Los Angeles was not kind to the Mets. By the time the series concluded, we saw injuries to Wilmer Flores' ankle, Dillon Gee's face, and LaTroy Hawkins', um, stuff. However, the biggest blow was probably dealt to fans' REM cycles, as the series concluded with a game in which 4-0 lead was squandered and converted into yet another extra-inning slog.
The Mets were turned aside in the first when a Daniel Murphy one-out single up the middle was negated by a Josh Satin GIDP. The second looked like it might go the same way, as Marlon Byrd blooped a leadoff single into no-man's land in shallow left, then Justin Turner blooped his own single into shallow right, which is where Yasiel Puig plays. Byrd attempted to go first to third on the play, but Puig fired a rocket and nailed Byrd with room to spare.
However, after a fielder's choice off of Ike Davis's bat eliminated Turner, Davis stole second without a throw. That seemed unwise, since Davis moves slower than glass. The steal allowed him to score when Andrew Brown (who is allowed to start, apparently) doubled into the right field corner, with some assistance from Puig, who bobbled the ball.
A K of Gee ended the inning, but the Mets struck again in the third. Murphy and Satin strung together one-out singles to bring Byrd to the plate. Capuano fell behind Byrd 3-0, then served up a get-me-over that Byrd drilled into the left field bleachers for a three-run homer.
In the first four frames, Capuano allowed one hard hit after another, even in the innings where he managed to post a zero on the board. A sharp leadoff single in the fourth by Brown was erased on a Buck double player grounder, but this was followed by Dillon Gee banging one off the left field fence, which he legged out for a triple. I foresaw doom as Gee rounded third, and doom nearly came after Gee slammed his chin into the infield as he slid into third. The next batter, Juan Lagares, failed to knock him in, but did allow Gee some time to recover from eating dirt. In the future, Dillon, please be satisfied with a double. Your head will thank you.
As for Gee, he retired the first nine batters he faced efficiently and with little flash, recording just one strikeout over that stretch. Following his triple, though, Gee looked a bit gassed, perhaps an inevitable result of his arm-scarring slide into third. He allowed a single to Carl Crawford to start the fourth. He recovered to strike out Puig on three pitches, then picked off Crawford as the speedster leaned a bit too far toward second. Replays showed the call was probably incorrect; Crawford appeared to get back to the bag before he was tagged.
That break proved huge, as Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, and Skip Schumaker hit consecutive singles immediately after the Crawford call to load the bases. The Mets also lucked out as Gonzalez somehow avoided scoring on Schumaker's hit. Gee induced a harmless fly out from Mark Ellis to extinguish the threat. Crisis averted, he sailed through the fifth with a walk to Nick Punto but nothing else.
In his last inning of work, Capuano threw another zero on the board in the top of the fifth, despite some more hard outs and a double from Byrd, plus the questionable decision to walk Turner and face Davis instead. (The fact that it worked out for the Dodgers doesn't make it any less baffling.) Righty Chris Withrow took Capuano's place in the top of the sixth and set the Mets down 1-2-3, despite a frighteningly competent at bat from Gee; he fouled off a few tough pitches and worked a full count before finally striking out. Withrow returned in the top of the seventh and walked Josh Satin, but otherwise escaped unscathed.
Perhaps batting taxed Gee once more, because things suddenly went all pear shaped for him In the bottom of the sixth. Gee permitted Gonzalez to single with one out, then saw Ramirez lace a double to left-center. Gee then plunked Schumaker to load the bases. Ellis followed with a grounder hit just slow enough to prevent a double play, and Gonzalez trotted home with the first Dodger run. The next batter, Jerry Hairston, swung at the first pitch and sent it up the middle for an RBI single. Gee capped the scoring there by striking out catcher Tim Federowicz for the third time on the evening, but the Mets' lead was now cut in half.
Gee took the mound to start the bottom of the seventh, but was soon removed in favor of Scott Rice to face a pair of lefty batters (pinch hitter Dee Gordon and Crawford). Rice retired them easily, then, left in to battle Puig, saw the outfielder bounce his first pitch right back to him for the third out.
Brandon League took over the pitching duties for the Dodgers in the top of the eighth, and Davis got to him with a double down the right field line. One out later, Buck hit chopper to third that Jerry Hairston threw wide of first, putting runners on the corners. Lefty veteran J.P. Howell was tapped for the task of retiring Omar Quintanilla (fairly easy, as such tasks go), and he fanned the shortstop to end the inning.
Striking out Adrian Gonzalez is a tad harder, but Rice was left in to start the bottom of the eighth and proceeded to do just that. Ramirez hit a sharp grounder to third that Turner handled nicely, but his throw was judged to pulled Davis off the bag at first. Replay seemed to indicate Davis kept his foot on the bag; the first base ump giveth, the first base ump taketh away. Rice responded by inducing a groundball double play from Schumaker to end the inning, capping two great innings from the man once known as Everyday.
Howell pitched the top of the ninth and recorded the first two outs before ceding a single to pinch hitter Wilmer Flores, bum ankle and all. (He was pinch hit for with Jennry Mejia, which...yeesh, the mind boggles.) Don Mattingly removed Howell in favor of Carlos Marmol—willingly, it seems. The wild former Cub got his man when Byrd swung weakly at a slider well off the plane.
LaTroy Hawkins got the call to earn the save in the bottom of the ninth and put himself in immediate danger by allowing a leadoff single to Mark Ellis. The next batter, Hairston, hit a comebacker that bounced into what Gary Cohen called the pitcher's "cup." Hawkins recovered in time to toss the ball to first, then somehow shook off the injury to stay in the game. The Mets would soon wish he hadn't, as the next batter, pinch hitter Andre Ethier, drilled a Hawkins fastball just over the left field fence for a game tying home run. A two out single to Crawford was the only remaining damage in the inning, but for the seventy trillionth time this season, the Mets would play an extra innings game.
The Mets' best hope at this point was the fact that Carlos Marmol was still pitching for some reason, but a two-out Andrew Brown single was the closest he came to one of his patented thermonuclear metdtowns. Marmol also retired the first two batters in the top of the 11th, then was replaced with lefty Paco Rodriguez. Murphy hit a long fly down the right field line that went just foul at the last moment. It missed being a homer by inches, because of course it would. Once Ethier's homer run cleared the fence, it was obvious the Mets would lose this game. It was just a matter of when and how.
Carlos Torres was the first Met to take the mound in extras, and he retired the side in the 10th on 4 pitches, including Marmol, who was forced to bat for himself due to a depleted Dodgers bench. Marmol did put a charge into it, with a fly ball that nearly reached the warning track. Torres returned for the 11th and walked Mark Ellis, but kept the Dodgers from scoring regardless.
That just prolonged the inevitable. After Rodriguez retired the Mets in order in the top of the 12th, Pedro Feliciano took the mound of the bottom half. With one out, Puig glanced a single off of Quintanilla's glove that Puig hustled into an unlikely double. Then, Gonzalez bounced a single just fair down the third base line to bring this contest to a somewhat merciful end. Hey, it coulda been 20 innings, guys.
SB Nation Coverage
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Carlos Torres, 23.0%, Marlon Byrd, 20.7%
Big losers: LaTroy Hawkins, -43.1%, Pedro Feliciano, -38.5%,
Teh aw3s0mest play: Marlon Byrd 3-run homer, top 3rd, 21.4%
Teh sux0rest play: Andre Ethier 2-run homer, bottom 9th, -46.7%
Total pitcher WPA: -35.0%
Total batter WPA: -15.0%
GWRBI!: Adrian Gonzalez RBI single, bottom 12th