This Mets team is showing some fight. After that awful, potentially demoralizing loss to the Rockies Friday night, the Mets bounced back to win on Saturday. Then on Sunday the bullpen blew a couple of leads, but the Mets were still able to pull out the game.
The Mets made Jamie Moyer look every one of his 49 years early on. Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Ruben Tejada led off the game with singles, and after Daniel Murphy struck out, David Wright lashed a double down the left field line to give the Mets a 2-0 lead (left). He would score on a Scott Hairston single. The damage could have been far worse but the Mets left the bases loaded, with Josh Thole striking out and Johan Santana lining out to right.
Thole redeemed himself in the fifth when his first home run of the year made it 4-0. Moyer lasted five innings, allowing eleven hits but also striking out seven Mets.
Santana on the other hand was brilliant. He pitched six shutout innings, allowing just two hits. For the first time in his five starts, the Mets scored runs while he was still in the game. But he remains winless thanks to the Mets bullpen.
Jon Rauch had his first poor outing of the season. In his previous 11 games Rauch did not allow a run and walked just one batter; he walked two and allowed a hit in the eighth, leaving with two outs and the bases loaded. Tim Byrdak came on and promptly allowed a grand slam to Todd Helton to tie the game at four.
If any situation cried out for the closer, this was it. The game needed saving and Frank Francisco was sitting in the bullpen. This is not a knock on Terry Collins, rather the way the usage of closers has evolved — ninth inning only, no ifs, ands or buts.
In any case, it was off to extra innings — in the 10th Mike Baxter had a pinch-hit single and then it was Nieuwenhuis coming through again with a double to score Baxter to give the Mets the 5-4 lead.
But it was short-lived — Francisco was called on to nail down the save, but he just couldn’t do it; Carlos Gonzalez hit a laser to right to tie the game at five. It was Francisco’s first blown save of the year, surprising considering his 7.56 ERA coming into the game (it is now 7.71).
The Mets took another crack at it in the 11th — Wright and Lucas Duda led off with singles, with going to third on the hit. Hairston grounded out, but Ike Davis came through with a single to score Wright for the 6-5 lead. Davis had three hits and looked much better at the plate.
So it was Ramon Ramirez’s turn to try to save the game and he was able to do it, retiring the Rockies in order in the 11th to preserve the 6-5 win.
Elsewhere, Tejada had three more hits on the day, making him 10-for-14 for the series. He came into the series batting .239 — now his average stands at .310.
And Nieuwenhuis made yet another sensational catch in the fifth, laying full-out to snag what would have been a run-scoring extra-base hit.
So the Mets win the series, they have won five of their last six games and are now 13-9 on the season. Now it’s on to Houston to face the pitiful Astros.