Having split the first two games of a four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Mets were up against Michael Wacha on Wednesday evening in Queens, and in the early going, it looked like the young righty would prove too daunting a task for the Mets’ lineup.
Wacha’s first nine outs in the game came via the strikeout, an impressive feat. He allowed a single in the first and walked one in each of the second and third innings, but the Mets simply looked overmatched. On top of that, the Cardinals had taken the lead in the first inning on a run that would not have scored if not for a defensive miscue by Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada. Jon Niese had put runners on first and second with one out, but he induced a soft line drive from Allen Craig. The ball landed just before entering Daniel Murphy’s glove, but after Murphy flipped it to Tejada, the shortstop chose—and failed—to attempt to retire the runner between second and third base rather than Craig, who could have been forced out at first. And, of course, Yadier Molina followed up with a double to score the first run of the game. Niese got a ground out to end the inning, but falling behind that early didn’t make the game seem so promising.
Jon Niese allowed just two baserunners through the top of the fourth inning, and Wacha fell apart in the bottom of that inning. Daniel Murphy singled. Chris Young grounded into a fielder’s choice at second but reached base at first. Lucas Duda walked, and Travis d’Arnaud singled to load the bases. With Ruben Tejada at the plate, Wacha issued a game-tying walk. And after striking out Jon Niese, Wacha walked Mets leadoff man—at least for the evening—Kirk Nieuwenhuis to put New York up by a run. Curtis Granderson fouled out to end the inning, but the Mets never lost the lead afterwards.
Niese cruised through another couple of innings, and though they didn’t score in the fifth with Wacha out of the game, the Mets got an insurance run on a very long home run from Lucas Duda as he led off the bottom of the sixth inning.
After a couple of outs and a double in the top of the seventh, Niese was pulled in favor of Daisuke Matsuzaka, who struck out Mark Ellis to complete the inning without damage. Carlos Torres got a couple of outs in the eighth but gave up a pair of hits before giving way to Scott Rice, who retired the only batter he faced to get out of Torres’s jam.
And then came the ninth. Kyle Farnsworth struck out the leadoff man but gave up back-to-back singles to follow. Daniel Descalso then hit a double into the left-center field gap, scoring one run and very nearly scroing another. Kirk Nieuwenhuis fielded the double and threw towards the infield, and Ruben Tejada made a nice adjustment and quick, strong throw to home plate. Travis d’Arnaud fielded the throw and managed to slap a tag on Matt Carpenter’s back as he attempted to slide around d’Arnaud to tie the game. The threat of a tie game wasn’t gone, but Farnsworth got Matt Holliday to fly out to right field—a difficult play—to end the game.
The Mets look to take the third of four games from the Cardinals at 1:10 pm EDT on Thursday with Bartolo Colon on the mound.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Jon Niese, +20.9% WPA, Lucas Duda, +14.0% WPA, Travis d’Arnaud, +12.7% WPA
Big losers: Chris Young, -8.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Michael Wacha walks Kirk Nieuwenhuis to plate the go-ahead run in the fourth, +13.8% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Yadier Molina’s eighth-inning double to put runners at second and third with one out, -14.3% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +36.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: +13.3% WPA
GWRBI!: Lucas Duda