This one looked pretty good for a while, but even as the Mets held a small lead over the Yankees for most of the game, the countless missed opportunities to pad that lead seemed increasingly likely to burn them in the end, which, of course, they did.
Curtis Granderson put the Yankees on the board in the bottom of the first with his sixteenth home run of the season, but the Mets fired back with three of their own in the top of the second. Jason Bay led off with a single and Fernando Martinez moved him to second with a single of his own. Justin Turner tapped a grounder to Ivan Nova, who had to settle for the out at first. Willie Harris then singled to center to score Bay from third, while Martinez could make it only to third after initially — and bafflingly — retreating to second before realizing that neither of the barely-in-frame middle infielders could make a play on the ball. Here's what that looked like:
It didn't much matter in the end, as Martinez scored the go-ahead run on the very next play when Ronny Paulino bounced a ball to Nova, who had to settle for the out at first after his bobble cost him an opportunity for a double play. Jason Pridie gave the Mets a 3-1 lead with a soft liner past Robinson Cano which scored Harris from second
Little changed over the next five innings, as Nova and Mike Pelfrey each repeatedly pitched into and then out of trouble. The Mets had the bulk of the scoring chances — they had runners in scoring position in the third, fourth, and sixth innings — but came up empty each time.
In the bottom of the seventh, Brett Gardner led off with a single through Pelfrey into center and Chris Dickerson followed with a five-pitch walk to put two on with none out. Pelfrey's next pitch struck a squaring-to-bunt Francisco Cervelli in the left shoulder, narrowly missing the batter's head and loading the bases for Derek Jeter. Tim Byrdak was ready and waiting in the bullpen, but Terry Collins stuck with his clearly laboring starter, a debatable but defensible decision — the lefty Byrdak facing the righty Jeter wasn't obviously preferable.
Jeter turned Pelfrey's next pitch into a many-hop single up the middle which barely escaped Jose Reyes's glove, scoring Gardner and Dickerson to tie the game at three. Curtis Granderson inexplicably bunted Cervelli to third and Jeter to first, and after Byrdak intentionally walked Mark Teixira to load the bases again, Collins called on Pedro Beato to come on and face Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez feebly tapped Beato's first pitch down the third base line, leaving "third baseman" Willie Harris without a play and putting the Yankees ahead 4-3.
Robinson Cano continued the hit parade with a single to right which plated Jeter with the Yankees' fifth run and fourth of the inning. Beato struck Jorge Posada out on a questionable strike-three call, then Pat Misch came on to face Brett Gardner with the bases still loaded and the Mets teetering on the brink of total collapse. Misch quickly got ahead 0-2, but Gardner took the third pitch for a ball and hit the fourth pitch into left field for a two-run double, running the score to 7-3. Dickerson officially put us all out of our misery — i.e., we could officially stop watching with any pretense that a Mets victory was in the offing — by stroking a 2-2 single to left to give the Yankees an insurmountable 9-3 lead.
Things might have turned out even worse, as Willie Harris botched a Cervelli grounder to put runners on first and second. Jeter smashed a 1-0 grounder to Justin Turner at second, who struggled to corral the ball before finally firing to first to nail Jeter by a negative half-step. Indeed, the Yankees and the officiating crew may have conspired to keep this game as close as it was. The three outs recorded were:
- A sacrifice bunt by Granderson.
The strike-three call on Posada which was caught at his ankles and may or may not have crossed the plate.
A too-close-to-call ground out by Jeter which turned out to be the incorrect call.
BOTTOM OF THE 7TH BY THE NUMBERS
Pitching change: 3
Time elapsed: 30 minutes
The understandably demoralized Mets went 1-2-3-4-5-6 in the eighth and ninth innings to wrap up another Yankee Stadium series loss.
Big winners: Willie Harris, +10.9% WPA, Jason Pridie, +8.4% WPA
Big losers: Mike Pelfrey, -18.1% WPA, Jose Reyes, -14.9% WPA, Pedro Beato, -14.9% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pridie RBI single in second, +8.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jeter two-run single in seventh, -18.6% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -44.2% WPA
Total batter WPA: -5.8% WPA
GWRBI!: Alex Rodriguez
Nice job by MetsFan4Decades; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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