the plate after hitting a three-run home run against the Miami Marlins by New York Mets third baseman David Wright (5) and New York Mets outfielder Mike Baxter (23) and New York Mets outfielder Jordany Valdespin (1) during the seventh inning of a MLB game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Highlights:

  • Despite Harvey only managing six innings tonight, the game was still a positive for the bullpen. LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Rice both worked very efficiently, needing only 20 pitches between them to get seven outs. I’d imagine that, outside of Scott Atchison, every reliever should be available for tomorrow’s matinee.
  • Ike Davis had two good at bats against Lilly, making solid contact in the opposite direction. He then struck out in his next two at bats before walking in the tenth.
  • Lucas Duda broke out of a small slump; his second inning single was his first since his second home run against Washington (which had been Harvey’s last start). He followed that up with a double to right and two walks (1 intentional). It was the first time Duda’s been given an intentional pass since September 11, 2011.
  • Recent arrival Juan Lagares made an athletic play in the third, running from deep left center to shallow right in the third. Given the comparisons to Matt Den Dekker, it seems he’s doing what he can to validate that praise.
  • Mike Baxter had a pinch hit double and scored the tying run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
  • The Mets won at home in extra innings for the first time since 2011.
  • Justin Turner was the only Met batter to not reach base, and he and Lagares were the only Mets without a hit.
Thoughts:

Apr 24, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman David Wright (5) hits a game-tying RBI single against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the bottom of the ninth inning of a MLB game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It was encouraging to see Davis get his first hit against Lilly, taking a low, outside pitch the opposite way. It was the kind of pitch Ike had been swinging and missing on for the first three weeks. He followed that up with a line drive that was caught on a great play by Dodgers third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. Unfortunately, that step forward was followed by two strikeouts.

David Wright, after starting out six for six in stolen base attempts in 2013, was finally caught after tying the game in the bottom of the ninth. It took until June 7th for Wright to steal his sixth base last year, on his eleventh attempt. He seems much more judicious when picking his spots this year. For a team that lacks speed, Wright’s baserunning savvy has been a pleasant surprise.

To the eyes, it seems that Ruben Tejada‘s glove got left behind on the road trip. He’s been great on this homestand defensively (as has, to his credit, Daniel Murphy).

LaTroy Hawkins has gotten himself together. After two rough outings over the first week, Hawkins has only allowed two runs on 4 hits over his last six innings, and still has yet to walk a batter this season.

The Mets bench was excellent today. Justin Turner contributed a pinch-hit sacrifice fly, Mike Baxter hit a lead off, pinch-hit double and tied the game on a David Wright single. Jordany Valdespin, who wasn’t successful as a pinch hitter, made up for it with a bases-loaded four-bagger to end it. He was the first Met in 22 years to end a game with a grand slam (Robin Ventura just had a really long single).

Anyone who’s heard me speak about the outfield knows I’d like to see Mike Baxter get more playing time. His pinch-hitting prowess is well-known (.341/.436/.545 in 56 PA), but if Baxter’s bat continues to heat up he could find his way into Terry Collins‘ starting lineup more often.

Great job all around by the Mets to stay in tonight’s game. The Mets look to win their fourth straight home series in tomorrow’s rubber game. Jeremy Hefner is scheduled to throw the first pitch at 1:10PM, facing off against Korean Ryu Hyun-Jin.

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