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Night Cap: So Many Baserunners, So Few Runs

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The Mets and Reds played one of the head-scratching-est games of the season on Tuesday night as both teams put plenty of men on base but repeatedly failed to bring any of them home to score.

Chris Young threw five-and-two-thirds scoreless innings, but it's pretty damn hard to figure out how he pulled it off. He allowed at least one hit in each of the first through sixth innings. The Reds hit a double in each of the second through fifth innings. Young walked four batters in total, too, and when he loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth, Ramon Ramirez came in and got Drew Stubbs to ground out to end the inning.

It's incredibly rare for a pitcher to allow twelve baserunners on seventeen outs without allowing an earned run. Young's start was only the fifteenth in Mets history in which a pitcher allowed twelve baserunners but wasn't charged with a run. Of those starts, Young's was the shortest at five-and-two-thirds innings. Only Nolan Ryan — who allowed two hits and issued eight walks in six scoreless innings on April 29, 1971 — accomplished the quirky feat on fewer than nineteen outs. Throw in Young's propensity to yield fly balls and the fact that the game took place in a home-run-friendly ballpark, and his start was one of the strangest in Mets history.

Bobby Parnell picked up right where Young left off in the seventh inning. After walking Brandon Phillips and striking out the next two batters he faced, Parnell gave up a single to Todd Frazier and walked Xavier Paul to load the bases. But like Stubbs in the sixth, Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan grounded out to end the inning. It's tough to say whether the Mets deserved to lose the game for putting so many men on base or the Reds deserved to lose the game for failing to score with so many baserunners.

The Mets' hitters took part in the offensive futility, too. They didn't reach base nearly as often as the Reds, but they did tally six hits and four walks and didn't plate a single run against Mat Latos or the Reds' dominant bullpen.

There was a whole lot of good luck involved for the pitchers on both sides of the game, but the sacrifice bunt should get credit for at least some of the lack of scoring. In the bottom of the third, the Reds had a runner on second with nobody out, and Stubbs, who has fourteen home runs this year and was hitting in the second spot in the batting order, bunted him over to third. He didn't score.

In the top of the fourth, the Mets had runners on first and second with nobody out, and Jordany Valdespin, who has eight home runs in his brief stint in the majors, put down a sacrifice bunt. Neither runner came around to score. Giving up an out with a home-run hitter at the plate is one surefire way to reduce a baseball team's odds of scoring.

Anyways, Jon Rauch apparently didn't get the memo about how the game was supposed to be played and threw a one-two-three eighth inning. The Mets were, on paper, still alive. But they hadn't scored against Sean Marshall in the top of the eighth, and they wouldn't score against Jose Arredondo in the ninth, either.

With the game still tied at zero, Terry Collins went to Manny Acosta at the beginning of the bottom of the ninth. He walked Phillips, and he gave up a single to Ryan Ludwick. That was the end of his night, and Josh Edgin came on to face Jay Bruce, who hit an opposite-field, three-run, walk-off home run.

SB Nation Coverage

* Traditional Recap
* Boxscore
* Amazin' Avenue Gamethread
* Red Reporter Gamethread

Win Probability Added

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Big winners: Chris Young, +25.7% WPA, Jon Rauch, +10.9% WPA, Ramon Ramirez, +10.4% WPA
Big losers: Ruben Tejada, -21.7% WPA, Josh Edgin, -18.2% WPA, Manny Acosta, -17.7% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Ryan Hanigan's bases-loaded ground out in the seventh, +11.7% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jay Bruce's walk-off home run, -18.2% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +20.1% WPA
Total batter WPA: -70.1% WPA
GWRBI!: Jay Bruce