Jason Bay returned to the lineup on Tuesday and he had a chance to be a hero — he was due to come to bat as the tie-breaking run in the ninth inning. But Terry Collins shockingly pulled him for a pinch hitter and Jordany Valdespin became the hero instead, hitting a three-run homer run to give the Mets the lead. But the Mets wasted what should have been a great moment in their season — the bullpen of course blew that lead, and then another lead, as they lost in extra innings on a wild pitch, of all things.
The game was scoreless into the fifth when Jonathon Niese allowed a solo homer to Tyler Moore to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead.
The Mets blew a golden opportunity in the seventh. David Wright led off the inning with a double off the wall and quickly moved to third on a wild pitch. Scott Hairston struck out, Bay flew out to shallow center and then Ike David hit a ball sharply that the second baseman fielded on a bounce and flipped to first.
Ross Detwiler held the Mets scoreless through seven innings, and for some reason old pal Davey Johnson took him out after just 86 pitches. Sean Burnett came on in the eighth and immediately got a break from the umpires — Andres Torres was called out on a grounder to first, but he clearly beat the throw. Pinch hitter Daniel Murphy doubled to right, Justin Turner, up for Niese, struck out and Ruben Tejada grounded out. This would have been a completely different inning had the Torres play been ruled correctly; for the third straight game bad umpiring has victimized the Mets.
Niese pitched one of his best game of the season, going seven innings, allowing just the one run on three hits, striking out eight and walking no one.
And once again the bullpen failed to keep the game close. Ramon Ramirez got the first two outs of the eighth, but then Collins decided to play the lefty-righty nonsense, bringing in Josh Edgin. He walked pinch hitter Mark DeRosa, who then stole second and came around to score a huge insurance run when Steve Lombardozzi doubled to left, making it 2-0.
Josh Thole led off the ninth against closer Tyler Clippard with a single to right. Wright singled to left, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Hairston struck out yet again in a key situation for the first out. Then Collins showed how much failth he has in Bay by pinch hitting for him. Luckily it worked with Valdespin hitting the three-run home run to right to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. It was his third pinch hit home run of the season.
Bay’s return to the lineup was nothing to behold. In addition to the disgrace of having a rookie pinch hit for him with the game on the line and his inability to hit a fly ball deep enough to score Wright, he also grounded out twice, one of them into a double play.
Coming off of Saturday’s meltdown, Bobby Parnell came on in the bottom of the ninth for the save. He got Ryan Zimmerman to fly out, but Michael Morse singed. Ian Desmond pinch ran for Morse and attempted to steal second, and with the Tejada covering, Adam LaRoche hit a grounder to Tejada’s vacated spot. It went for a single, putting runners on first and third. Moore struck out for the second out. Danny Espinosa then hit a single up the middle to tie the score at three. Parnell struck out Jesus Flores to send the game into extra innings.
Murphy led off the tenth with an infield single. Kirk Nieuwenhuis bunted him over to the second. Ruben Tejada flew out, and then with two outs Thole doubled to left to give the Mets a 4-3 lead.
Not trusting anyone else in the bullpen, Tim Byrdak came on for the save. Jhonatan Solano led off with a single. Lombardozzi bunted him over to second and Bryce Harper hit a triple to right to tie the score once again at four. Zimmerman and Desmond were intentionally walked to load the bases to face the lefty LaRoche. He hit a grounder to the drawn-in infield and Davis got the force at home for the second out. Pedro Beato came on to face Moore and on a one-two count Beato threw a wild pitch to lose the game.
The Mets losing streak reaches five as they lose in 10 innings, 5-4. Your New York Mets bullpen — always finding new ways to blow games.