Jay Bruce played a pretty poor game through eleven-and-a-half innings, but he also played the role of Mets hero with a walk-off single in the twelfth inning that gave the team its third win in a row and fourth in its last five games.
Before that walk-off hit, Bruce had gone 0-for-5 at the plate and badly misplayed what should have been an Eric Thames single into a triple. Luckily, that defensive miscue didn’t cost the Mets, and it was far from the biggest one of the game. Tyler Pill picked Bruce up in that inning by leaving Thames stranded at third base at a point in the game that the Mets trailed 1-0.
Pill’s start, the first of his major league career, was highly dependent upon stranding runners throughout. Although he gave up six hits and issued three walks in five-and-one-third innings, Pill gave up just one run in the first and nothing else the rest of the way. He doesn’t figure to remain in the rotation for long if Steven Matz and Seth Lugo return to the big league rotation and the rest of the active starting pitchers remain healthy, but Pill acquitted himself nicely against a team that is pretty good at scoring runs.
When Pill left the game, the Mets had a 2-1 lead, the result of back-to-back doubles by Curtis Granderson and Asdrubal Cabrera in the fifth and a bases-loaded walk by Jose Reyes shortly thereafter. Bruce got a shot to blow the game open, or at least tack on a run, immediately after Reyes’s walk, but he grounded into an inning-ending double play.
In the sixth, it was Lucas Duda who extended the Mets’ lead with an opposite-field, two-run home run. He’s been on a tear lately, to say the last.
But the tone of the game took a sharp turn in the top of the seventh inning. After Fernando Salas loaded the bases with just one out, Terry Collins turned to Jerry Blevins, who struck out the first man he faced but walked the next to force in a run. He induced a pop-up to shortstop after that, but Asdrubal Cabrera misjudged the ball. It fell to the ground, and luckily for the Mets, only two Brewers runners scored.
So with the game tied, Josh Edgin threw a scoreless eighth and Addison Reed a scoreless ninth. And since the Mets couldn’t score, either, Josh Smoker took over and threw three scoreless innings with four strikeouts, one walk, and two hits allowed. And all of that pitching set things up for the Mets to finally win the game in the bottom of the twelfth on a pinch hit single from T.J. Rivera to begin the frame, a Michael Conforto walk, a ground ball—after a failed bunt attempted—that advanced Rivera to third by Jose Reyes, and the aforementioned game-winner from Bruce.
While it would have been fitting for Cabrera himself to win the game given his miscue, it was a moment of redemption for Bruce. If things had turned out differently, Cabrera would have been the goat, for sure, but his 3-for-5 night with a run scored is easier to smile about since he didn’t ultimately cost the Mets a game.
That leaves the Mets four games under .500 on the season, not exactly where they wanted to be but not too far back for them to get back to relevance in the standings. And with Jacob deGrom on the mound tonight against the Brewers, they’ll have a chance to win the fourth in a row.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Josh Smoker, +38.4% WPA, Addison Reed, +12.8% WPA, Tyler Pill, +11.6% WPA, Michael Conforto, +11.2% WPA, Josh Edgin, +10.1% WPA
Big losers: Jerry Blevins, -19.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jay Bruce hits a walk-off single in the twelfth, +18.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jay Bruce grounds into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the second, -13.1% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +48.8% WPA
Total batter WPA: +1.2% WPA
GWRBI!: Jay Bruce