What started out with another run-scoring defensive blunder turned into a refreshing Metsian victory as the Orange and Blue salvaged the finale of the 4-game set with a 5-2 win over St. Louis.
Box Score and Highlights here.
Jonathon Niese looked crisp early, and if it wasn’t for Ankiel misjudging a Pete Kozma blooper he ended up diving for, Niese would have gotten out of the 2nd inning unscathed. Instead, it was a run scoring double, but luckily Niese held it there, inducing a fly out to Lucas Duda, who almost overran the ball, having to do a little hop at the last second.
The cynics (including myself) of course erupted on the social media waves, with Wainwright excellent early on. Jordany Valdespin, however, with 2 out in the 3rd, dragged a bunt towards Pete Kozma at 2nd, which he could not handle. Daniel Murphy then hit a line-drive double down the right field line. Valdespin came around to score the tying run, and Murph advanced to 3rd on the throw. David Wright then blooped one to right. Murph of course scored, and the ball bounced up on Carlos Beltran and over his head. Wright advanced to 2nd. (Know that Ike, who struck out 4 times today, did so for the last out of the inning, by swinging at the inside curve for strike 2, then looking at the inside corner for strike 3.)
Niese was excellent in his 7 1/3 innings of work, getting into jams in only the 5th and the 8th, which he left from having only given up 1 run.
The Mets stayed quiet until the 6th, when Murph opened the inning with one of the odder plays I’ve ever seen. He hit a shot to right that looked as if it might have the distance. It didn’t, but what would have been a double off the wall turned into a ground-rule double when the ball disappeared between a gap that separated two sections of the wall (it should probably get fixed.) Captain America then drove one into the right-center gap, scoring Murph for the 3rd run of the game. Great baserunning by David on an error by the cutoff man allowed him to hustle to 3rd as well. Ike of course then struck out, but The Duda hit a long sac fly to right, scoring Wright for the 4th run of the game.
The Mets scored a 5th run in the 8th when John Buck singled in Lucas, who had hit a right-center gapper for a 1-out double.
Niese, as mentioned before, got into a jam in the bottom of the 8th and 1 out. Matt Carpenter hit a long double to right-center, and Niese then walked Shane Robinson, the last batter he would face. Brandon Lyon entered, and was greeted rudely by Beltran with a lefty-swinging opposite field single to score Carpenter. Lyon then buckled down, however, to induce a 5-4-3 double play to get out of the jam.
Bobby Parnell locked it down in the 9th for his 4th save of the year.
- Jon Niese had a much-needed excellent start, going 7 1/3 innings, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. He should have had only 1 run allowed, theoretically speaking, but mental errors (such as this one) are for some reason not counted. Only the-glove-was-on-the-ball-and-you-didn’t-catch-it plays.
- David Wright has been steady the entire season, but Daniel Murphy has used this Cardinals road trip to erupt from an ugly funk. He has gone 10-16 after going 0-16, with 4 more hits today (which produced 2 runs scored and 1 RBI.)
- Ike Davis had the Golden Sombrero, avoided a Platinum one with a groundout to 1st in the 9th.
- Lucas Duda broke an 0-14 streak with a double into right-center in the 8th, though he did hit a sac fly in the 6th for the Mets 4th run.
- Bobby Parnell, who has not had many save opportunities as of late, struck out Pete Kozma for the final out of the day and his 4th save in 6 tries. He now has a 1.04 ERA.
Though I was ready for another loss with the idea of the exorcism starting sooner rather than later, it was a very refreshing game, with mostly crisp Metsian baseball being played after the Ankiel center field brain fart.
But the glaring concern is Ike Davis, who could very well be on his way to Las Vegas real soon with an atrocious finale to the Cardinal series. Our Ellie Silfin just yesterday made the argument for a move like that, and today’s performance certainly aided that angle.
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