After completing back-to-back sweeps over the Nationals and Marlins, the N.L. East leading Mets enjoyed a well deserved Thursday off.
On Friday, they arrived on Florida’s left coast to open a 3-game inter-league weekend series in Tampa against the gamely Rays. Sophomore Jacob deGrom started this evening’s opener, and was opposed by Rays’ right-hander Jake Odorizzi.
Aug 7, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Mets fans cheer during the ninth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. New York Mets defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Mets threatened in the 3rd inning, but it was Tampa left fielder Grady Sizemore whom opened the scoring with a home run in the 4th.
Jacob deGrom and Jake Odorizzi continued dueling through the 6th with Tampa clinging to a precarious 1-0 lead. Then with 1-out in the top of the 7th, professional batsman, and trade deadline acquisition Juan Uribe tied the game with an impressive home run to left.
James Loney promptly put the Rays back on top with a mammoth home run in the bottom of the frame. But Daniel Murphy would have none of that, homering in the top of the 8th, knotting the game back up at two.
The home run derby continued in the bottom of the 8th, when Evan Longoria connected on a solo home run deep over the center field wall.
Mets Starting Lineup:
With 1-out in the top of the 3rd, Kelly Johnson registered the Mets first hit. Wilmer Flores followed with sharp base hit to left. Both runners advanced on Curtis Granderson‘s deep sac-fly to the warning track in left. However, Daniel Murphy stranded both runners with a routine fly to center.
Center fielder Kevin Kiermaier opened the home 3rd with a base hit. Next up, catcher Curt Casali was indeed hit by a deGrom inside fastball, but the umpire ruled Casali offered at the pitch, thus negating safe passage to first. With 1-out, DH John Jaso bounced into a 4-6-3 double play.
- Jacob deGrom labored, somewhat, through his first 3 inning pitched. He faced 2 batters over the minimum, but expended 49 pitches with 33 (67%) going for strikes. He averaged 16.3 pitchers per frame, but otherwise allowed no runs on just 2 hits, walked none, and fanned 2 batters.
The Mets went 2 for 14 with 3 strikeouts against Jake Odorizzi through their first 4 at-bats.
Left fielder Grady Sizemore led-off the bottom of the 4th with a line drive home run into the right field seats. With 1-out, first baseman James Loney doubled to left, but was left stranded after Jacob deGrom fanned second baseman Logan Forsythe and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera.
- Through 5 innings pitched, Tampa’s Jake Odorizzi posted zeroes, surrendered just 2 hits, walked none, and fanned 5 batters. He threw 66 pitches with 44 (66%) going for strikes, while averaging 13.2 pitches per frame.
With 2-outs in the 6th, Daniel Murphy singled for only the third Mets hit.
With 2-out in the top of the 7th, Juan Uribe homered to deep (deeep) left off Odorizzi, tying the game at one. Then after Odorizzi issued a walk to Travis d’Arnaud he was relieved after 102 pitches. Righty Steve Geltz induced a pop-out from Kelly Johnson retiring the Mets.
With 1-out in the home 7th, James Loney jacked an absolutely stupid home run that reached the back row of the right field seats. When Logan Forsythe followed with a near-dinger off the right field wall for a double Terry Collins emerged from the dugout with haste.
- Jacob deGrom battled himself over 6.1 innings pitched. He threw 108 pitches with 77 (71%) going for strikes, but averaged 17.7 pitchers per frame. He allowed 2 earned runs on 6 hits, walked none, and fanned 7 batters. He exited on the losing side of a 2-1 game.
Newly acquired Eric O’Flaherty entered in relief of deGrom, and plunked the first batter he faced pinch-hitter Brandon Guyer. He then induced a pop-out from Kevin Kiermaier. Bobby Parnell was summoned into the game, and walked Curt Casali loading the bases. With 2-outs, John Jaso flied to Conforto in left, but not before the Rays took a 2-1 lead.
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With 2-outs in the top of the 8th, Daniel Murphy took Jacob deGrom off the hook when he deposited a Jake McGee offering into the front rows of section 144 in right field to knot the game again at two.
But that lasted for all of a few commercials for those watching at home. That’s because in the bottom of the frame, Evan Longoria connected on a solo home run over the center field wall off reliever Tyler Clippard putting Tampa back up by one.
With Tampa’s Brad Boxberger pitching, Lucas Duda reached safely on an E-1. With Juan Uribe at the plate, Duda advanced on a wild pitched. Uribe then popped out to James Loney for the first out. Michael Conforto followed with a clutch double to left/center plating Duda with the tying run. Travis d’Arnaud advanced Conforto to third with a sharp infield base hit to second. Kelly Johnson lined a ball straight at Cabrera at short for the second out. Wilmer Flores then continued his feel-good story with a RBI hit to right, Conforto scored, d’Arnaud advanced to third.
Closer Jeurys Familia entered the game in the bottom of the 9th and was greeted by an Asdrubal Cabrera base hit to center. With 2-outs and Cabrera on second base, Familia fanned Curt Casali to finally end this damn thing, putting the Mets 9 games over the .500 mark, and improving their first place standing.
- Bottom 4th inning – Grady Sizemore solo home run.
- Top 7th inning – Juan Uribe solo home run.
- Bottom 7th inning – James Loney solo home run.
- Top 8th inning – Daniel Murphy solo home run.
- Bottom 8th inning – Evan Longoria solo home run.
- Top 9th inning – Lucas Duda reached on an E-1, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Michael Conforto doubled to score Duda. Wilmer Flores singled to right, Conforto scored.
- Mets 4; RAYS 3
- With Friday’s victory over the Rays, the Mets extended their second longest winning streak of the season to 7 games. In addition to their 11-game winning streak staged back in April, the Mets previously posted a pair of 4-game streaks, and won 3 straight on four other occasions.
- The Mets improved their record to 59-50, and 21-32 on the road. The good news is they are now 6-4 on the road since the All-Star game. If(!) they can manage to play .500 road baseball the rest of the way, and continue playing well at home, well, then…, you know.
- With family and friends in attendance, Jacob deGrom was good, by National League standards, but just not at his personal best. His ERA grew slightly from 2.09 to a 2.13 mark. He entered the game with a stingy 0.6 HR/9 average, but in this game allowed a pair over 6.1 innings. Jacob factored in only his 5th no-decision of the season.
- Tyler Clippard earned a dubious victory.
- Michael Conforto – game tying RBI in the 9th inning.
- As was the case in Miami, local Mets fans made the place feel like an Amazin’ home game.
- The game did not end without controversy, as several Tampa foul balls hit to Juan Uribe at third base brought into question umpire positioning, which ump has right of call, and as far as Terry Collins was concerned, if they were even capable of making a correct call at all.
- The Colorado Rockies defeated the Washington Nationals. The Mets now lead the N.L. East by 2.5 games over Washington.
8/8 Saturday, 6:10pm
Mets @ RAYS