Late in the game last night, it looked like the Mets’ lead in the National League East would be cut to just a half-game. For the third time in their game against the Rays, the team had surrendered a go-ahead solo home run, this time in the eighth inning. The Nationals entered the eighth inning of their game against the Rockies with a four-run lead. The odds were not in the Mets’ favor in either game, but both of them went their way, and they now have a two-and-a-half game lead over Washington.
Trailing 1-0 since the fourth inning, thanks to Grady Sizemore hitting a solo home run and robbing one from Wilmer Flores a bit later, the Mets tied the game in the seventh on a monster home run by Juan Uribe. But Jacob deGrom gave up a leadoff home run to James Loney to put the Rays right back in front. deGrom, Eric O’Flaherty, and Bobby Parnell got the Mets through the rest of that inning, and Daniel Murphy very improbably tied the game against the excellent Jack McGee. And with the game still tied in the bottom of the inning, Tyler Clippard served up a home run to Evan Longoria. For the third time, the Rays led by one run. And then things got wild.
Lucas Duda tapped a ball slowly to the third base side of the mound, and Rays closer Brad Boxberger made a throwing error that allowed him to reach first. Boxberger threw a wild pitch, and Duda advanced to second. Juan Uribe fouled out, which wasn’t ideal. But it was right around then that Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez turned the Nationals’ three-run lead into a one-run deficit with a grand slam against Drew Storen.
Michael Conforto came up and drilled a double into the left-center field gap, scoring Duda to tie the game. After an infield single by Travis d’Arnaud, Kelly Johnson smoked a ball that was hit directly at the Rays’ shortstop. But Wilmer Flores came up and dropped a soft single into right field to score Conforto and put the Mets up for good.
The bottom of the ninth wasn’t without its own adventures, though. After a leadoff single by Asdrubal Cabrera, Juan Uribe fielded a couple of balls just on the foul side of the third base line, the first of which would have resulted in a big double play if it had been ruled fair. He eventually got an out in that at-bat, though it was just one out at second base.
Not quite content with the chaos yet, the Rays had the runner at first in motion when Kevin Kiemaier hit a ground ball up the middle of the infield. That worked out for the Mets, as Wilmer Flores was near the second base bag to cover, but he botched what could have been a game-ending double play any only got the out at first. But Jeurys Familia struck out Rays catcher Curt Casali to end the game, and the Mets won their seventh-straight game.
Not longer after that, with a man on first and the Nationals still trailing by a run, Bryce Harper struck out to end the game in Washington.
SB Nation GameThreads
* Amazin' Avenue GameThread
* DRaysBay GameThread
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Wilmer Flores, +30.7% WPA, Michael Conforto, +28.3% WPA, Daniel Murphy, +22.3% WPA, Jeurys Familia, +17.3% WPA, Lucas Duda, +12.0% WPA, Travis d’Arnaud, +10.7% WOA
Big losers: Tyler Clippard, -26.0% WPA, Kelly Johnson, -21.2% WPA, Curtis Granderson, -14.2% WPA, Jacob deGrom, -12.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Wilmer Flores’s go-ahead single in the ninth, +35.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Evan Longoria’s go-ahead home run in the eighth, -31.6% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -15.5% WPA
Total batter WPA: +65.5% WPA
GWRBI!: Wilmer Flores