The Mets opened their homestand Friday against the Giants with what turned out to be a pretty good game, although they would fall 4-3 in 10 innings.
With Mets fans looking forward to next Tuesday’s game against the Marlins when Jose Reyes makes his homecoming to Citi Field, Angel Pagan let fans know that he, too, was back in town. The former Mets centerfielder hit a solo home run (left) in the third innings to give his Giants a 1-0 lead.
The Giants eventually built the lead to 3-0 when Jason Bay and Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit solo home runs in the fourth and fifth innings respectively to cut the lead to 3-2.
The score remained the same until the ninth. Bay led off the inning with an infield single, and with one out moved to second on a wild pitch. Nieuwenhuis walked, and then Josh Thole had a brilliant at bat against Javier Lopez, fouling off pitch after pitch until he got one he could handle, singling Bay home, with Nieuwenhuis moving to third.
What happened next shows how the game has changed. Pinch hitter Mike Baxter hit a tough grounder to drawn-in first baseman Brandon Belt, who fired home. Catcher Hector Sanchez was blocking the plate, and Nieuwenhuis failed in an attempt to slide around him. In years past the runner would have barreled into the catcher, but in these more genteel days, a fancy slide was in order.
But then in the tenth, Frank Francisco walked leadoff batter Melky Cabrera. You could almost hear Bob Murphy say, “Oh those bases on balls.” Cabrera stole second and later scored on a single to center for the 4-3 lead.
The Mets made it interesting in the bottom of the tenth — Daniel Murphy and David Wright both singled, then both advanced on an Ike Davis groundout. But Bay struck out, and Lucas Duda gave a ball a ride to center, but it ultimately found Gregor Blanco’s glove for the final out.
Jonathon Niese started, allowing three runs in six innings of work. Nieuwenhuis added an incredible catch diving catch in the eighth, the type that makes highlight reels for years to come.
The Mets have now lost three straight, and four of their last five.