For an August game between two teams a combined 21 games below .500, tonight's contest was pretty exciting. Youngsters Juan Lagares and Jenrry Mejia showed off their skills, and sorta-youngster Eric Young Jr. did too. Oh, and Wilmer Flores made his big-league debut! He played, uhh, well he didn't play so great (0-for-4, error in the field), but I won't harp on it. Instead, I'll highlight the inspired play of Lagares and Young, both of whom used their plus speed to contribute to the Mets' third and decisive run.
With the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Young led off with a single against Rockies reliever Wilton Lopez. After a Daniel Murphy fly out, Young advanced to second base when Marlon Byrd flew out to deep center field. The Rockies then intentionally walked Ike Davis to put runners on first and second with two outs and Lagares stepping up to the plate. Lagares already had two RBI in the game, as he tripled home Byrd and Ike in the first inning. He made it three RBI when he legged out an infield single, and Young pulled a Mookie Wilson by dashing home from second base. Young beat a surprised Todd Helton's throw home to give the Mets a 3-2 lead.
New closer LaTroy Hawkins started the ninth inning and it looked like it would be a stress-free finish when he retired the first two batters with ease. However, the next two batters singled, threatening a feel-good win for the Metsies. Hawkins settled down though, getting pinch hitter Yorvit Torrealba to line out softly to a diving Ike at first base.
Mejia started the game and pitched well. His velocity was strong, his breaking pitches were sharp, and he was inducing swinging strikes. Through five innings, he allowed one unearned run (thanks to an Ike error) and struck out seven batters. Things soured for Mejia and home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez in the sixth inning. Gonzalez was struck in the neck by a ball bunted by Rockies pinch hitter Charlie Blackmon. It was an unsettling scene, and Gonzalez eventually left the game. Play resumed after a 17-minute delay, and Mejia was not the same. He allowed a solo home run to Blackmon, which tied the game 2-2, and generally didn't look as in-control as before the delay. An error committed by Flores didn't help the cause either. Mejia departed a few batters later with the bases loaded and one out. He finished with a line of 5.1 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 7 strikeouts, and 2 walks. I'll give him a pass for the sixth inning, given the circumstances, and recognize how strong he looked in the first five innings.
Carlos Torres wriggled out of the sixth-inning mess, with some major help from Young. After Wilin Rosario flew out for the second out of the frame, Helton lined one to left field that would have been trouble had it dropped for a hit. Young swooped in and made a nifty diving catch though, ending the threat. Torres threw a scoreless seventh inning and Scott Atchison tossed a scoreless eighth.
This was a fun win. Gary Cohen was really excited about it. The fans were too. The Mets are now tied with the Phillies for third place in the NL East and one back in the loss column of the second-place Nationals. The good guys will try to make it two in a row against the Rockies on Wednesday at 7:10 pm. The pitching matchup is Matt Harvey(!) vs Jhoulys Chacin.
Beer of the game: Celtic Ale from Long Ireland Beer Company in Riverhead, NY
"Pours out dark amber with subtle head and lacing. Smell is light and sweet. Taste comes off the same with light tones and smooth sweetness. Very easy drinking and laid back and even a bit watery at times. Not the best amber ever but still a decent brew." -- BeerAdvocate review
SB Nation Coverage
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Juan Lagares +42.9%, Carlos Torres +30.0%
Big losers: Jenrry Mejia -18.2%, Wilmer Flores -11.4%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Juan Lagares RBI infield single in the eighth inning, +28.9%
Teh sux0rest play: Charlie Blackmon solo home run in the sixth inning, -17.7%
Total pitcher WPA: +36.5%
Total batter WPA: +13.5%
GWRBI!: Juan Lagares RBI infield single in the eighth inning