The Mets were very far from perfect this afternoon, but they did manage to defeat the San Francisco Giants. The first seven-and-a-half innings of the game were relatively routine, but everything went haywire after that.
The first part of the game was a pitchers' duel. Mike Pelfrey and Ryan Vogelsong were each very effective in their starts. Vogelsong struck out eight Mets in seven innings but surrendered three runs, while Pelfrey only struck out three but allowed just one run in eight innings.
The big takeaway from the game was that Pelfrey continued to look about as good as he can. His strikeout rate is very quickly getting back to normal after he had eight in his first start, but his ability to induce grounders and avoid walks are good signs. Having thrown just 102 pitches on the day, Big Pelf probably deserved a shot at the complete game, even before Frank Francisco and the Mets' defense blew the team's three-run lead in the ninth.
The lead could have easily been more had the Mets not put on an exhibition of awful baserunning in the bottom of the eighth inning. With nobody out and a run already home in the inning, David Wright stood on second, and Ike Davis stood on first. Davis mistakenly thought Wright was stealing third and followed suit but was picked off by Buster Posey in his attempt to retreat to first. Wright attempted to steal on the very next pitch and was gunned down by Posey at third. It was ugly.
Not to be outdone by those mistakes, the bullpen and defense had a meltdown in the ninth inning. Frank Francisco looked really bad. With a two-run lead and two runners on base, Terry Collins took him out of the game in favor of Tim Byrdak and Jon Rauch. Byrdak struck out the only batter he faced, and Rauch generated what should have been a game-ending pop fly to center field. Everyone seemed to lose track of it, though, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis wasn't able to make the catch. The Giants had somehow tied the game.
And then the Mets somehow won the game in the bottom of the ninth. Bruce Bochy had managed himself into a corner, and Aubrey Huff played second base for the bottom half of the inning. With one out and runners on first and second, Justin Turner hit a tailor-made double play ball to short, but Huff didn't cover second base. Everyone was safe.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis got a shot at redemption for his defensive gaffe, and he grounded into what also could have been an inning-ending double play. Scott Hairston, who had entered the game as a pinch runner for Lucas Duda, was forced out at the plate, but he got a piece of Buster Posey's leg as he slid. Posey's throw to first base went way wide of the bag to the second base side, and Ruben Tejada came around to score the winning run. A game that was once routine turned into one of the most bizarre you'll ever see.
Big winners: Mike Pelfrey, +35.5% WPA
Big losers: Jon Rauch, -29.7% (well, that's not fair)
Teh aw3s0mest play: Ruben Tejada's go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh, +17.0% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Brandon Belt's game-tying "double" in the ninth, -39.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +1.8% WPA
Total batter WPA: +48.2% WPA
GWRBI!: n/a, but hat tip to Buster Posey and Aubrey Huff
Nice job by MetsFan4Decades; her effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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