The New York Mets will face three more opponents before season’s end. Tonight, they began their final road trip of the year with a series against the Philadelphia Phillies. For the Mets, Daisuke Matsuzaka climbed the hill in the opener, opposed by old nemesis Cole Hamels. This evening’s game also marked the return of third baseman David Wright to the field since pulling his hamstring in early August.
Coach Collins submitted this line-up to face the lefty Cole Hamels: CF-Eric Young; 2B-Daniel Murphy; 3B-David Wright; 1B-Josh Satin; RF-Andrew Brown; CF-Juan Lagares; C-Travis d’Arnaud; SS-Omar Quintanilla; SP-Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Cole Hamels delivered his first pitch of the evening to Mets lead-off batter Eric Young at 7:08pm, a fastball for strike one. Young wound up lifting a fly to right field which was misplayed by John Mayberry Jr., allowing Young to reach second. Eric then stole third base on Cole Hamel’s first pitch to Daniel Murphy. On Hamel’s next pitch to Murphy, Daniel lined a single up the middle to give the Mets an early 1-0 lead. Next, in Captain David Wright’s first turn at bat since August 2nd, he homered into the second row of seats in right field to give the Mets a 3-0 lead.
Daisuke Matsuzaka took his turn on the mound, and delivered his first pitch of the evening at 7:21pm, a fastball strike to center fielder Cesar Hernandez. Three pitches later, Hernandez was headed back to the dugout after looking at a curve ball for strike three. Daisuke picked up his second strikeout when he fanned Chase Utley to end the inning.
In the top of the third, Daniel Murphy struck his second hit of the game, and promptly stole second base. He advanced to third base on Josh Satin’s grounder to short, then scored when Andrew Brown hit a blooper behind first base, into shallow right field.
Through three full innings, Daisuke Matsuzaka held Philadelphia to just one hit, walked one, and struck out three. He pitch count was up to forty-two, with thirty pitches going for strikes for a very efficient rate of seventy-one percent.
The Mets continued to tread on Cole Hamels in the top of the fourth. Travis d’Arnaud led-off with a single up the middle, and with two outs, Eric Young drove him home with another single to center field, giving the Mets a 5-0 lead. Through four full innings of work, Cole Hamels allowed the Mets seven total hits, walked none and struck out four.
Chase Utley stroked Philadelphia’s second hit in the bottom of the fourth inning, and Matsuzaka then issued his second walk of the game to catcher Carlos Ruiz, setting up first and second, with no outs for Domonic Brown. He too drew a walk to load the bases for first baseman Darin Ruf. A line drive down the left field line plated two runs. When Daniel Murphy failed to cleanly receive Eric Young’s throw into second base from left field, a third run crossed the plate. An error was perhaps incorrectly charged to Eric Young on the throw. John Mayberry then hit a comebacker that Matsuzaka stopped with his foot. He threw to David Wright, catching Ruf in a run down. Quintanilla received Wright’s throw, but the third base umpired ruled Quintanilla failed to apply a tag on Ruf, who was in safely at third. A replay showed Quintanilla lightly glanced Ruf’s rump, but the ump didn’t see it that way. Cole Hamels then grounded into a first base fielder’s choice which scored Ruf, and closed the Philadelphia Phillies margin of deficit to just a run. Daisuke expended thirty-one pitches in the inning.
Cole Hamels backed up his team mate’s efforts by striking out the side in the top of the fifth. Daisuke Matsuzaka started the bottom of the fifth inning seventy pitches into his start, and likewise retired the Phillies number two, three and four hitters in order. At the end of five full innings, the Mets held a slim 5-4 lead over Philly.
Cole Hamels retired his last five batters in a row, four by strikeout, until Omar Quintanilla broke the string with a two out single in the sixth. Daisuke Matsuzaka then started off the bottom of the sixth by fanning Domonic Brown, followed with a strikeout of Darin Ruf. Third baseman Cody Asche was next, and connected on a sure double to right field, but was thrown out 9-4-5 on a foolish attempt at gaining third base. You know what they say – never make the first or last out at third base!
Daniel Murphy led-off the seventh inning with his third hit of the night. David Wright then served up another hit to right field, putting runners on the corners. Clean-up hitter Josh Satin grounded to shortstop Jimmy Rollins who attempted a double-play, but Satin just beat the relay to first. Murphy scored on the play to give the Mets a 6-4 lead.
Scott Atchison entered the game in the bottom of the seventh in relief of Daisuke Matsuzaka, and pitched a scoreless frame.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka – six full innings pitched, allowed four runs, only two earned, on four total hits. He walked three and struck out six batters before exiting the game on the winning side. Daisuke threw ninety-six total pitches, sixty-four for strikes, for a rate of sixty-seven percent.
Behind 6-4, the Phillies faced one of the newest Mets pitchers, reliever Vic Black in the bottom of the eighth. Jimmy Rollins introduced himself with a lead-off single up the middle. Vic Black then fanned Chase Utley looking at strike three, but Jimmy Rollins stole second on the pitch. With one out, Carlos Ruiz grounded to Wright, as Rollins was held at second. Manager Terry Collins then opted to bring in Pedro Feliciano to face left fielder Domonic Brown, who popped-up to Wright at third.
- Cole Hamels pitched seven innings, was charged with six earned runs on ten hits, walked none and struck out eight batters before exiting on the losing side.
Three Phillies relievers kept the Mets hitless over their final two at-bats. Terry Collins summoned LaTroy Hawkins to close out the ninth inning. The Mets righty did not disappoint. LaTroy recorded his eleventh save of the season. Daisuke Matsuzaka was credited with his second straight victory in a Mets uniform.
Cole Hamels ends this season with a 2-3 record against the Mets.
- Eric Young stole his 40th base of the season; his 32nd as a member of the Mets.
- In his 409th at-bat of the season and first since August 2nd, David Wright hit his seventeenth home run. That’s an average of one home run per twenty-four at-bats.
- In the top of the third inning, Daniel Murphy doubled his stolen base total over last year, when he stole his 20th base of the season; the first time he achieved twenty steals in his career.
- Defense – Mets prevented the tying run from reaching third base in the sixth with two good relay throws. In the ninth inning, Juan Lagares made a nifty catch in full stride on Darin Ruf’s deep drive to center field.
- Daniel Murphy – 3 for 5; all singles, three runs scored.
- Bullpen – four pitchers, three combined innings, one hit, no walks, two strikeouts.
- Josh Satin batting clean-up – 0 for 4, with two strikeouts. Ironically drove in an insurance run on a potential double-play ground ball to short. Otherwise, there are no low lights to speak of.