For eight and a half innings, it appeared as if the Mets were on the verge of a sweep of the Giants. Somehow Tommy Milone had out-pitched Matt Cain, and the Mets left-handed bats put up just enough runs to scratch out a victory. It wasn’t to be.
The newest Met, left-handed pitcher Tommy Milone, started for the Mets, and was a perfectly cromulent spot-starter. He went five plus innings, gave up a solo home run to Buster Posey, walked two, and struck out five. He exited the game in the top of the sixth with no outs. Fernando Salas relieved him, and gave up run after a hit and a sacrifice fly.
The Mets got to Giants’ starter Matt Cain early, with Curtis Granderson knocking in a run in the bottom of the first, putting the Mets on top early. Jay Bruce hit a solo home run in the third inning, and Milone himself drove in a run on a single in the fourth. The opportunities for scoring more runs were plentiful, but the Mets left nine men on base in the first eight innings.
All of that seemed like an anecdote that would be forgotten in a couple of hours as the game progressed. After Salas departed, Josh Edgin and Hansel Robles combined for a scoreless inning, as did Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins. Blevins, with a man on second in the eighth inning, induced a weak fly ball from Brandon Belt, his third time retiring Belt in as many days/games.
In the bottom of the eighth, Michael Conforto, who didn’t start due to a tight left hamstring, struck a pinch hit single to right field. It was a bit of an odd time to bring Conforto into the game: two outs, no one on base, the Mets up a run. He was the last left-handed bat off the bench - as well as the Mets’ best hitter - and he was wasted in a low-leverage situation that would come back to sting.
When Jeurys Familia entered the game in the ninth, he looked gassed relatively early on. Part of his fatigue likely came from the fact that he was used in a five run game last night, and trotted out less than 24 hours later in a necessary save situation. Conor Gillaspie lined out to start the inning, after which Familia walked Joe Panik. Eduardo Nunez then grounded into what may have been a 5-4-3, game ending double play, but Wilmer Flores bobbled the ball and then made a poor throw to second base.
A walk to Buster Posey, a game-tying single by Hunter Pence, and then a three-run double by Christian Arroyo knocked Familia out of the game, where known rally-killer Rafael Montero stopped the bleeding.
The Mets didn’t go down without a fight. TJ Rivera started the inning off with a single, before Bruce was called out on a check-swing strike three. Neil Walker then singled, and Curtis Granderson lined out to right field. Down to their final strike, Wilmer Flores doubled to deep center, barely missing both a home run and a wonderful catch by future Forgotten Met Justin Ruggiano, plating both Rivera and Walker.
The Mets’ final hope was Kevin Plawecki who grounded out to the catcher for the final out of the game. Had Conforto not pinch hit the inning prior, he could have been used against right-handed Derek Law in the bottom of the ninth in Plawecki’s spot but, Terry Collins strikes again.
While this game was certainly frustrating, the Mets still won the series, which marks the fifth time they have done so in a row. With Lucas Duda, Yoenis Cespedes, Steven Matz, and Seth Lugo all scheduled to return this month, the team is in a position to continue to play good baseball - at least two thirds of the time.
The Mets have a day off tomorrow before traveling to Miller Park in Milwaukee to play the Brewers on Friday night. Matt Harvey hopes to put his suspension and this frustrating game behind the Mets against Matt Garza and co.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Jay Bruce, +12.1% WPA
Big losers: Jeurys Famila, -82.2% WPA, Kevin Plawecki, -18.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jay Bruce’s solo home run, +13.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Kevin Plawecki’s game-ending ground out -13.5% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -49.9% WPA
Total batter WPA: -0.1% WPA
GWRBI!: Christian Arroyo