The Mets took the rubber game of their series with the AL West-leading Rangers Sunday afternoon, beating them 8-5. The Mets can thank the umpires in part. They were the recipient of several questionable calls that led to runs scored (and not scored by the Rangers).
The Mets up 3-2 in the second inning with runners on first and second and one out, Justin Turner lofted a fly ball to short right for the second out. Angel Pagan easily advanced to third, but Jose Reyes tried to go to second. He looked to be out by a mile for an inning-ending double play, but the umpire called him safe. Subsequent replays showed that perhaps the second baseman got his tag down too early and Reyes was able to slide by. Rangers color guy Tom Grieve said, “Maybe the glove came down a split second early, but how could he see that?” Well, if that is what happened (and the replays were inconclusive), then the umpire did see it and made a good call. However in plays like that where the ball beats the runner to the base, it is almost always called an out, whether the fielder gets the tag down or not. Carlos Beltran followed with a single to score both runs.
Then there were two questionable calls against the Rangers in the fifth. With no outs, runners on first and second and a run already in to cut the lead to 5-3, Reyes fielded a grounder and threw to third to get the lead runner. The throw was a bit wide, pulling Justin Turner off the base. He had to tag Michael Young, who clearly got in before the tag. But Young was called out, the umpire apparently saying Turner was on the base when he got the throw. He was not.
The next batter hit a grounder to first. Daniel Murphy threw to Reyes for the force at second for the second out. The Rangers thought Reyes was off the bag when he took the throw, but the replays show he was just barely on it — but it was close, getting the call the Rangers did not get in the second. The Rangers would not score again that inning.
To the top of the sixth — runner on second, two strikes on Daniel Murphy, he took a pitch right down the middle of the plate. But the umpire called it a ball, apparently fooled by the catcher who was set up outside and had to come back for the ball. But make no mistake — it should have been strike three. On the next pitch Murphy lined a double to left to make it 6-3. That was enough for Rangers Manager Ron Washington, who got thrown out for arguing.
Jose Reyes didn’t need any help from the umpires. He was 4-5 with his 14th triple of the season. Amazing.
Dillon Gee got the win, bringing his record to 8-1. He had a couple of shaky innings pitching in front of his hometown fans, but he was able to muscle it through six innings, allowing three runs.
Things got interesting in the ninth — Francisco Rodriguez was brought in to get some work with the Mets up 8-3. He allowed two runs before finally retiring the Rangers for a very undeserved game finished.
So the Mets are back to .500 — let’s see if they can finally get over that hump and really make a run at the Wild Card.