Mets survive in ninth ... barely

August, 13, 2012
8/13/12
12:02
AM ET
This wasn't exactly what Sandy Alderson intended when he devoted his available offseason dollars to the bullpen.

Josh Edgin hit a batter and walked two to load the bases in the ninth. And Frank Francisco issued two more walks to force in a pair of runs, then surrendered a two-run double to Martin Prado.

But Jon Rauch entered and struck out Jason Heyward as the Mets survived for a 6-5 win Sunday night against the Braves.

Terry Collins' reaction to Atlanta's four-run ninth, which came despite only one hit?

"I was very surprised, especially with the score the way it was," Collins said, referring to Jon Niese handing a five-run lead to the bullpen for the final frame. "You've got to attack. You've got to attack the strike zone and make them swing the bat to beat you. Frankie, he hadn't pitched in a while in that situation. It was really tough with the game on the line like that. But it should have never got to that point."

Francisco noted he was working back-to-back days for the first time since returning from the disabled list Aug. 3. He suggested he felt gassed.

"They wore me out a little bit. I'm a little out of shape," the closer said. "I just got tired. ... It's my first time back-to-back since when? A long time. But we got a 'W.' That's the important thing."

Even the game-ending play, with the tying run at third base, was dicey. The strikeout pitch by Rauch -- a slider -- was in the dirt. Catcher Rob Johnson blocked the ball and only by the narrowest of margins threw to first base in time to retire the strikeout victim Heyward.

"The ball is underneath me when I blocked it," Johnson said. "I don't know if you've seen it before, but oftentimes when catchers are getting up, they'll kick the ball off. That's why you have to take your time a little bit, so you don't kick the ball off. If I would have kicked the ball off, then I probably would have faked throwing and had the awareness to get the guy [from third base], because he would have been coming home. But once I got the ball, it was fine."

Said Niese, who was watching in the dugout: "It was tough. I can't sugarcoat that by any means. They got the job done, and that's all that matters. I think we're going to enjoy this win and go after the Reds."
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
13 4.14 136 182
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .296
HRL. Duda 27
RBIL. Duda 81
RD. Murphy 74
OPSL. Duda .817
ERAJ. Niese 3.55
SOZ. Wheeler 173