John Danks had a quick and effective first, inducing a trio of groundouts to his middle infielders before Shaun Marcum, who has struggled of late, could take the mound against the similarly-struggling White Sox. Marcum had a strong first inning, taking a few more pitches than Danks’ 9 to induce a groundout and back-to-back strikeouts.
Marlon Byrd, leading off the second, hit the first ball to leave the infield – a fly out to center. The Mets drove up Danks’ pitch count a bit, but he got a pair of strikeouts of his own, getting Josh Satin and John Buck. Marcum started off his half by walking Adam Dunn, but got a double play on the next pitch and got Jeff Keppinger to fly out to Juan Lagares.
The third inning went quietly, with the bottom three in the order (Andrew Brown, Juan Lagares, and Omar Quintanilla) producing a ground out, strikeout, and fly out respectively. Gordon Beckham got the game’s first hit, a one-out double to left in the bottom of the third. Tyler Flowers popped up and Alejandro De Aza grounded to Daniel Murphy to strand him at second.
Recently-acquired spark plug Eric Young opened up the fourth with a single to shallow center to become the Mets’ first base-runner. Daniel Murphy followed that up with a fielder’s choice to first. David Wright popped up to second and Byrd grounded out sharply to third to end the frame. Alexei Ramirez opened the fourth with the White Sox’s second hit, and successfully stole second against the Adam Dunn shift. Dunn walked, but a pair of flyouts to left center ended the threat.
Josh Satin opened the fifth with the Mets’ second hit, singling to right after working a deep count. Buck also worked the count, but struck out once again. Thanks to some aggressive baserunning, an Andrew Brown single led to he and Satin reaching second and third respectively. Juan Lagares ripped a ball to shortstop that got past Alexei Ramirez. Both runs scored as the throw was cut off and redirected to second too late to get the advancing Lagares. Lagares was credited with one RBI, as it was deemed that Satin would score on what would have been a fielder’s choice. After being moved to third on a Quintanilla groundout, Lagares would score on an infield single (that was changed from a Brent Morel error) by Eric Young. Young moved to third on a Daniel Murphy single to left before David Wright popped out to end the rally. Brent Morel singled on an 0-2 pitch to open the Chicago half of the fifth inning. For the second time in the game, Shaun Marcum immediately followed putting a baserunner on first by getting a double play. Murphy’s quick (bare-handed) turn pulled Josh Satin away from first base, but he was able to apply the tag for the second out. Omar Quintanilla then made a very strong throw to nab Tyler Flowers for the final out of the inning. Marlon Byrd got the leadoff man on base again in the sixth when Marlon Byrd got plunked. The inning ended when Satin and Buck both struck out, the latter of which led to a strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play as Byrd took off for second. Shaun Marcum allowed another single to Ramirez, but when he attempted a second steal he was thrown out somewhat easily by John Buck. A nice play by Wright at third retired the side.
Juan Lagares got a one-out single in the seventh, but Quintanilla grounded into an inning ending double play to close out a five pitch half-inning. Marcum retired Dunn for the first time to open the bottom half and needed only ten pitches to get two pop ups and a line out to left.
Eric Young opened the eighth with his third hit of the single. Daniel Murphy struck out quickly afterward. That would end John Danks’ night, who pitched very well in his 7.1 innings of work. 7 hits, 3 runs (1 earned) and 7 strikeouts. Nate Jones was called in to pitch, and got David Wright to ground into the inning-ending double play.
Marcum again pitched a quick inning, needing only ten pitches to get a pair of fly outs and a ground out to third. The Mets went quickly in the ninth, lowlighted by John Buck earning his golden sombrero for the final out of the inning.
Bobby Parnell, who hasn’t worked since last Friday, was called in to pitch the ninth inning. Marcum’s final line: 8IP, 4H, 2BB, 2K. He retired 12 of his last 13 batters. Parnell coaxed a trio of groundouts highlighted by Omar Quintanilla making another excellent play to get Alexei Ramirez at first. And with that, Shaun Marcum was no longer winless!
> John Danks had been dealing early, allowing only a single through four innings. The fifth, while hardly his fault, came down on him thanks to some poor defense on the left side of the infield. Josh Satin would’ve scored, but what had been three runs could have simply been one with better play from their shortstop and third baseman. Good on the Mets for capitalizing on poor defense.
> In his last seven games, Adam Dunn has seven hits and nine(!) walks
> I was forced to switch to radio after the fifth inning, and the ever-entertaining Howie Rose and Josh Lewin kept me company as the game flew by. They also cracked jokes on White Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson, who notably lost it after last night’s game-tying pop up.
> Eric Young had three more hits tonight, raising his average as a Met to .414 in seven games. It’s important to say that he’s bound to regress (a .480 BABIP is what we’d call “unsustainable”), but it’s important to give him credit for shaking the Mets’ offense awake. He’s justifying his playing time, and is ostensibly playing for a job as he’s eligible for arbitration this winter. Either way, he’s been a good jolt for the Mets, and can hopefully remain successful after the numbers come back to earth.
> John Buck needs to get more time off. While Anthony Recker‘s .620 OPS doesn’t scream for more playing time, Buck’s is only .567 since April 13th.
Great game from Shaun Marcum, who needed it in the worst way. Great game. He probably could have pitched the ninth inning, but Bobby Parnell hadn’t worked since last Friday and needed some work. I don’t know if the looming rotation crunch had been weighing on Marcum at all, but it’s both convenient and refreshing for Marcum to pitch deep (and very effectively) to secure a winning road trip. The Mets haven’t lost back-to-back games since the Cubs series, having gone 7-4 in their last eleven games.
The difference in tonight’s game was the infield defense. The Mets got their runs thanks to the poor play of Brent Morel and Alexei Ramirez. On the other side, the Mets’ infield put on a clinic. It was fitting, of course, as “Best-Infield-Ever” third baseman Robin Ventura watched from the White Sox dugout.