Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Mets 7, Phillies 4
By Adam Rubin
WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets overcame their largest deficit of the season -- four runs -- and produced their 10th come-from-behind victory of the season with a 7-4 win against the Phillies on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
The Mets (17-13) matched their high-water mark at four games over .500, which they also reached at 4-0, 6-2, 7-3 and 13-9.
A four-run seventh inning against Joe Blanton, Chad Qualls and Antonio Bastardo erased a 4-1 deficit.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis began that comeback with a two-out RBI single that chased Blanton.
Qualls entered with two runners on base and surrendered a single to right field by David Wright.
Andres Torres comfortably scored on the play, but Nieuwenhuis stopped at third base. That is, Nieuwenhuis stopped until Wright got into a rundown between first and second.
That’s when Phillies infielder Pete Orr intended to throw the ball to second base, but no one was covering. Orr regrouped and tried to fling a throw to third to catch Nieuwenhuis straying too far down the line. The throw missed its mark and ended up in foul territory as Nieuwenhuis trotted home to tie the score at 4.
Lucas Duda followed with a go-ahead RBI single against Bastardo.
Niewenhuis also scored in Denver from third base on a play in which Wright got caught in a rundown between first and second. That time a pickoff move by Drew Pomeranz initiated the rundown.
Nieuwenhuis and Duda added ninth-inning RBIs for a three-run cushion.
The Mets entered Tuesday night one shy of the major league lead for come-from-behind wins -- 10 by the Atlanta Braves.
TAKING THE FIFTH: Mike Pelfrey, lost for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, was more valuable than commonly understood.
After two starts by Chris Schwinden in Pelfrey’s rotation spot, 41-year-old Miguel Batista took the latest turn. Hunter Pence launched a two-run homer in the first inning against Batista and Philadelphia added a pair of unearned runs in the second inning following an error by Jordany Valdespin.
Batista’s final line: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K.
Manny Acosta stranded two runners inherited from Batista in scoring position by coaxing a weak groundout from the opposing pitcher Blanton, then striking out Jimmy Rollins to hold the Mets’ deficit to 4-1.
In three starts in Pelfrey’s absence, fill-ins have now allowed 15 runs (12 earned) on 21 hits and five walks in 13 1/3 innings. Opponents have hit five homers.
WHAT A RELIEF: For the second straight game, Tim Byrdak inherited a runner at third base with two in the eighth and recorded the out. This time, he coaxed pinch hitter Ty Wigginton into a flyout to center field.
After saves on three straight days from Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch handled the ninth and recorded his first Mets save.
SHORTCOMING: Valdespin’s first major league start at shortstop got off to a rocky start. The rookie, fresh off a heroic ninth-inning homer against Jonathan Papelbon on Monday, airmailed a throw to Ike Davis for a two-base error to open the bottom of the second inning and also could not hold a throw from catcher Mike Nickeas on a potential caught stealing of Orr during that frame.
Terry Collins said pregame Justin Turner already is scripted to start Wednesday at shortstop, with Ronny Cedeno expected back from the DL for Friday’s series opener in Miami. Cedeno is due to take over the position until Ruben Tejada’s return.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets will aim for their first three-game sweep in Philly since June 2006 when Cliff Lee (0-1, 1.96 ERA) returns from the disabled list to face Dillon Gee (2-2, 4.50) in Wednesday’s 7:05 p.m. series finale. A sweep would send the Phillies four games under .500 for the first time since May 9, 2007.
At Class A St. Lucie, Jenrry Mejia is due to throw 75 pitches in a rehab start Wednesday. Chris Young, who should inherit Pelfrey’s rotation spot within a month, should be on the same pitch count Thursday for St. Lucie. Both pitchers underwent surgery on May 16, 2011 -- Mejia on his right elbow, Young on his right shoulder.