Last night, the Mets had Carlos Beltran and could barely do anything against Vance Worley. This afternoon, Beltran was out with the flu, and they clobbered Cole Hamels, one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. Baseball is a strange game.
The fun began in the bottom of the first inning with two outs and nobody on base. Scott Hairston, filling in for Beltran, hit a rope to left field and legged out a double. Daniel Murphy came up to the plate, Hamels got him to pop up to the infield grass between Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, neither of whom called for or attempted to catch the ball. As it softly dropped in between them, Hairston scored easily to put the Mets up 1-0. The slow motion replay showed Hamels' reaction, which went something like this:
It wasn't long before the Mets got to Hamels again. The bottom of the third inning started with Hamels, who ranked sixth best in baseball in walks per nine entering the game, walking Jon Niese. One Angel Pagan strikeout later, Justin Turner singled, advancing Niese to second base. And again, Scott Hairston doubled, easily scoring both runners to put the Mets up by three.
After Nick Evans walked to lead off the fourth inning, he eventually came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Pagan, giving the Mets their fourth run of the afternoon. It was in the fifth inning that they piled it on and chased Hamels from the game.
Daniel Murphy hit a Blue Collar Blast into the Mets' bullpen to start the inning. Even ice cold Jason Bay got in on the fun, albeit with a single. Shortly thereafter, Nick Evans tripled over the head of John Mayberry Jr., who provided Mets fans with some fantastic entertainment as he chased the ball around the Mo's Zone. The triple ended Hamels' outing, but Ruben Tejada put the icing on the cake when he singled off reliever David Herndon to bring Evans home. The seven earned runs matched a career high for Hamels.
Not until the seventh inning did the Phillies score, as Jon Niese had a great game, showing no ill effects from his appearance out of the bullpen in San Francisco on Sunday. He got into some trouble in the seventh by allowing singles to Raul Ibanez, Carlos Ruiz, and Wilson Valdez to start the inning. The ensuing ground ball to short off the bat of Michael Martinez seemed harmless, but Ruben Tejada botched it, his second error of the game, and everybody was safe. Niese got another grounder from Jimmy Rollins, this time to the Irish Hammer at third base, who gracefully turned a 5-4-3 double play. With two outs and a man on third, the Phillies' shot at a comeback was drastically reduced, and John Mayberry Jr. flied out softly to end the inning.
That was all for Niese, who struck out six, walked one, and allowed just the one earned run. The Phillies' offense is not what it once was, but it was still an impressive outing by Niese.
With two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the inning, the Mets answered. Lucas Duda doubled, Angel Pagan walked, and Justin Turner singled to right field. Had Carlos Ruiz been able to handle the throw from Mayberry in right field, Duda was a dead duck, but he didn't. The Mets were up 8-2.
Scott Hairston would have had a fine afternoon based just on his earlier plate appearances, but he outdid himself in this one, hitting a bomb into the second deck in left field to drive in his third, fourth, and fifth runs of the game, the last of which set his career high.
Bobby Parnell struck out two in his scoreless eighth inning, and Manny Acosta was summoned from the bullpen to pitch in a perfectly Acostalyptic situation and ended the game with relative ease.
The Mets and Phillies play the rubber game of the series tomorrow at 1:10 pm with Mike Pelfrey and Kyle Kendrick scheduled to start.
Big winners: Jon Niese, +21.6% WPA, Scott Hairston, +17.1% WPA, Daniel Murphy, +11.5% WPA
Big losers: Ronny Paulino, -4.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Scott Hairston two-run double in the third, +15.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Raul Ibanez scores on Ruben Tejada error in the seventh, -3.0% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +21.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: +28.3% WPA
GWRBI!: Scott Hairston
Nice job by Brooklyn Dodgers Mets Fan; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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