The Mets turned an early three-run deficit into a late two-run lead, but unlike their three-game sweep of the Phillies earlier this week, they were not able to secure a victory on Friday night in Miami. Once trailing 3-0, the Mets turned the game around and took a 5-3 lead in the eighth inning only to see everything fall apart and lose 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth.
Jose Reyes scored two of the Marlins' four runs on the evening, but he only reached base because two of the Mets' most defensively-gifted players made bad plays in the field. When Reyes led off the bottom of the first inning, he hit a hard line drive to center field that Andres Torres should have caught but missed. Reyes wound up on third with what was officially deemed a triple and came in to score on a bloop single by Omar Infante.
Johan Santana was not particularly sharp in the game, especially in the first inning. He struck out Hanley Ramirez following the Infante single, but he surrendered a two-run bomb to Austin Kearns that put the Marlins up by three.
After that, however, Santana settled in very nicely. He retired the next two batters in the first and threw five more scoreless innings to keep the Mets in the game. In six total innings of work, Santana struck out seven and walked none.
Mark Buerhle kept the Mets off the board until Ike Davis hit a solo home run in the fifth. He pitched into the seventh inning but gave up a run-scoring double to Mike Nickeas in the frame that cut Miami's lead to one. With Nickeas on second and one out, Terry Collins pinch hit for Santana with Justin Turner, who popped out weakly on the one and only pitch he saw in his at bat. Buerhle's night came to an end after he issued a walk to Torres, but lefty reliever Randy Choate struck out Daniel Murphy to end the inning.
Ramon Ramirez threw a scoreless inning to keep the game within reach, and the Mets took advantage in the eighth. David Wright doubled and advanced to third on a groundball out by Lucas Duda. Kirk Nieuwenhuis then pinch hit for Scott Hairston and drilled a double to right field to tie the game. The Marlins intentionally walked Davis, but Ronny Cedeno worked a walk to load the bases.
Collins sent Mike Baxter to the plate to hit for Mike Nickeas, and Ozzie Guillen countered with Ryan Webb. Baxter doubled to left-center field to bring home two runs and give the Mets the lead. It looked like the Mets would win their sixth game in a row.
With runners on second and third and just one out, Rob Johnson came into the pitcher's spot of the order and struck out. Andres Torres drew a walk - he saw 25 pitches in 5 plate appearances in the game - to load the bases. Daniel Murphy had the chance to really put the game away, but he grounded out to end the inning.
Bobby Parnell took the mound in the bottom of the inning and got one out before inducing what should have been an easy ground out from Reyes. Ike Davis botched the play, though, and Omar Infante once drove in Reyes. The Mets' lead had been cut in half. Parnell retired Hanley Ramirez, and when Guillen pinch hit for Austin Kearns with Logan Morrison, Collins brought in Tim Byrdak. As is often the case with Byrdak, he struck out the left-handed hitter to end the inning.
The Mets failed to score in the ninth, and Frank Francisco had an awful inning that turned a potential amazing victory into a rather deflating loss. Giancarlo Stanton led off the inning, and here's how the ESPN box score reads:
G Stanton doubled to deep left center.
Stanton did, indeed, double to deep left center, but he unbelievably did so on a ground ball. Unfortunately, he came around to score on a one-out single by wannabe-Victorino Emilio Bonifacio, and after stealing second, Bonifacio scored the winning run on a two-out single by Greg Dobbs, who is somehow still playing baseball.
It was certainly a deflating loss, but the Mets did plenty of good in the game before ultimately turning into pumpkins in the eighth and ninth innings. The WPA graph below is sad-happy-sad.
Big winners: Mike Baxter, +23.6% WPA, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, +18.0% WPA
Big losers: Frank Francisco, -82.0% WPA, Scott Hairston, -15.1% WPA, Daniel Murphy, -14.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Mike Baxter's two-run double in the eighth, +23.7% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Greg Dobbs' walk-off single, -39.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -86.2% WPA
Total batter WPA: +42.6% WPA
GWRBI!: Greg freakin' Dobbs