June 22nd, 2011
by Andrew Rizzi

A week after the Mets lost on a game ending balk, they got their first walk-off win of the season on a hit by pitch. With 2 outs and the bases loaded in the 13th inning Brad Ziegler nipped Justin Turner in leg, ending a game more than 5 hours after it was supposed to start in the most anti-climactic of ways.

It was a day that started badly for the Mets, as they found out Ike Davis will miss several more weeks, and possibly the rest of the season. But after an hour rain delay at the start and a 4 hour game, it ended in happy fashion as the Mets found a way to even the series with the A’s. They certainly didn’t make it easy though, as Frankie Rodriguez blew his 2nsd straight save in the 9th, and the team left 15 men on base.

There weren't many fans left by the 13th inning, but the ones who remained were loud and boisterous. Thanks to Evan Roberts for the Twitpic.

R.A. Dickey pitched a great 8 innings, allowing only one run and striking out 9. Dickey was in position for the win, thanks to Turner’s big 2-out RBI single that scored Jose Reyes in the bottom of the 8th. Reyes had reached base with his 13th triple of the season. But in the bottom of the 9th K-Rod could not seal the deal, and Connor Jackson’s 2-out single scored Coco Crisp from 3rd to tie the game.

Both teams had countless opportunities in extra innings, but neither could get over the hump till the Mets won it in the 13th. The Mets put runners in scoring position in the 9th, 10th, and 12th, while Oakland did the same in the 10th and 11th. But each time the runners got close, the respective bullpens escaped the jam.

Pedro Beato was particularly effective for the Mets, throwing 1 2/3 innings with 1 hit allowed and 3 K’s. Bobby Parnell tossed a 1-2-3 13th and earned his 2nd win.

Lucas Duda had a nice game at 1st, going 2-5, scoring the winning run and driving in the first run of the game.

Three Up:

1) Justin Turner- Clearly Turner is not swinging the bat as well as he was earlier in the year, but he is an RBI machine. He drove in the go-ahead run in the 8th, and then without swinging the bat drove in the winner in the 13th.

2) R.A. Dickey- With the rotation struggling a bit of late, Dickey did a great job stopping the skid and giving the Mets a great start. He deserved a better fate, but the bottom line is it is very good to see R.A. returning to his 2010 form.

3) Citi Field Fans Who Stayed- The game was scheduled to start at 7pm, and did not end until after midnight. Only a small portion of the fans stayed till the end, but they were the true fans that bleed orange and blue. The stadium sounded just as loud as it did in the 8th. God bless my fellow die-hards.

Three Down:

1) Jason Bay- It was a nice to see the old Jason for one night on Tuesday, but tonight he was back to the Bay we all know and dislike. Bay went 0-5 with 3 strikeouts, left a key insurance run on 3rd in the 8th, and stranded the winning run on 2nd in the 10th. It was as bad as it gets for Bay.

2) Francisco Rodriguez- Another blown save for K-Rod, and while he has had a good season overall, it’s always “What have you done for me lately” with closers. Frankie was one strike away, but couldn’t finish the job. It was a painful pill to swallow.

3) Scott Hairston- Watching Scott Hairston play center field was painful tonight. In the opening frame he allowed an easy fly ball to land right in front of him when he lost it in the sky in the 1st inning, and until the 5th it was the only hit Dickey gave up. I was ready to send hate mail to Hairston if the first Mets no-hitter was prevented by this bush league play. If Ike Davis and David Wright do ever come back, Hairston has to go.

Rizzi’s Rants:

- Thank God! Once this game reached the 11th inning I knew it would either be a horrible night or a great one depending on the outcome. There was no way I was going to bed before this one ended. I am very relieved we won; now I can sleep peacefully.

- It was an ugly way to win, but who cares? With the lineup we have we have to take these wins however we can get them, even if it is on a HBP.

- By the way this was just the second walk-off hit by pitch Mets win in franchise history. The only other one occurred in 1992.

- We learned tonight that Keith Hernandez can play in the biggest games in front of the biggest crowds with no problem, but he is deathly afraid of… bees. A bee flew into the broadcast booth in the 4th inning, and Keith bugged out. His head set crashed to the floor, and he looked like he was going to cry.

- Hideki Matsui made a great catch in the 4th inning, as Lucas Duda’s foul ball drifted into the first row of the stands. Matsui reached back among several fans, and came up with the ball behind a kid’s head. He also made a diving catch to rob Daniel Murphy of a hit and end the 11th. I never saw that kind of defense when he played for the Evil Empire.

- As soon as Coco Crisp stole 3rd base in the 9th with 2 outs I was livid. I really don’t understand why the Mets would pay no attention to him. It’s such a big difference for Oakland having the tying run on 3rd. He can score via the wild pitch, an error, an infield single, or a balk (and we’ve seen that). Additionally, it’s a guaranteed run on any hit to the outfield, whereas there would be a play at the plate if the runner was still on 2nd. I am not sure if Bay would have had a shot, but it’s just the principal of the fact- YOU HAVE TO KEEP HIM AT 2ND BASE THERE!

- When I saw Ronny Paulino squaring to bunt in the 9th I had my eyes half closed in the expectation that it would be disgusting. But he did a great job, and it might have been the best sac bunt by a Met all year.

- But more so than just his bunting, Paulino has been getting the majority of the playing time at catcher lately for a good reason- he is a better hitter than Josh Thole. And more importantly, with Ike out long term, the Mets get much needed power from Paulino, something Thole totally lacks. Josh should still see roughly half the playing time, but Paulino will get a lot of starts in the near future, as he should.

- Reyes had the huge triple in the 8th, but I am still a little concerned with his recent at-bats. Everything has been sky high on this home stand, and the majority of the at-bats have resulted in pop-up outs. Jose is at his best when he is belting line drives and hard grounders. He needs to get back on top of the pitches, like he did in the 12th with his single up the middle.

- Tim Byrdak stinks. He came in the 10th and allowed 2 of the 3 batters he faced to reach base. I know we need a lefty in the pen, but how about Mike O’Connor? He looked good in his short time with the big club, no?

- Oakland almost scored the go ahead run in the 12th, when Jamile Weeks drilled one down the line towards 1st. But Lucas Duda knocked it down and ended the inning right there, stranding Scott Sizemore at 2nd. It was a huge play that will be forgotten by many tomorrow.

- Losing this one has to be brutal for Oakland, especially with another game in 12 hours. Let’s finish them off, and get a nice .500 home stand. Let’s Go Mets!!!

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Posted in AMERICAN LEAGUE, Major League Baseball, NATIONAL LEAGUE, New York Mets, Oakland Athletics | Comments (1)

One Response to “Turner’s Hit By Pitch in 13th Gives Mets Walk-Off Win”

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