Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 4 Braves 3

An absolutely wonderful win. By far the biggest win of the season. The Mets needed this game and they got it. They needed a near miracle in the 9th inning to pull it out, but that's what they got.

I'm going to start the recap in the beginning so stay with me before I get to the good parts.

The Mets started this one with a Reyes run. He singled, went to second an errant pickoff throw my Smoltz; to third on a sac bunt from Castillo and scored on a sac fly from Wright.

Smoltz throws away a pickoff attempt leading to the Mets first run
Reyes gets ready to run to second

They had a chance at another Reyes run in the third (single, steal, to third on groundout) but Wright struck out.

El Duque dominated the Braves through 5 2/3 allowing only one hit. But with two outs in the 6th he walked Willie Harris in a 9 pitch at bat. Then Kelly Johnson singled and up came Chipper Jones. Chipper, who kills the Mets as we know, doubled to right center to drive home 2 runs and give the Braves the lead. This was a weird play because the ball didn't make the gap it should have been a single, evidently Milledge was playing Jones over to left and took forever getting to the ball allowing Johnson to score and Jones to second. That bit them in the ass on the next play when Teixeira singled and Jones scored.

At that point the Mets looked dead. And although Castillo singled to lead off the next inning, Wright, Delgado and Alou all made out to leave him stranded.

But the bottom of the order got going in the 7th. Green singled, and Milledge singled after LoDuca made out. Once again Willie outmanuevered himself here, burning Gotay in order to get the lefty Mahay into the game against Easley. Mahay walked Easley to load the bases. Then with the bases loaded and one out Reyes swung at the first three pitches from a relief pitcher who had just come into the game and walked a guy, infuriating. Reyes popped out and left it up to Castillo. Castillo hit a broken bat looper into centerfield to tie the game and Shea Stadium was rocking, until David Wright grounded out weakly to the pitcher.

Luis Castillo trades his bat for a game-tying single

Heilman pitched a scoreless 8th setting up Moises Alou's game winning homer. It came on an 0-2 count on a pitch up and in. Alou sort of leaned back to get at it, a move Reyes later mimicked in the dugout. But Alou crushed the ball and the Mets had the lead for their closer Billy Wagner who has been almost perfect this year. Almost.

Alou leaning back to reach the inside pitch
Alou

Wagner came on and overthrew two fastballs to Chipper. Then he singled, and on the first pitch to Teixeira singled as well. First and second no one out and Cox smartly took out his star catcher Brian McCann (a huge double play threat) for his best bunter, former Met Chris Woodward. Woodward couldn't get the bunt down, because Wagner walked him. That loaded the bases with no outs and put the Mets in an incredibly precarious position. They had to play the infield back (at least in the middle) because you don't want to lose the game on a hard ground ball. Thankfully Francouer hit it right at Wright who took his time (smart play) and made an accurate throw home to LoDuca who wisely decided not to try to throw out Francoeur at first. Francouer was running inside the line and if LoDuca had hit him with the throw before he reached the bag by rule he should have been called out, but it wasn't a worthwhile risk.

LoDuca gets the first out of the 9th inning at home plate

Then on a 1-1 count Wagner induced Andruw Jones to hit a tailor made double play ball right to Luis Castillo who flipped it to Reyes for one who threw to Delgado who made his now standard fist pump and sealed the victory.

to Reyes for one, to first double play

Doesn't matter how he got the save, it only matters that he got the save

A big night for two new Mets, Moises Alou and Luis Castillo.

Alou really hadn't done anything as a Met so far, I know he was hurt, but the Mets signed him to get big hits like this one, and no matter the reason, the Mets need his bat in the lineup contributing big hits.

And maybe I was a little hard on Luis Castillo when he got here. I never said I was displeased with the trade, I just wasn't excited about it. But Castillo, in his own style, is an effective player. He doesn't hit the ball hard, but he seems to hit it to the right spots to get a lot of singles. He's not going to drive in runs, but he can help the Mets create some by continuing to spray balls in front of the outfielders.

Shawn Green entered the game batting .500 (13-26) off John Smoltz. He went 3-3 off Smoltz improving his average to .552, the best average of any hitter against Smoltz.

David Wright is 5-44 (.114) against the Braves this year including 1 for his last 30.

When the Mets got back into the game the excited fans started throwing their giveaway SNY baseball cards. Gary Cohen joked that all the cards being thrown were his, as the fans love Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez. Darling said "they're hording the Julie Donaldson cards."

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