The Mets opened a four-game series in San Francisco Monday night, and if they hope to have any success there, they have to match the Giants stellar rotation with excellent starts of their own. Well, Jeremy Hefner got things started on a positive note, however some sloppy fielding did him in. The Mets offense kicked into gear to take the lead, only to be undermined by the bullpen in the ninth inning. They would win in extras, thanks to Scott Hairston’s second home run on the night.
The Giants got on the board first — a Marco Scutaro sacrifice fly in the third made it 1-0.
The Mets answered back in the top of the fourth, but the damage could have been far more had it not been for an awful call by the umpires. David Wright led off the inning with a single. Scott Hairston hit a grounder to third that could have been a double play, except second baseman Ryan Theriot dropped the toss. Wright quickly scampered to third. However, the umpire called Wright out at second, saying Theriot dropped the ball on the transfer. He clearly did not; he never had control. In any case, Hairston stole second, Ike Davis struck out and Jason Bay walked. With two outs Ronny Cedeno doubled to left, scoring both runners to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.
The Giants tied it in the fifth when Melky Cabrera drove home Scutaro, who led off the inning with a double.
San Francisco regained the lead in the sixth. With one out, consecutive singles put runners on first and third. Pinch hitter Aubrey Huff hit a certain double play ball to second baseman Ronny Cedeno that should have ended the inning. However Cedeno could not handle the easy grounder, recovering in time to only get the out at second and allowing the run to score from third to make it 3-2. Scutaro singled to send Matt Cain (who was pinch running for Huff after he hurt himself running down to first) to third. Theriot singled to right to score Cain and make it 4-2. Hefner was lifted in favor of Ramon Ramirez with two outs and runners on first and third. He was able to close out the inning.
Hefner pitched better than his line indicated — 5.2 innings, four runs allowed on 10 hits, with five strikeouts and three walks. That Cedeno bobble, while not an error, was the killer.
But Hairston bailed out Cedeno and saved Hefner from a loss. Jordany Valdespin led off the eighth inning with a pinch hit single, and with one out Hairston sent a pitch over the wall in left to tie the score at four. But the Mets weren’t through. Ike Davis was hit by a pitch and was erased from the basepaths when Jason Bay grounded into a fielder’s choice. Pinch hitter Justin Turner then hit a two-out double to deep center to score Bay from first and take a 5-4 lead. Rob Johnson then hit a ball that Scutaro could not handle. It hit off his glove, allowing Turner to score to extend the Mets lead to 6-4.
Jon Rauch pitched a perfect eighth, and then came Bobby Parnell and the ninth inning. Melky Cabrera led off with a single to left. Buster Posey followed with a long double to score Cabrera to cut it the Mets lead to 6-5. Eli Whiteside came in to pinch run for Posey. Gregor Blanco hit a chopper to second for the first out, moving Whiteside to third. Terry Collins removed Parnell from the game, bringing in Josh Edgin to close things out. Nate Schierholtz hit a slow roller down to first that Davis somehow missed. It looked like Davis was trying to get in position for the eventual throw home, causing him to whiff on the ball. Whiteside scored to tie the game at six. Schierholtz ended up at second. Edgin struck out Bradon Belt and walked Justin Christian. Joaquin Arias was next, hitting a ball up the middle that Daniel Murphy fielded, but he could not get a grip on the ball to throw anywhere, so the bases were load. Edgin then struck out Scutaro on a full count to end the inning.
So it was onto extra innings. And in the tenth it was Hairston again, with a solo shot to give the Mets a 7-6 lead. He now has 14 home runs on the season. With one out Bay walked and Mike Baxter, fresh off the disabled list, picked up where he left off with a pinch hit single that moved Bay to third. Johnson then bunted for what was supposed to be a safety squeeze. However Bay took off from third when nobody bothered to look him back. He scored a huge insurance run to make it 8-6.
Every Mets fan held their breath as Manny Acosta was called on to get the save (Guillermo Mota was apparently not available). He predictably walked Theriot to start the 10th. Cabrera hit a long, scary fly to the warning track in center for the first out. Acosta walked Whiteside to put runners in first and second. Collins then came out and all he did was talk to Acosta instead of removing him (only Elvin Ramirez was left in the bullpen, and he wasn’t even warming up). Blanco popped up to Wright in foul territory for the second out. Schierholtz singled to score Theriot to make it an 8-7 game. Belt came to the plate with runners on first and third with two outs. He hit an even scarier drive to dead center that Valdespin was able to track down for the final out.
In spite of the poor effort by the bullpen, the Mets win a wild one, 8-7.