NEW YORK -- Ya Gotta Believe?
The New York Mets, who aim to use this series against the Atlanta Braves to catapult themselves back into relevance, squandered a late lead but ultimately rallied for a 4-3 walk-off win in 11 innings on Monday at Citi Field.
New York Mets
Tejada also had the Mets' last walk-off hit, on May 11 against Philadelphia (also in the 11th inning).
The Mets (40-49) pulled to within nine games of the first-place Braves (49-40) in the NL East.
Wacky ninth: Eric Young Jr. ended up grounding into a fielder’s choice against Shae Simmons to strand the bases loaded and end the ninth inning, but how the Mets got there left Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez ejected and Mets manager Terry Collins perhaps worthy of admittance to the bar.
With the score tied at 3, Eric Campbell singled to open the frame. Juan Lagares then bunted, and umpire Sean Barber ruled Campbell out at second base, though a throw to first base for a double-play bid was too late.
However, Collins complained that Andrelton Simmons pulled his foot off second base before accepting the throw (which television replays supported).
"Neighborhood plays” are excluded from replay review, but Collins convinced the umps to confer and then go to video anyway. The ruling from the home office came back safe, which placed runners at first and second with no outs.
Gonzalez again argued and was ejected. He clearly believed the play was not reviewable.
In order for it to be considered a “neighborhood play,” the fielder must have acted to avoid a collision, which arguably wasn't the case, with Simmons pulling his foot off the bag to accept the throw at second. Perhaps that was Collins' winning argument.
Crazy eighth: Vic Black, Josh Edgin and Jenrry Mejia combined to allow three eighth-inning runs, as the Mets failed to hold a 2-0 lead after receiving seven scoreless innings from starter Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Black turned the two-run lead over to Edgin with Freddie Freeman on third base and two outs. Things quickly unraveled.
Edgin fired a wild pitch that sailed above Jason Heyward’s head and allowed Freeman to scamper home, which pulled the Braves within a run.
Given the series’ importance, Collins then turned to Mejia for a four-out save. Instead, the closer surrendered a game-tying RBI double to Chris Johnson off the top of the center-field wall. After an intentional walk to New Jersey native Tommy La Stella, rookie Christian Bethancourt served a go-ahead RBI single into right field.
Mejia suffered his second blown save in 10 chances. The other was June 7 at San Francisco.
Edgin had retired the first batter he faced in each of his previous 23 appearances -- a franchise record to begin a season.
Made the most: The Mets mustered only four hits through eight innings but made them count. Travis d'Arnaud had a second-inning double that plated Eric Campbell, who had reached via walk. David Wright homered the following inning against left-hander Mike Minor. Then, trailing 3-2 with two outs in the eighth, Granderson homered against Luis Avilan to even the score. Daniel Murphy followed Granderson’s homer with a single that chased Avilan.
The Braves had retired 15 straight batters between Wright’s and Granderson’s long balls, with Minor retiring 13 straight to close his seven-inning outing.
d'Arnaud has reached base in all 11 games since returning from Triple-A. Wright is hitting .395 (32-for-81) against southpaws this season.
No Dice: Matsuzaka tossed seven scoreless innings in his longest start of the season but was deprived of his first win since June 10.
Matsuzaka allowed two baserunners in each of the first three innings but repeatedly escaped unscathed. His final line: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K. He threw 100 pitches and departed with a 2-0 lead.
With Dillon Gee ready to return from the disabled list, Matsuzaka might have been reassigned to the bullpen this week had Jonathon Niese not landed on the disabled list. Matsuzaka had surrendered five runs in each of his previous two starts. His previous season high had been six innings, which he had accomplished in three starts.
Struck: Carlos Torres was struck on the bare hand with a liner in the 11th but remained in the game after a visit from the trainer.