Mets 5-Pirates 4 (11)
W: Sosa (3-1) L: Van Benschoten (0-1)
With their ace Johan Santana on the mound, the New York Mets did not score enough runs to finish off the mediocre Pirates in nine, waiting until the bottom of the 11th before walking off on a David Wright shot to deep right field.
Santana pitched well but couldn’t keep his pitch count down, going only 5.2 (2 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO), giving up both runs on solo shots to Nate McLouth (on the first at bat of the game) and Jason Bay.
Pirates starter Ian Snell wasn’t great, going 4.1 (5 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 2 SO) before getting into a jam. The Bucs pen held up very nicely until the 11th when John Van Benschoten (who?) gave up the winning hit to David.
Jose Reyes broke out of his slump, going 3-3 with 3 walks and a triple and providing the momentum the Mets needed on the bases, especially late in the game. This is what the Mets need–like I’ve said time and time again, when Reyes gets on base, the Mets win.
Ryan Church continued his hot streak, homering off of Ian Snell in the 4th. Carlos Delgado received a huge ovation for his first at-bat but was booed for the rest of the game as he went 0-5 and killed many a rally. Delgado continues to look dead at the plate. He has flashes of his old self, which was clearly evident the other day. But he is clearly just a shadow of what he used to be.
The real story tonight is the Mets bullpen, which blew this game for Johan. Sure, Billy Wagner takes the bulk of the heat with his first blown save of the year. But each reliever tonight got into a sticky situation before getting bailed out. Duaner Sanchez is obviously Willie’s new choice for a set up man, but could barely get the ball over the plate tonight. Aaron Heilman continues to struggle mightily and got a nice round of boos tonight. Joe Smith was nowhere to be found, even though he has been the team’s second most consistent reliever this year. It’s not my intention to go on a rant, but I’ll say this. Willie needs to understand that relievers are inconsistent. If they were more consistent, they’d be starters (or elite relievers like Wagner, who is the only elite reliever on the team). Therefore, when you’re in a tight situation, you go with your “hot” relievers. Also, why Willie didn’t bring Wagner in for the 8th when Duaner was stuck in a tight situation in the middle of the Pirates order, I have no idea. It’s incredibly frustrating.
Oh and by the way, Raul Casanova‘s defense is subpar, to say the last. Get well soon, Brian.
Check out the Liveblog I kept for more information on the game (until I got too frustrated to write, anyway).