Game Recap: Lack of Situational Hitting Dooms Mets in 3-1 Loss

By Matt Musico

New York was flying high as they came in to play the offensively challenged Padres; they just took three of four from a good San Francisco Giants team, and were looking to build upon that success at Petco Park. In what turned out to be a pitcher’s duel, Clayton Richard got the best of R.A. Dickey, as New York couldn’t cash in with runners in scoring position.

Mets Offensive Highlights:

Both pitchers kept their opponents off the board until the fourth inning, when the Mets were able to break through and give R.A. Dickey a 1-0 lead. David Wright walked to lead off the frame, and Scott Hairston singled behind him. Once two outs were recorded, Ronny Cedeno hit a grounder up the middle to second baseman Logan Forsythe. Instead of throwing it underhand to his shortstop, Everth Cabrera, he threw the ball overhand, and over the head of Cabrera, allowing Wright to score. Once they gave up the lead, New York had runners on first and second with one out and Wright up in the eighth inning. However, the third baseman struck out, and Jordany Valdespin grounded out sharply to second as Huston Streetcame on to get the four-out save.

Padres Offensive Highlights:

Cabrera got things started in the bottom of the sixth inning walked, moved to second on a sac bunt, then surprised the Mets with a delayed steal of third base. That proved crucial, as Chris Denorfia hit a fly ball to deep right center, allowing Cabrera to score and tie up the ballgame. San Diego came right back in the seventh inning to take the lead before R.A. Dickey made his exit. Carlos Quentin singled with one out, then eventualy came around the score on a Yonder Alonso double. Quentin was dead to rights at home, but Josh Thole couldn’t hold onto the ball in the collusion, which also allowed Alonso to get to third base, and ended up being the turning point in the game. He then scored on a soft single by John Baker, giving the Padres a 3-1 lead.

Pitching Highlights:

Clayton Richard was fantastic tonight, as he threw 7 solid innings, giving up 1 run while scattering 8 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 2 hitters. Luke Gregerson, rumored to be offered for Daniel Murphy in a proposed trade that was rejected by Sandy Alderson earlier in the season, came in and pitched 0.2 innings, followed by Huston Street getting the last out in the eighth, and retired the Mets in order in the ninth to get his 18th straight save this season.

R.A. Dickey had his knuckleball dancing, but he couldn’t keep the Padre bats silent enough before the Mets could build upon their early lead. Dickey ended up throwing 7 innings in 114 pitches, giving up 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits and 3 walks, with 9 strikeouts. He pitched well enough to win, but couldn’t get the run support as his seven start road winning streak comes to an end. Jon Rauch relieved the knuckleballer with  a scoreless inning, despite getting hit hard on two occasions.

Worth Noting:

Ronny Cedeno collected two more hits, as he’s now has five in his last two ballgames. Ruben Tejada was the other Met to have a multi-hit game, but the area where New York has continued to struggle in since returning from the All-Star break is coming up with big hits in key situations. This was something that was common for the Amazins in the first half, but has disappeared for most of the second half, with tonight as no exception; Terry Collins watched his club go 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, despite out-hitting San Diego 9-4.

The loss bring the Mets back down to three games below .500, as they currently sit at 52-55. They remain 11 games out of first in the NL East, and 8.5 games behind the last Wild Card spot.

Probable Pitchers Saturday:

Jeremy Hefner (1-4, 5.52 ERA) will face his former club for the second time this year, with the threat of rain being the farther thing from his mind, as he’s hoping to not get interrupted in the middle of his appearance for a second time. The Mets will be facing Edinson Volquez (7-7, 3.51 ERA), who is taking the hill for the home team. First pitch at Petco Park is scheduled for 8:35pm EST.