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Angels 4, Mets 3: Angels Crack Funhouse Mirror Game

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Remember 2007, when Joel Pineiro pitched a make-up game for the Cardinals in late September against the Mets and thoroughly dominated them? I do. And if I'd forgotten somehow, the many painful reminders via Gary Cohen on SNY would have jogged my memory. Well, he was back in Queens tonight, regaining the form that seems to desert him when he faces virtually every other team but the Mets.

The first half of the game was an exercise in perfect symmetry, sort of a baseball version of HORSE. The angels would sink a shot, and the Mets would drop their own from the same spot. After Chris Capuano and Joel Pineiro each retired the opposition in order in the first inning, the Angels struck first in the top of the second. Howie Kendrick hit a one-out double, followed one out later by a Peter Bourjos bouncer to the left side. Third-baseman-for-the-day Justin Turner, spooked by Bourjos' speed, airmailed a throw over Daniel Murphy's head and into the stands, allowing Kendrick to score. The Mets responded in the bottom half with a leadoff triple from Murphy and an RBI single from Pagan to tie things up at 1.

The Angels came roaring back in the top third (if you can call the Angels' brand of baseball roaring). Maicer Izturis led off with a sharp single, moved to second on a sac bunt, went to third on a blooper off Torii Hunter's bat, and came home on a scorcher that Jose Reyes couldn't quite handle. But the Mets had another counterpunch in the bottom half with a one-out walk from Turner, an "infield single" by Carlos Beltran that caromed off of Joel Pineiro's leg, and another RBI from Pagan, this one a lazy ball lofted beyond anyone's reach down the right field line.

In the top of the fourth, Chris Capuano worked around a leadoff walk by somehow inducing a double play grounder from speed demon Bourjos, while Pineiro thwarted a Mets rally in the bottom half, thanks largely to the futile bunting attempts of his counterpart. In the fifth, they both dispatched batters with little incident.

The symmetry began to break down in the sixth inning, when the Angels went ahead once more. After Torii Hunter was caught stealing for the second out by Ronnie Paulino (throwing without leaving his crouch), Kendrick singled, followed by a grounder from Mark Trumbo that was surprisingly flubbed by Jose Reyes. Given new life, the Angels took full advantage with an RBI double by Bourjos. The Mets could offer no response this time and were held off the board in the sixth and seventh by Pineiro and old friend Hisanori Takahashi. The Angels tacked on another run in the top of the seventh against Bobby Parnell when Maicer Izturiz lined a double down the right field line and scored on a Hunter RBI single.

Parnell managed to hold them in check in the eighth inning, as did Manny Acosta in the ninth. In the Mets' eighth, Jason Bay hit an awkward one-out grounder off of reliever Scott Downs that Erick Aybar threw into the dugout, allowing him to go to second, then score on a Paulino double. Downs retired Ruben Tejada and pinch hitter Scott Hairston to keep the Angels' ahead by one.

Fireballing closer Jordan Walden, a man fully capable of hitting triple digits on the radar gun, came on get the save. Leadoff batter Reyes had a rough night in the field and at the plate (0-for-4 to that point), but he worked out a walk to start things off and, tired of waiting for Turner to bunt him over, stole second. Unnerved, Walden walked Turner as well to put the winning run on base with nobody out. It looked like the Mets might finally get their first walkoff win of the season, or at least tie the game, but Walden struck out Beltran, Murphy, and Pagan, making them all look awful in the process.

This wasn't nearly the punch in the gut game that Thursday's was, and yet it was almost as infuriating. There was a decided flatness to the Mets tonight, as if the entire team was still suffering from jet lag and sleep deprivation induced by nightmares of walkoff balks. Ronnie Paulino had some well struck hits, as did Angel Pagan, and Chris Capuano had a decent outing, getting double play grounders when he needed them the most. Otherwise, it seemed the kind of contest that took more effort to watch than the Mets put into playing it.

For those keeping score, my recap record is now 3-10. Although I think this should count as two losses, because I stayed inside and watched the whole damn thing while my family barbecued. If asked, I'm going to play the full Oliver Perez and refuse a minor league assignment.

SB Nation Coverage

* Traditional Recap
* Boxscore
* Amazin' Avenue Gamethread
* Halos Heaven Gamethread

Win Probability Added

20110617_angels_mets_0_20110617213358_lbig__medium

Big winners: Justin Turner, +24.1%, Ronnie Paulino, +17.1%
Big losers: Carlos Beltran, -19.7%, Daniel Murphy, -13.3%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Ronnie Paulino RBI double, eighth inning, +16.7%
Teh sux0rest play: Peter Bourjos RBI double, sixth inning, _19.9%
Total pitcher WPA: -17.4%
Total batter WPA: -32.6%
GWRBI!:Torii Hunter RBI single, seventh inning

Game Thread Roll Call

Nice job by fxcarden; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.

Num Name # of Posts
1 fxcarden 145
2 KeithsMoustache 140
3 Evan_S 123
4 CTRefJay 120
5 aparkermarshall 87
6 MetsFan4Decades 85
7 TKFJ 70
8 Syler 67
9 mistermet 63
10 freakystyley 57