With apologies to Jordany Valdespin, Jeremy Hefner is the man right now. After throwing seven innings of one-run ball today in which he struck out eight Brewers, Hefner hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in a game since May 29. Yes, that is kind of deceiving because of how many unearned runs Hefner gave up over that stretch, but you know what? He's still pretty awesome, and the Mets beat Milwaukee today 2-1.
Mets fans had to be feeling good after Hefner struck out the side in the first inning, but the Amazins were struggling with Tom Gorzelanny all the same. The lefty was making his first start of the season for the Brewers after working out of the bullpen for the entire season, but Gorzelanny this afternoon looked like a full-blown rotation member. He baffled the Mets with five strikeouts in the first three innings before New York caught some good fortune in the fourth.
The Mets' chances in the frame appeared to be dashed when a Marlon Byrd double play grounder erased David Wright's infield hit. Josh Satin had other ideas, though. The increasingly popular utility player drove a fly ball into right-center field that Carlos Gomez was forced to play on a bounce. With two outs, Satin looked to stretch a single into a double, but Gomez's throw beat him to second base by a large margin. An awkward slide by Satin, however, appeared to fool Rickie Weeks enough to allow Satin to sneak in safely.
Replay showed that Weeks had tagged Satin before he got to the base, but the call on the field was safe, so the inning continued. It looked to end again when Andrew Brown hit a soft ground ball to third, but Juan Francisco made a wild throw off of a barehand pickup and Satin was able to cruise in for the score.
The one run was nearly enough for Hefner. After allowing a pair of baserunners in the second inning, he retired 12 of the next 13 Brewers hitters to face him. Hefner used his fastball to get ahead of his opponents and got lots of strikeouts and ground balls with his secondary stuff. It was a pretty masterful performance, but it was briefly interrupted in the seventh when Jonathan Lucroy belted a solo home run to center field. Good thing the Mets had already added a second run in the inning prior.
New York scored in the sixth on a Satin double and a Francisco error, just in a different order this time. With one out, Marlon Byrd hit a ground ball to third that was fielded by Francisco and then thrown wide of first. With the Byrd Man on second, Satin mashed an opposite field double off of the right field wall. Byrd comically tripped on his way to the plate, but because Norichika Aoki didn't field the bounce off the wall particularly well, Byrd was able to score anyway for a 2-0 lead.
That second run meant that Lucroy's homer could only make the score 2-1, and Hefner got through the rest of the seventh without incident. Terry Collins still decided to lift the Oklahoma native to start the eighth, which was a dubious decision, but one that turned out okay. Josh Edgin retired the first two batters he faced before Aoki reached on an infield single up the middle. With the right-handed Jean Segura up next, Collins brought in Bobby Parnell in what he hoped was the last move he would have to make.
Although Parnell immediately allowed the tying run in Aoki to steal second base, he recovered to get a ground out from Segura to move the game to the ninth. In the final frame, Parnell and the Mets' defense got three more ground outs to close out the game and give New York a series win in Milwaukee.
SB Nation Coverage
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Jeremy Hefner +35.7%, Bobby Parnell +29.3%, Josh Satin +10.3%
Big losers: Anthony Recker -11.3%, Omar Quintanilla -9.7%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Satin doubled to right to score Marlon Byrd in the sixth inning, +11.1%
Teh sux0rest play: Jonathan Lucroy hits a solo home run off of Hefner, -14.4%
Total pitcher WPA: +72.9%
Total batter WPA: -22.9%
GWRBI!: Satin's sixth inning double that made the score 2-1