Today's matinee finale in San Francisco brought a matchup of Chris Young and Barry Zito, the finest pitchers 2006 had to offer.* Considering the matchup, you might have expected a slugfest. You'd have been half right.
* Joke completely stolen from AA's Facebook feed.
Barry Zito retired the first two Mets batters he faced, but then succumbed to either the 2012 Mets' two-out magic or his own first inning woes. (Coming into the game, he'd given up 20 runs in the opening frame this season, which according to my calculations is, um, not good.) David Wright and Scott Hairston walked, then Daniel Murphy was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Naturally, it loaded them for Jason Bay, which is normally the equivalent of having an ATM card for a bank account with $19 in it, but Bay lifted a single over the shortstop to score two. Shortly thereafter, Ronny Cedeno hit a ball out to left that Melky Cabrera ran down, only to see it clank off his glove, allowing two more runners to score. (Hometown scoring spared Melky the E and credited Cedeno with a double.)
From that point forward, it was all Mets. In the second inning, they managed some more two-out magic on a smaller scale. Andres Torres dunked a hit into no-man's land in shallow right and ran it out for a hustle double, then Wright singled him home with another ball Cabrera couldn't quite reach. After a quiet fourth, the fifth saw Andres Torres walk, Hairston single, and Murphy drive in another run with a single to right. That chased Zito from the game, but Cedeno did more damage to his ledger with an RBI single against reliever Shane Loux; that charged Zito with his seventh run of the day. Just to be fair, Cedeno treated Loux rudely as well in the seventh, when he belted a double all the way to the wall in left center, driving in two more and bringing his RBI total on the day to five. That means Ronny Cedeno drove in five runs. The Mets' Ronny Cedeno. Do not adjust your set.
Chris Young, meanwhile, Chris Young'ed his way through this game, somehow getting batters out with his 88 mph fastball and his 12-foot frame. He allowed an extra base hit in each of the first two innings, though both came with two outs and were stranded. Melky Cabrera tripled to lead off the bottom of the fourth, then scored on a Hunter Pence sac fly to trim the Mets' lead to 5-1.
However, once the Mets padded their lead with a two-run top of the fifth, the Giants seemed to accept their fate, managing just one lone single the rest of the way. (Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles put it, "Mets Take Series, Dignity from Giants," which is overstating things a bit, but just a tad.) Young went on to toss seven solid innings, while Ramirezes Elvin and Ramon pitched uneventful eighth and ninth innings, respectively.
I would humbly suggest to the Mets that it's okay to win games in this fashion more often. You seem to be good at winning games where the bullpen blows it but you pull it out anyway, or where you strand 8 billion runners but hang on to win, but maybe try the easy victory sometimes is what I'm saying? KTHX.
Big winners: Jason Bay, +19.5%, Ronny Cedeno, +16.5%
Big losers: Ruben Tejada, -2.6%, Rob Johnson, -1.6%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jason Bay 2-run single, top first, +20.3%
Teh sux0rest play: Melky Cabrera triple, bottom fourth, -3.4%
Total pitcher WPA: +6.2%
Total batter WPA: +43.8%
GWRBI!: Jason Bay 2-run single, top first