Two hours before the game, the Mets announced that Carlos Beltran
was headed to the disabled list for an indeterminable amount of time, leaving David Wright
as the only member left of the Mets offensive core and prompting Mets fans everywhere to bid the chance of a playoff berth in the 2009 season goodbye.
But on a night in which the Mets sent out a pitcher who totaled ten wins and eleven losses in the prior season, appearances by their fourth, fifth, and sixth string outfielders, a right fielder coming off an injury-plagued season that included two concussions and hip problems, a shortstop who signed a contract barely over the major league minimum, a catcher who was virtually unheard of at the start of the season, a second baseman Mets fans wanted to personally drive to the airport in a trade in 2008, a third baseman-turned left fielder-turned first baseman who up until a week ago, was in a state much different than his phenom-status of last season, a third baseman experiencing a strange league-leading season of twenty-day streaks, a relief pitcher who recently went eleven days without making an appearance, and another relief pitcher who got shelled in his first outing, merely two weeks ago...
They won in a never-say-die fashion with 12 singles, a double, and a home run, 6-4.
The Mets beat the Cardinals because they outscored them, outhit them and outpitched them. And they amassed 14 hits because. ... well, just because.Jerry Manuel
was delighted by how it all worked -- how seven innings of effective pitching by Tim Redding
; two run-scoring hits by Alex Cora
; four hits, a run and an RBI by Omir Santos
; a home run by Daniel Murphy; and relatively quiet eighth and ninth innings produced the Mets' first victory in four games against the Cardinals this season.Jeremy Reed
, the understudy for Beltran, was the only hitless Mets starter. Five players drove in runs, four scored, and the Mets scored in five innings and had no multiple-run hits.
The Mets, for the first time, played without the Carlos Brothers, Jose Reyes
and Gary Sheffield
, who received a night off, in the lineup. And it worked for the Replace-Mets on this night. But teams with regular lineups that don't equal what the Mets put out there Monday win, too.
Redding, making his seventh start, provided more of what the manager wanted. He reached the eighth inning for the first time, sparing the sapped bullpen some bullets, and gained his first victory as a Met. Redding surrendered four hits in seven innings before allowing a leadoff home run by Brendan Ryan in the eighth that prompted a change of pitcher, to left-hander Jon Switzer
Redding (1-2) walked one and struck out four. Ryan's first home run was the second by the Cardinals; Ryan Ludwick had driven in two runs with his 11th home run in the sixth.
Switzer faced two batters, allowing a single by the second, pinch-hitter Tyler Greene, that afforded Albert Pujols to bat as the go-ahead run. The Citi gulped. Manuel wanted to stay away from Sean Green
and Bobby Parnell
. New man Elmer Dessens
wasn't right for this assignment. And it was one out too early for Francisco Rodriguez
. And, anyway, Manuel had designated Brian Stokes
as the "eighth-inning guy" before the game.
Stokes threw two breaking balls to Pujols to slow him down. Then he gave him some heat before retiring the "game's dangerous hitter" on a double-play ground ball back to the mound after a 2-2 slider. That was by design.
Only after Stokes finished his work and Cora drove in a run in the bottom of the inning did a sense of security develop at Citi Field. And when Rodriguez earned his 19th save in 21 tries, the Mets had secured their seventh victory in 19 games this month.
The Mets scored twice in the first inning against losing pitcher Todd Wellemeyer (6-7) with a sacrifice fly by Ryan Church
and Santos' first hit of the game driving in the runs. And they added single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, all against the Cardinals' starter. Daniel Murphy
's fifth home run came in the fifth and increased, to 27, the home run total of the players in the Mets' 25-man roster. Pujols has hit 26.
That 26 is nine more than the sum of the players in the Mets' starting lineup. But on this night, Pujols produced just a double that was more than offset by Luis Castillo
's booming RBI double in the fourth and 12 Mets singles. There is more than one way to skin a cat, but the best way to eat a two-ton elephant is one bite at a time. That's how the Mets did it, on this one night at least.
The season has 94 games remaining, and the absences of Beltran, Delgado and Reyes will have more effect than they had Monday. But if last night proved anything... it was that this team has more heart than anyone gives them credit for.Notable performances:Alex "Turn up the AC because he's on fire" Cora
went 2-4 with two singles, a RBI, and a walk.Daniel Murphy
continues to work his way back towards .300 with his 2-5 day, scoring twice, once on his solo homer off Wellemeyer in the fifth.
Both Ryan Church
and Fernando Tatis
had a hit a piece, with Church scoring once.
The performances of the night belonged to Omir Santos
and his 4-4 day, scoring once and plating one, and Luis Castillo
and his 3-3 day, which consisted of two runs scored, an RBI, and a walk.David Wright
went 1-3 with two walks, a run scored, and no strikeouts. His average is still at .349.