Resilient Mets blow leads, win anyway

The Mets won the rubber game in Denver yesterday 6-5 over the Rockies in a wild game that saw the Mets lose leads of 4-0 in the eighth and 5-4 in the tenth before finally pulling through in the eleventh inning.

Johan Santana pitched a fine game for the Mets with just three walks and two hits allowed in six innings, and after Miguel Batista pitched a perfect seventh inning, it looked like the Mets were about to cruise to victory. However, they say that no lead is safe at Coors Field, and that turned out to be true for the 4-0 advantage that the Mets held going into the eighth.

With set-up man Jon Rauch on the mound, the Rockies loaded the bases with a single from Dexter Fowler and walks issued to Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer. With two outs and a chance to tie the game with a home run, Colorado manager Jim Tracy pinch hit for reliever Edgmer Escalona with Todd Helton (it was meant to be a day off for the veteran first baseman). Terry Collins responded by bringing in lefty specialist Tim Byrdak, but Helton hit the jackpot anyway when he pulled a fastball down the right field line and into the seats.

All of a sudden the score was tied 4-4 and Colorado had all the momentum. The Mets had a chance to strike back in the top of the ninth when David Wright walked and later moved to third on a balk, but with one out Scott Hairston struck out and then Ike Davis roped a liner right into second baseman Marco Scutaro’s glove. In the bottom of the ninth, Bobby Parnell took down the Rockies in order, and we were off to extra innings.

With one out in the tenth, Mike Baxter proved useful once again when he pinch hit for Parnell and singled to right field. Kirk Nieuwenhuis followed that up with a double down the left field line that allowed Baxter to come all the way around to score. However, Rockies reliever Matt Belisle got out of the inning without further damage to set up an exciting bottom of the tenth.

Frank Francisco came on for the save chance, but with one out Carlos Gonzalez ripped a line drive to right that just barely managed to make it over the high wall there. Amazingly, the Rockies had come back again, but the Mets were not done scoring runs.

David Wright and Lucas Duda led off the eleventh with singles off of Belisle to put runners on the corners. After Hairston hit into a fielder’s choice (Duda out at second), the game once again came down to Ike Davis. With the infield drawn in, the beleaguered Met bounced a ground ball into left field to drive in Wright and give New York a 6-5 lead. Ramon Ramirez stepped in for Francisco in the bottom of the inning and retired Colorado in order to finally end the game.

More Met notes

  • The 49-year-old Jamie Moyer pitched a decent game for Colorado. Although he allowed the Mets 11 hits and two walks in five innings, he also struck out seven batters and only allowed four runs. That turned out to be enough to give the Rockies a chance later in the game.
  • The Mets got five of their 18 total hits in the first inning. After a pair of singles from Nieuwenhuis and Ruben Tejada, Wright drove both home with a double to left.  Following a Duda walk, Hairston singled home Wright to make the score 3-0, and then Davis singled to load the bases. With just one out and the bases full, the Mets failed to expand the lead further when Thole struck out and Santana lined out.
  • In the top of the fifth, Josh Thole continued his amazing hitting versus lefties when he homered off of Moyer to make the score 4-0. On the season, Thole is hitting .429/.467/.714 in 15 palte appearances versus southpaws with one walk and four strikeouts.
  • Nieuwenhuis, Tejada and Davis all had three hits in a game that saw the Mets leave 14 men on base.

This week, the Mets play a three-game series in Houston versus the Astros. The first game starts at 8:05 PM tonight with R.A. Dickey on the hill opposing Bud Norris.

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