We’ve talked about it at nauseum since Sunday afternoon; the Mets were 1-5 in their last six games and were a season-high five games out of first place. Their bullpen wasn’t pitching well, the defense was poor, and they couldn’t put runs on the board. Well, that all ended last night as the offense exploded for 11 runs and 14 hits in New York’s first trip to Tropicana Field in over 10 years.
Mets Offensive Highlights:
New York was able to break open this game as it got into the later innings, and the offense was led by five players (Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jordany Valdespin, Ike Davis, Omar Quintanilla, and Lucas Duda) who collected multiple hits. Nieuwenhuis singled up the middle to lead off the game, but was erased by a Valdespin fielder’s choice. Valdespin then stole second and came around to score on a ball that Elliot Johnson couldn’t handle off the bat of David Wrightto give the Mets a 1-0 lead. New York didn’t score again until two outs in the fifth inning; Quintanilla singled followed by a Nieuwenhuis double, putting runners on second and third. Valdespin made the Rays pay with a two-run single, helping the Mets regain the lead, 3-2.
The sixth inning was where the wheels fell off for Rays starter Alex Cobb. He again, retired the first two hitters in the inning, but couldn’t close things out, as Captain Kirk drew a walk. Valdespin doubled, driving in Nieuwenhuis, then Cobb made his exit in favor or J.P. Howell after an intentional walk to Wright. Lucas Duda greeted him with a single to load the bases, followed by a two-run single from Daniel Murphy. Ike Davis then broke the game open with this sixth homer of the year, a three-run bomb to right field. The Mets weren’t done, as Quintanilla and Nieuwenhuis both singled, and Valdespin drove in his career-high fourth run of the game with a groundout. Wright singled and Duda capped off the scoring with an RBI single, pushing the lead to 11-2.
Rays Offensive Highlights:
Chis Young had a rough start in the bottom of the first inning, throwing over 20 pitches and not being able to locate his breaking ball. Carlos Pena walked with one out, followed by three straight singles by B.J. Upton, Matt Joyce, and Hideki Matsui. Matsui’s hit drove in the first Tampa Bay run of the game, tying the contest at one. Then, Will Rhymes hit a sacrifice fly to give the Rays a lead for the time being. Upton, Joyce, and Sean Rodriguez all registered multiple-hit games, but they weren’t able to put together any scoring rallies after the first inning.
After his rough first inning, Chris Young really settled down to get his first win since April 2011. He threw 106 pitches in 5.2 innings while giving up 9 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs with four strikeouts. Collins followed Young with five relievers; Elvin Ramirez and Frank Francisco were the only two relievers to throw a full inning, with neither one of them giving up a hit.
On the other hand, the fantastic pitching staff of the Rays got touched up, as all three pitchers that entered the game got scored upon. Cobb went 6.2 innings and gave up 7 hits, 3 walks, 6 runs (5 earned), and struck out 6. J.P. Howell and Cesar Ramos tried to keep the game close, but tonight wasn’t the night that would happen.
Despite still being five games out of first place due to another Nationals win, the victory snaps a three-game losing streak for the Mets, giving them a 33-29 record and some confidence as their two co-aces hit the mound to finish off this series.
In the offensive outburst last night, Jason Bay was the only Met to not get at least one hit, as he went 0-for-5, and is now hitless in 16 at-bats since his return from the DL. His average is now getting into Ike Davis territory, as it dips down to .182. However, Davis looked good last night; not only did he get a bunt single because of the defensive shift and a three-run homer, but he also walked. His average rose to .174, with Mets fans hoping that he will continue this trend.
Probable Pitchers Wednesday:
Tonight’s game will be a good one, as R.A. Dickey (9-1, 2.44 ERA) takes on David Price (8-3, 2.40 ERA). This match-up is a historic one; both of these hurlers share the league lead in wins, and it’s the first time win leaders from each league face each other in the same game since the 1920s. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm at the Trop.