The Mets took the lead early this evening on a pair of outs in the second inning. Josh Thole grounded out with runners on second and third and nobody out to plate Jason Bay for the first run of the night. Later in the inning with runners on the corners and one out, Chris Young bunted, and Ike Davis scored on the safety squeeze. Adam LaRoche might have had a play at the plate to get Ike but took a circuitous route to the baseball before throwing out Young at first base.
Chris Young, who returned to the rotation tonight after missing some time with biceps tendinitis, was Mr. Fly Ball tonight, and it began to catch up to him in the bottom of the second as he allowed a solo home run.
The Mets answered with a run of their own in the third inning on a double by Carlos Beltran, but the Nationals tied the game in the fourth inning on two more solo home runs off Chris Young. Young began to tire in the fifth inning. After striking out Alex Cora, who actually hit a double earlier in the game, Young walked Jordan Zimmermann and Danny Espinosa. Both runners advanced on a long fly ball out to center field by Rick Ankiel, and with Jayson Werth coming to the plate, Young's night was finished. Ryota Igarashi came in and struck him out to end the inning.
The Mets regained the lead in the sixth inning when Jason Bay and Ike Davis hit a single a piece with one out and Josh Thole doubled to left field to drive them both in. Taylor Buchholz pitched a pair of scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh to preserve the lead, striking out two, walking none, and allowing only one hit in the process.
Jason Isringhausen threw the eighth inning but didn't fare as well as Buchholz, giving up a run on a pair of hits that got the Nationals back within a run of the Mets. Once again, the Mets answered with a run, even though they threatened to score several. With the bases loaded and one out, David Wright drilled a ground ball up the middle and was thrown out even though it deflected off the pitcher. On the upside, Jason Pridie scored on the play.
With a 6-4 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth, Francisco Rodriguez was called upon to finish the game. Jerry Hairston Jr. started the inning with an infield hit, but Rodriguez
Coming into the game, the Mets figured they could get 85 pitches out of Chris Young, and their estimate was nearly perfect. Young labored quite a bit against the last three batters he faced and had thrown 88 pitches when he was pulled. Only two of Young's outs came via the ground ball, and one of those was a sacrifice bunt. As for the home runs, Young's home runs per fly balls rate regressed to the mean in a hurry. When a pitcher allows that many fly balls, some of them are going to wind up going over the fence.
Carlos Beltran was hitting the cover off the ball all night, and he could have very easily had a multi-hit night if not for some poor luck. Ike Davis went 3-for-4, Jason Bay went 2-for-4, and both players scored twice.
The Mets have now won five games in a row, and they look to continue their winning ways tomorrow at 7:05 pm as R.A. Dickey and Tom Gorzelanny are set to start for the Mets and Nationals, respectively.
Big winners: Josh Thole, +18.5% WPA, Taylor Buchholz, +14.9% WPA, Ike Davis, +14.6% WPA
Big losers: Chris Young, -16.8% WPA, Jose Reyes, -10.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Josh Thole double in the sixth inning, +25.0% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Wilson Ramos home run in the fourth inning, -14.4% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +14.1% WPA
Total batter WPA: +35.9% WPA
GWRBI!: Josh Thole
Nice job by metman726; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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