Duda Spoils Reyes’ Return to Citi; Mets Down Fish 2-1

By Matt Musico

This was much more than a regular game tonight. It was the return of Jose Reyes to New York for the first time since he decided to leave the organization during free agency and take his talents to South Beach to play for the Marlins. The beginning would without a doubt be emotional, and ended up being a little confusing for Reyes. When entering the stadium, he had to ask someone how to get to the visitor’s clubhouse. Reyes received a mixed reaction from fans, with a hearty amount of boos and cheers, and once his two-minute video tribute was through, the game was highlighted with a fantastic pitcher’s duel between Johan Santana and Josh Johnson.

With a combined nine hits between both teams, it was be timely offense that ruled the night. Santana and Johnson both went 6.2 innings, keeping the game a scoreless tie until the seventh inning. In the top half, Giancarlo Stanton singled with two out, allowing

Gabby Sanchez to chase Johan after an RBI double. In the bottom half, the Mets turned four two-out walks into a run to tie the game, giving Santana the no decision. In the bottom of the eighth, Captain Kirk and Murphy singled in front of Lucas Duda, who lined a pitch off of Edward Mujica that scored the go-ahead run. Frank Francisco notched his fourth save of the year, and first since April 8th.

The final line for Santana was his most dominant yet: 6.2 innings pitched, 3 hits, 2 walks, 1 run, and 11 strikeouts. New York’s ace has now pitched 18 innings this season, and the offense hasn’t scored one run for him yet, but they have won two of his starts. The bullpen got back on track last night, with Ramon Ramirez, Jon Rauch, and Francisco combining for 2.1 shutout innings. The home team banged out only six hits, two of them coming from a red hot Daniel Murphy, who is now hitting .333. David Wright got back in the hit column last night, and Josh Thole added a hit to his RBI walk.

So, the big question is, how did Jose do? Well, in the top of the first, it looked like we would see a Reyes triple, but thanks to a leaping catch from Nieuwenhuis at left center field wall, the Marlins shortstop began the night with a flyout, on his way to an 0-4 night, not having much of an impact offensively, and his batting average for the season now dropping to .215. Maybe he’s feeling the pressure of a big contract in a new place? Who knows.

The win puts the Mets back over .500 at 9-8 for the season, and the loss drops the Marlins to 7-9. Both teams have been struggling in their last ten games (NY 4-6, MIA 5-5) and are looking up in the standings toward the Nationals and Braves.

Probable Pitchers today:

Now that Santana was able to make his last start in Atlanta a distant memory, it’s now R.A. Dickey‘s turn, as he takes the mound at Citi Field opposite of Miami’s Mark Buerhle. New York is looking to take the upper hand in this initial three-game set between the two teams as we head closer to the weekend. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm in Flushing.

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