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A Game Of Inches Applesauce: Santana Gets Knocked Around, Mets' Valiant Comeback Gets Stifled In The Ninth

July 6, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets batter Jordany Valdespin (1) points into the crowd after hitting a home run during the ninth inning of a game against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE
July 6, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets batter Jordany Valdespin (1) points into the crowd after hitting a home run during the ninth inning of a game against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE

Meet the Mets

Throughout the last few minutes of the Mets' 8-7 defeat at the hands of the Cubs on Friday, the thought that the Mets could pull off their second ninth inning comeback in as many days crept to mind. Nevermind that the Mets were down by four runs, thanks to the early struggles of Johan Santana. There were no grudges to be held against the ace, as he has been fantastic all season and every pitcher is allowed a hiccup once in a while. Heading into the ninth, the stage was set for some drama--Carlos Marmol, hardly a lockdown closer with his ever-wavering command, was on the hill. The Mets had the meat of the order waiting in the wings should a few baserunners get on the paths and that they did. After Kirk Nieuwenhuis started the frame with a strikeout, five consecutive Mets reached base--a Jordany Valdespin solo bomb, followed by walks to Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy and David Wright, put everything in place for a pinch hit, two-run Ike Davis single. The lead was cut to 8-7 and that glimmer of hope turned into a beam. Unfortunately, luck wouldn't be on the Mets' side last night, as Lucas Duda lined out back to Marmol, who proceeded to easily double Davis off of first to close out the game. It was an outstanding effort by the Mets, who were mere inches away from a tie game had Duda just gotten the ball past Marmol's outstretched glove. Sure, you could look around and place blame on people--you could blame Santana for his poor start. You could blame Miguel Batista for giving up a run in the eighth inning. You might even try to blame Duda for hitting a line drive back at the pitcher (though that sounds ridiculous to me). But I prefer to look at the positive here--the Mets, with some help from their buddy Carlos Marmol, made this one a game again after they looked to be down and out for most it. Even if they weren't able to ultimately pull it out this time, I think that's all that you can reasonably ask for. File this one under "good signs for the future of the 2012 Mets".

Choose Your Recap:, ESPN NY, Daily News, New York Times, Associated Press, Star-Ledger, Bergen Record

The Mets look to even their series with the Cubs this afternoon at 4:10 PM. Dillon Gee takes on Jeff Samardzija and you can catch all of the action locally on SNY.

Johan Santana rolled his ankle covering first base last night but the lefty says that it'll be fine. At least he'll have some time to rest it with the All Star break coming up. Andres Torres says that his back spasms should clear up soon and he thinks he'll be ready to play after the break. On the comeback trail, Jason Bay will play some minor league games for St. Lucie and Buffalo before rejoining the Mets in Washington during the series that begins on July 17th.

According to Joel Sherman, the Mets have plans to call up lefty Josh Edgin once the team returns to action after the All Star break. They would also like to potentially get another look at Elvin Ramirez and even Jenrry Mejia to see whether they have any internal options to help out before they make a trade. We'll see regarding Mejia, who is still struggling in his transition to a bullpen role with Buffalo.

R.A. Dickey was honored by ABC World News as their Person of The Week. Personally, I think he should automatically be the Person of The Week every week. Meanwhile, Andy Martino argues that the discussion about whether Dickey should start the All Star game or not cheapens his story.

Baseball America released the midseason update of their Top 50 prospects list and two Mets placed on it: Zack Wheeler jumped up to #10 and Matt Harvey jumped up to #34.

Ruben Tejada's plate discipline with two strikes is outstanding, as he owns a .337 on base percentage with two strikes in the count since 2011. That OBP only trails Jose Bautista's .340 mark.

Finally, the Cyclones held Williamsburg Night on Thursday at MCU Park. The evening featured "food vouchers for bearded fans, a postgame running of the bases for anyone wearing skinny jeans, and a shuttle bus from hipster ground zero."

Around the NL East

The Mets didn't lose any ground to the first place Nationals last night, as they fell 5-1 to the Colorado Rockies. Former 1st rounder Drew Pomeranz shut down the Nats over a solid 6.1 innings. The Marlins held on to defeat the Cardinals 3-2. Heath Bell made things interesting in the ninth before closing the door. In the only in-division game of the evening, the Braves shut out the Phillies 5-0 behind a Brian McCann grand slam. Ryan Howard had two hits in his season debut but the rest of the team had 3 hits. Looks like the Phillies are just 4 and 10 in their last 14 cuz the clubhouse chemistry has taken a hit with the expected & than return of Utley and Howard. /LindaCohn'd

Around the Majors

If they fall out of contention, the Diamondbacks may listen to trade offers for outfielder Justin Upton. Just 24 years old, the former #1 overall pick is coming off of an MVP-worthy 2011 that saw him hit .289/.369/.529 with 31 home runs but he hasn't been close to that level this season. Upton is at just .267/.350/.384 as his power has fallen off a cliff. He's signed to a team friendly deal through 2015 and at his age, would immediately fill a need and become a franchise cornerstone. But do the Mets have enough talent to tempt Kevin Towers?

If the Mets are interested in Royals closer Jonathan Broxton, Dayton Moore would like a major league player in return for him. Considering the fact that Broxton's strikeout rate has been halved since his dominant days with the Dodgers, maybe Moore would take a "major leaguer" like Justin Turner or Mike Nickeas.

Well, this is awkward: rumor has it that the Astros will replace manager Brad Mills at the end of this season. That's not all that surprising, except for the fact that it's July now and there are two and a half months left in the season.

Tampa Bay's Luke Scott snapped an 0-41 skid with a home run last night. Scott was five at bats shy of Eugenio Velez' major league record 0-46, which he set between 2010 and 2011.

The O'Malley group, former owners of the Dodgers, have reportedly been selected to buy the Padres for $800 million, along with $200 million for part of Fox Sports San Diego.

Carl Crawford has halted his rehab assignment after straining his groin. It's incredible how awful that contract looks in just a short period of time.