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Sunday, March 13, 2011
Wright romp almost historic

By Mark Simon

David Wright’s close call at a rare “reached and scored on four-base error,” on Sunday afternoon, denied only by his being thrown out at the plate, got us to thinking about similar such plays in Mets history. So we looked for successful attempts at such a sprint in games that actually counted.

Thanks to the Elias Sports Bureau and some newspaper lookups, we uncovered three examples in which a Met hitter circled the bases without the benefit of a base hit.

The most recent example was two years ago –- Aug. 24, 2009 against the Phillies –- when Angel Pagan’s leadoff popup against Cliff Lee was dropped by second baseman Chase Utley. Utley then tried to throw Pagan out at second base and threw the ball away, allowing Pagan to scamper all the way around and score a run. In the end, such a break against Lee wasn’t enough, as the Phillies won anyway, 6-2.

You’d have to be a true Mets aficianado to recall the other two instances.

On July 14, 1964, the Cubs made five errors in an inning against the Mets. Two of them came on a safety squeeze bunt by Ron Hunt in which the Cubs sandwiched two errant throws around one good one, which nailed baserunner Charlie Smith trying to score. Hunt, continuing to run, drew a wild throw, and was able to circle the bases himself. Here too, the hapless Mets couldn’t take advantage of all the miscues. They lost to the Cubs, 4-2.

The Mets did win on Sept. 10, 1978, against the Pirates, thanks in part to a misplay similar to Utley’s. In this case, second baseman Phil Garner dropped Willie Montanez’s popup, then threw the ball away trying to get Montanez (best known during his Mets tenure for his hot-dog home run trot) at second base. The two runs that scored proved to be significant in an 11-9 Mets triumph.