Mets Live and Die by Walk-off
After losing their first game against the Cubs, the Mets had a great deal of trouble with Chicago’s pitcher, Scott Feldman, on Saturday. Feldman worked through the first inning without trouble, striking out Jordany Valdespin and Marlon Byrd along the way, then retired the Mets in order through the second and third innings. He contributed with his bat in the fourth, driving in two runs on a line drive single to center field and putting the Cubs up 2-0. The bottom of the frame did begin poorly for him—Daniel Murphy started the inning with a double, stole 3rd soon afterwards, and scored on David Wright’s ensuing double—but he regained his composure and retired the next 12 batters in order.
Jon Niese left the game in the eighth inning, and the Cubs took advantage of the bullpen, knocking in another 3 runs to go up 5-1. Likewise, Valdespin singled in a run after Feldman was replaced in the bottom of the inning, but that would be the last change to the scoreboard as the Mets lost 5-2.
The Cubs kept the hits coming on Sunday’s close to the series. Alfonso Soriano knocked an RBI single off Jeremy Hefner in the first inning, and would later reach base on a Wright throwing error in the fifth inning. Coupled with a second throwing error from Murphy, the misplay allowed two runs to come in and Soriano to make it all the way to 3rd, putting the Mets down 3-0.
That shutout held until the ninth, when Marlon Byrd got the inning started with a blast to left center, bringing the score to 3-1. Lucas Duda worked a walk and John Buck reached base on a single. Omar Quintanilla bunted into the first out on a sacrifice which successfully advanced the runners, but the play and the out proved of little significance. Kirk Nieuwenhuis slammed a walk-off homerun on the second pitch he saw, putting the Mets up 4-3 and giving them the win.
The Mets traveled to Atlanta last night, where they waited out the rain for 3 hours and 43 minutes for the first of a five game set with the Braves. Impatient after the delay, many of the batters looked to be swinging for the fences all night long, but nobody could manage a run until the seventh inning when Dillon Gee hit an RBI single. Unfortunately, the Mets could score again, and Gee gave up a 2 run walk-off homer when he stayed on to pitch the ninth, ending the game with a 2-1 loss.
Game 2 will be played at 1:10 PM this afternoon, and Game 3 will start at 7:10 PM for the second half of a double header. The Mets stand at 25-40 on the season.
Yankees Salvage LA Series
The Yankees were hoping they could take two out of three series on their West Coast tour after being swept by the A’s, but after dropping Game 1 of their weekend series against the Angels, they needed a win in Game 2 on Saturday to make that a possibility. Erick Aybar made that a little harder to do when he homered off of David Phelps in the bottom of the second.
Brett Gardner erased the deficit with an RBI triple in third, and Jayson Nix singled him in to put the Yanks up 2-1. That lead was short lived, however, as Albert Pujols hit an RBI single in the bottom of the inning to tie the game 2-2; the tie held until the sixth when Aybar singled in another run to put LA ahead. Phelps left in the seventh inning, but Los Angeles tacked on another 3 runs against New York’s bullpen, ending the game by a final of 6-2.
In danger of a second straight sweep after losing all of their last 5 games, CC Sabathia knew he would have to give a performance worthy of a staff ace when he took the mound on Sunday. Both teams threatened early on, with the Yanks loading the bases and the Angels putting two on in the first inning, but all hopes of scoring were ended by double plays.
The Yanks did manage to rouse their bats in the third inning. With two out and two on base, Travis Hafner blasted a homerun to put the team on the scoreboard, and the Bronx Bombers weren’t done yet. Vernon Wells kept the inning going with a single, and Lyle Overbay drove him home with a double. Overbay rounded third himself on Jayson Nix’s ensuing single, which put NY up 5-0.
As CC worked masterfully through the Anegls lineup, that score held until Wells brought Cano home on a seemingly superfluous sacrifice fly in the eighth inning. That extra bit of insurance proved vital, however, when CC gave up a double to Mike Trout and walked Pujols to begin the ninth inning. David Robertson was brought on to try to close out the game, but gave up an RBI single before striking out Howie Kendrik for the first out. Robertson walked the next batter, creating a save situation and forcing Joe Girardi to take him out for Mariano.
Rivera allowed a run when he got Aybar to ground into the second out of the inning, then another 2 when he gave up a single to the next batter. He gave up two more singles and another RBI, bringing the score up to 6-5 and allowing the first runner who was his responsibility to reach home. Trout was walked to load the bases when he came back to the plate, but Rivera struck Pujols out swinging on three pitches to end the threat and collect his 24th save of the season, salvaging CC’s 7th win in the process.
The victory snapped a 5 game losing streak for the Yankees, allowing them to leave on a high note. After taking a day off for travel, they will host LA’s other team, the Dodgers, for two games of interleague play beginning at 7:05 PM tonight. They remain 3 games behind the Red Sox and 1.5 games behind the Orioles.