For a while there, it looked like the Mets were going to lose. Jon Niese allowed two runs through his first two innings of work, and even his outs came mostly on lasers off the Phillies' bats. With Roy Halladay on the mound for Philadelphia, the odds of a comeback seemed even slimmer than usual.
Niese did, however, settle down a bit. He was by no means great, but when he wasn't walking opposing hitters, he was getting outs. In Niese's final three innings of work spanning the third through the fifth innings, four Phillies reached base - three via base on balls. If there was a silver lining in the mediocre start for Niese, it was that he notched five strikeouts in his laborious start.
Halladay mowed the Mets down in his first five innings of work, allowing just a harmless single to Daniel Murphy in the first inning. The Mets finally got to him in the sixth inning after Josh Thole and pinch hitter Mike Baxter made a pair of outs to begin the frame.
Andres Torres worked a walk, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis singled. David Wright came up to the plate and doubled down the left field line on a ball that ricocheted off the corner of the stands between third base and left field. Both runners scored easily, and the Mets had defied probability and knotted the game against Halladay.
Manny Acosta pitched a one-two-three bottom of the inning to keep the game tied, but the Mets could not add to the lead in the seventh. Bobby Parnell took the mound in the bottom of the seventh and somehow escaped without allowing a run.
Parnell walked Juan Pierre, the first batter he faced, and Jimmy Rollins singled on a bloop. John Mayberry flew out next, but Shane Victorino hit a weak ground ball between short and third that resulted in an infield single that loaded the bases. Hunter Pence then grounded into what appeared to be a fielder's choice as the Murphy-Turner-Davis double play trio got the out at second but just barely missed retiring Pence at first.
The Phillies' go-ahead run had apparently scored. The play at first base was very, very close, and Terry Collins sprinted to the infield to argue the call. He made an abrupt turn in the middle of the diamond when he learned that the second-base umpire had called Pence out because Victorino interfered with Justin Turner on the turn. It looked like this:
We'll never know whether the Mets would have gotten Pence at first base, but thanks, Shane, for making that completely irrelevant!
The Mets couldn't score in the eighth inning, either, even though Pierre had hit for Halladay and Anthony Bastardo was on the mound. Parnell remained in the game to begin the bottom of the inning, and things once again got a bit messy.
Ty Wigginton singled. Carlos Ruiz reached on what was officially ruled a bunt single but could have easily been an error on Parnell. Placido Polanco bunted the runners over, and things were once again looking bleak for the Mets. Freddy Galvis grounded to Parnell, who fired the ball to Josh Thole at the plate. Thole got Wigginton with the tag to record the out, but Wigginton made solid contact with Thole's head on the play.
Although he left under his own power, it looks like Thole was probably concussed on the play. The Mets lack depth at several positions, but their backup plans beyond Thole may be the weakest at any position on the team.
Mike Nickeas entered the game behind the plate, and Tim Byrdak came into the game and struck out pinch hitter Eric Kratz - not to be confused with Stone Temple Pilots drummer Eric Kretz - to end the inning.
With the game still tied, the Phillies turned to multi-million-dollar closer Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth. He struck out Murphy, walked Ike Davis, and struck out Turner to begin the inning. But Mike Nickeas did the unlikely and doubled. Davis only reach third on the play, but Jordany Valdespin came up to hit in Byrdak's spot in the order, channeled his inner Omir Santos, and took Papelbon deep to suddenly give the Mets a stunning five-to-two lead. It was the first hit of his big league career.
Frank Francisco threw a flawless bottom of the ninth to notch a save and preserve the amazing victory.
Big winners: Jordany Valdespin, +45.4% WPA, David Wright, +28.8% WPA
Big losers: Lucas Duda, -25.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Valdespin’s three-run home run in the ninth, +45.4% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Lucas Duda’s inning-ending double play in the third, -16.9% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +21.9% WPA
Total batter WPA: +28.1% WPA
GWRBI!: Jordany Valdespin