Amazin’ Ten of 2012: #7 – July 5
New York fans woke up this morning to the joyful tune of David Wright’s massive contract extension, which will almost definitely guarantee he remains a Met for life. How appropriate that today’s entry in our Amazin’ Ten countdown (#7 for those of you counting) is the most Wright-centric of our games?
#7 – Wright Rings the Phillies’ Bell (July 5)
July 5, 2012; Flushing, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman David Wright (5) hits an RBI single to center against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
The Mets had split the first two games in a three-game home matchup with the hated Philadelphia Phillies. The 28,409 fans who filed into Citi Field that evening were looking forward to a premiere pitching matchup between R.A. Dickey and Cole Hamels. What they got instead was one of the finest performances of David Wright’s MVP-caliber first half.
Philadelphia got a walk, hit-by-pitch, and single off Dickey in the 1st for an early lead, then added another in the 2nd on Jimmy Rollins’s RBI double. Scott Hairston brought the home team back into it in the bottom of the 2nd with a solo home run, and the expected pitchers’ duel was turning into a slugfest in a hurry.
In the bottom of the 3rd, Dickey helped his own cause with a one-out single. Ruben Tejada’s pop fly made the second out, but Daniel Murphy kept the rally alive with a single. Up came David Wright, who took two balls from Hamels before swinging and missing at two straight. Hamels tossed a changeup in the dirt and Wright fouled off a fastball. Then on pitch #7, Hamels tossed a beautiful changeup at the knees; it was a brilliant pitch, but the man at the plate was more brilliant, as Wright lashed it into center for the game-tying RBI single. It was the first time Wright outdueled Philly pitching on the evening…it would not be the last.
The Phils came right back and took a 3-2 lead in the 4th, but David came up again with two outs in the 5th, looking to bring home Tejada on first to even it again. He did much more than that, blasting a two-run home run over the former Great Wall of Flushing. 4-3 Mets, and surely after all the fighting it took this lead would stick. Unfortunately, R.A. Dickey was in the middle of one of his handful of bad starts of the season; he put his team behind not one inning later.
Philadelphia had the chance to add another off the New York bullpen in the 8th inning, but a Scott Hairston throw of a Chase Utley single nailed Mike Fontenot by a mile at the plate; Josh Thole, who had a few collisions earlier in the season, came through this one unscathed, and the Mets were still in it.
July 5, 2012; Flushing, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman David Wright (5) gets a whipped cream pie in the face after the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mets won 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
Still down 5-4 in the 9th, the Mets’ best medicine came from a pitcher they had already humiliated once in May: Jonathan Papelbon. Ike Davis remembered how good that felt, and he bounced a leadoff double of Paps to prove it. Thole sacrificed him to third, but when Kirk Nieuwenhuis failed to bring him in, the team’s prospects look bleak. However, Jordany Valdespin, a.k.a. Philly’s worst nightmare, spooked Papelbon and got hit by a pitch. Ruben Tejada walked to load the bases for Daniel Murphy, who pounded a groundball off the closer’s foot that rolled toward the first base line and died in foul ground. Tying run scores, Mets get to Papelbon again. And who better to deliver the death knell to a former Goliath than David himself? Wright blooped the first pitch he saw into right field, just out of reach of a diving Hunter Pence. The Mets win the ballgame(!), 6-5, and after a 3-5, 4 RBI performance, Wright earned himself a screen date with Kevin Burkhardt and a whipped cream pie in the face from Justin Turner.
Unfortunately for David, the .354 batting average that stood on July 6 was as good as it would get in 2012. As the team went into a nosedive, so did his numbers as he tried to do too much. He hit just .259 with 34 RBIs the rest of the way. But a final line of .306/.391/.492 with 21 home runs and 93 RBIs was a welcome improvement from a disappointing 2011 campaign and earned him 6th place in the NL MVP vote. With a new deal in place and a shiny new captain’s “C” ready to be stitched on his uniform, David Wright is ready to lead the New York Mets for the rest of the 2010s and is ready to deliver in ways like he did over his greatest rival on the 5th of July.
July 5: the seventh most Amazin’ game of 2012. We’ll bring you #6 next Monday.
Amazin’ Ten of 2012
#10 – Slugfest at Wrigley (June 27)
#9 – Niese Caps a Magical Weekend (June 3)
#8 – The Real Johan Returns (May 26)
#7 – Wright Rings the Phillies’ Bell (July 5)
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