Jose Reyes homered on the first pitch of the first inning; the Braves couldn't scrap together as much offense in nine innings with Oliver Perez. On September 6, 2006, Perez pitched a complete game shutout, striking out six, walking just one, and presenting electrical stuff to excited fans of a great team.
As it's easy to be unfair and hilarious about Perez, it is meet we discuss the good times. Ollie was brought on midseason to a terrific 2006 club and only put an extra shake in the champagne. If he was a headcase then, it was of the Rodman-on-the-Bulls, simpatico variety, because see, the Mets were winning. Ollie wasn't good in his first two starts, then he produced this gem. Pedro and El Duque, bless them, broke down, pressing doe-eyed Ollie into October service. In Game Four of the NLCS, he sought cover under the heavy lumber of a 12-run Met performance and escaped with the win. In the seventh game, all asses on the line, Perez pitched like he was headed to the World Series. In six innings, four hits got through, two men walked, four struck out, and only one tapped home, on a sac fly.
Yet from that game, the memory is of Carlos Beltran. You really can't win. Unless you win.
When he debuted in 2001, the back pages of both the Post and Daily News read "ALEX THE GREAT." Alex Escobar (turns 34), batted .200 in limited time with the 2001 Mets and was traded to Cleveland in the deal that brought in Roberto Alomar. Rated tops in the Mets' system by Baseball America in 2001, the speedy outfielder was the high-upside piece in the deal. Sadly, his career was marred by injuries and, when he did play, he struck out more than a quarter of the time. His 125th and final big league game was played with the Nationals in 2006. This guy owns 69 separate Alex Escobar cards.
Game of the Night
Tom Seaver had the near no-hitter in 1969, but really he made a habit of getting pretty near. As a Met, he had five one-hitters and another five two-hitters; near enough to 12 no-hitters for my taste. On September 6, 1971, Tom Terrific struck out a dozen Montreal Expos at Jerry Park. The no-hit bid was blown immediately when the first batter, Ron Hunt, singled to right field; but the next hit didn't come until Gary Sutherland doubled in the fifth. Seaver himself matched the Expos' production wit the bat, cracking two hits and taking a walk. He recorded an RBI, too, which Montreal failed to do in the 7-0 Met victory.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
On September 6, 1995, Cal Ripken played in his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking Lou Gehrig's unbreakable record that had stood since 1939. Not one of the 2,131 games was against the Mets. In the interleague era, this will soon seem incomprehensible.