Lucas Duda hit his first big league home run tonight, a huge milestone in any hitter's career, and instead of Gary Cohen's customarily ebullient "It's outa here!", Duda got a flaccid, uninspired home run call from Kevin Burkhardt plus the trailing thoughts of Giants running back Brandon Jacobs on the meeting of the Mannings this Sunday night. The Dude deserves better. To make matters worse, the video of this historic (for Duda) event will forever feature our hero wearing a goofy "Los Mets" jersey. Shameful.
Duda also picked up a run-scoring single in the second and is 4-for-7 over the past two games with two doubles, a home run, and three runs driven in. His OPS is still just .480, but it was .196 two days ago so things are definitely moving in the right direction. Plus, if you don't look too closely you can maybe pretend the .480 is his slugging percentage and feel much better about it.
In addition to Duda's, the Mets also got RBI singles from Jon Niese and Jose Reyes in the second and carried a three-run lead into the fourth inning when things promptly fell apart. After Derrek Lee hit a leadoff single, Brian McCann struck out and Matt Diaz lumbered to the plate with one on and one out. Diaz tapped a grounder to David Wright that could very well have turned into an inning-ending double play, but Wright chucked a sinker to second that Ruben Tejada couldn't quite snare and the Braves had runners on first and second with Alex Gonzalez due up. Wright was charged with a throwing error on the play, and while it was probably the right call because the throw was dirt-bound, replays show that Tejada might have had a shot at it after all.
Tejada seemed to be riding the base with the intention of making a quick turn before firing on to first for the double dip, but it looks like he could have moved up a bit to receive the throw and ensure at least one out on the play. It didn't go that way, and following a Gonzalez foul out to Josh Thole at catcher, Melky Cabrera delivered a single to center that plated Lee. Then Niese, who was lauded earlier in the season for his grace under pressure, walked opposing pitcher Tommy Hanson to load the bases for "All Star" second baseman Omar Infante, who chased home Diaz and Cabrera with a double to left. At that point the game was knotted at 3-3, but manchild Jason Heyward made that not the case anymore with a three-run bomb off the Subway sign in right field that gave the Braves a 6-3 lead.
All six runs Atlanta scored in the fourth were unearned on account of Wright's error, but Niese was hardly blameless in this gasoline fire. That he walked Hanson and his .183 career OPS was bad enough, but all told he was just unable to stem the tide of Braves runs and let a manageable inning get out of hand.
To their own debit, the Mets managed just two hits over the final six innings. One was Duda's mistreated homerun and the other was a pinch-hit double by Nick Evans in the seventh. The first six spots in the lineup went 2-for-23 with a walk. It's funny how the offense goes limp when they no longer have Pirates pitching to kick around.
Dillon Gee takes on Tim Hudson at 4:10pm Saturday on FOX.
Just like old times for the Mets and the Braves
Mets err, Braves surge, to this script they are slaves
Even Cox gets ejected; do I feel nostalgia?
More like a virulent case of fibromyalgia
Big winners: Lucas Duda, +12.5% WPA, Jon Niese (batter), +9.5% WPA
Big losers: Jon Niese (pitcher), -48.0% WPA, Chris Carter, -10.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Niese RBI single in second, +9.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Heyward three-run home run in fourth, -29.0% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -33.1% WPA
Total batter WPA: -16.9% WPA
GWRBI!: Jason Heyward
Nice job by MookieTheCat; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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