Last night's come from behind, bottom of the ninth victory over the Phillies may qualify as the game of the season, so far, for the Mets. Not just because the team won the game or the way they won the game, but the overall fashion of a baseball game.
What was expected to be a low scoring, pitchers duel (as quoted on this site) turned out to be a back and forth, will powered affair that took 53 of the 54 outs to complete.
Neither R.A. Dickey nor Cole Hamels had their best stuff; especially Dickey, who tied a career high with 11 hits allowed and five earned runs against. But he hung in there and fought hard against the Phils. He stayed in for seven innings, not allowing the Mets to fall behind to much. Hamels, on the other side, kept most of the Mets at bay, with his off-speed stuff from the left side. The main damage against Hamels was done from the two right-handed bats in the middle of the lineup; David Wright and Scott Hairston.
Until the end of the game, both bullpens were very solid. Jon Rauch, Tim Byrdak, Pedro Beato, and Bobby Parnell all threw up zeros in relief, keeping the team alive and giving them a chance.
The bottom of the ninth inning was just amazing. Ike Davis' lead-off double followed by Josh Thole's excellent sacrifice to put a runner on third with less than two outs. But then Jonathan Papelbon did what elite closers are suppose to do; get out of trouble. By striking out Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Papelbon was down to one last out going against the inexperienced part of the Mets lineup.
However newly recalled Jordany Valdespin worked a great at-bat before getting hit by a pitch. Ruben Tejada walked in a very gutsy plate appearance. At least once, maybe twice, I had thought he struck out looking. Whew. Bases loaded, the Irish-boy, Daniel Murphy at the plate and on a two-strike pitch rips one up the middle, off of Papelbon's foot, tying run scores, and Citi Field is going crazy!
And before everyone has a chance to sit down and catch their breath, the Mets MVP candidate does this (Murphy's at-bat is first):
Ball game over. Mets win! Boom!