On Friday night, the Mets faced the Royals, a team which after years and years of losing under Dayton Moore's "process", had finally achieved its desired ends: a team three games over .500, on the back of a nine-game winning streak. All it cost them was fan alienation, credibility, and several long-term pieces. Omar Minaya would be proud.
The Mets were able to end the Royals' streak at nine, winning 4-2 in 11 innings on an Eric Young walkoff homer.. The victory was decidedly pyrrhic, as David Wright was forced to leave the game with a hamstring injury and seems almost certain to head to the disabled list.
Looking to cool down the Royals was Dillon Gee, who got roughed up for three homeruns by the Nationals last Saturday. Gee's outing got off to a good start, as he got Alex Gordon to fly out, Eric Hosmer to ground out to first, and Salvador Perez to strike out swinging.
Starting for the Royals was Wade Davis, acquired in the Wil Myers trade with the Rays. Unlike James Shields, the other pitcher in the trade, Davis had pitched horribly up to this point, recording a 5.50 ERA and 1.75 WHIP, albeit with not terrible peripherals. Early on, it looked as if the Mets would hit Wade Davis like teams should hit pitchers with an ERA over 5. After Eric Young popped out to Alcides Escobar to lead off, Juan Lagares got on base with a one-out single. David Wright followed Lagares' single with a blast into the Party City seats, making it 2-0 Mets. Marlon Byrd and Daniel Murphy were retired to end the inning.
From that point, the game became a struggle offensively for both teams. Gee retired the Royals 1-2-3 in the second. Wade Davis got into more trouble in the bottom of the second. With one out, Ike Ike Davis hit a single to center, and Omar Quintanilla followed that up with a single of his own. However, Wade Davis was able to strike out Gee, who was attempting a bunt, and Young, who was not attempting a bunt.
The Royals put their first runner on in the third, via an Elliot Johnson walk. However Gee was able to retire the next three batters, with Gordon striking out to strand Johnson at second to end the inning. The Mets got another runner on in the bottom of the inning, via a Byrd single, but Murphy grounded out to end the inning.
The fourth inning would prove to be a big wasted opportunity for the Mets. Like the second inning, Buck struck out, Ike Davis and Quintanilla followed with hits, and Gee struck out attempting to bunt. With two outs, Young was able to reach via an infield hit. However, with the bases loaded, Lagares popped out to right to squash the rally.
The fifth inning would prove to be uneventful for both sides, as each team went down 1-2-3 against the opposing starter. Justin Maxwell, pinch-hitting for Wade Davis, led off the sixth with an infield hit. However, Gee would get the next three batters out on 10 pitches. In the bottom of the sixth, facing Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera, it seemed as if the Mets had a good opportunity to score. Following a Buck strikeout, Ike Davis walked and Quintanilla hit a long drive to right-center. However, it was caught by Lough on the warning track and the Mets failed to score in the inning.
The Royals were able to mount a rally in the seventh against Gee. With one out, Lough singled to right, and after Escobar flew out, Johnson hit a groundball that bounced off Davis for a two-out error. On Gee's 98th pitch, he was able to get Dyson to pop out to left to end the inning. The Mets were unable to put together any baserunners against Louis Coleman in the bottom of the inning.
Despite appearing out of gas in the seventh, Gee was left in to start the eighth. That would prove to be a mistake as Gee walked pinch-hitter Lorenzo Cain on five pitches. Gee was pulled for Scott Rice who promptly hit Gordon with his first pitch. After Rice got Hosmer to ground out, LaTroy Hawkins was brought in. With runners on first and third, Hawkins was able to induce a groundball from Perez, but it was hit too slowly to turn a double play, allowing the Royals to score their first run. With two outs, Moustakas hit a ground ball to Ike Davis, who couldn't handle it. He made an errant throw to Hawkins, who was trying to cover first. Hawkins fell over the base, but was able to touch it with his foot, ending the inning.
Like the seventh, the Mets were unable to put anyone on against Coleman in the eighth, leaving temporary Mets closer David Aardsma with a one-run lead for the ninth.
To lead off the inning, the Royals, who had Billy Butler on the bench, decided to pinch-hit 39-year-old Miguel Tejada. Their misguided faith would be rewarded as Tejada ripped a line drive to left-center, past Lagares, for a leadoff double. Aardsma would make matters worse as he walked Escobar, he of the .260 OBP, on five pitches. Johnson would sacrifice the runners to second and third, and with one out, the Royals decided to pinch hit Butler. The Mets intentionally walked him to take their chances with Cain. On a 1-2 count, Cain hit a long flyball to center, tracked down by Lagares but more than deep enough to score Tejada and tie the game at two. Pedro Feliciano, making his first appearance in the majors since 2010, was brought in to face Gordon and he managed to get him to ground out to end the inning and keep the game tied.
The Mets had their chance in the bottom of the ninth. Facing Aaron Crow, Ike Davis led off with a double down the right field line, and Quintanilla bunted him to third with one out. The Mets would be unable to capitalize as Justin Turner put up a feeble AB, striking out on three pitches. After intentionally walking Young, Lagares had the chance to be a hero but he grounded out to send the game to extras.
Carlos Torres, who was originally scheduled to be Saturday's starter, was brought in for the tenth. After a Hosmer single to lead it off, Torres retired the next three batters.
The bottom of the ninth brought a sight no Mets fan hoped to ever see. Wright led off against Luis Mendoza by hitting a weak groundball to second baseman Tejada. Tejada, seeing that Wright was hustling down the line, airmailed a throw into the dugout. However, Wright was not able to get to second as he pulled up lame reaching first. He had to be removed from the game, with Zack Wheeler replacing him on the bases. The next batter, Byrd, reached via walk. Murphy was unable to drive in Wheeler as he grounded into a force out, to put runners at first and third with one out. Buck managed to do even worse, as he grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Despite a two-out hit by Mendoza in the top of the eleventh, Torres was able to hold the Royals at bay. In the bottom of the eleventh, Anthony Recker grounded out to begin the inning. Quintanilla followed that with a walk, but Turner popped up to short, making it two outs. Young would put an end to the shenanigans right there, as he took a 3-1 fastball and ripped it over the short wall in right, ending the game and bringing on an OAR concert.
SB Nation Coverage
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Eric Young, +41%, Dillon Gee, +30.8%
Big losers: John Buck, -36.3%, David Aardsma, -35.6%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Eric Young walkoff homer in the eleventh, +44.1%
Teh sux0rest play: John Buck double play in the tenth, -31.8%
Total pitcher WPA: +39.4%
Total batter WPA: +10.6%
GWRBI!: Eric Young