The Mets were fans of the long ball today, knocking three in total, and two from a very surprising source. The Mets won the series over the Braves, taking the rubber game by a score of 6-3.
Nelson Figueroa made fourth start of the year, getting off to a very strong start before faltering in the sixth. Figueroa only allowed three hits through the first five innings, benefiting from a double play ball in the second to get out of a mini jam. The sixth was a bit of a struggle for Figueroa, allowing three singles a double to drive in two runs before being removed for Joe Smith.
This wasn't his strongest start, but heading into the sixth he held the Braves scoreless, which is a great sign. He seems to feed off the crowd at Shea, which is great. He seemed to have a bit of an issue with the mound, and it showed in the sixth. He kept checking the mound after a pitch, so something just didn't feel right for him. Again, I love this guy's story. Keep it up, Nelson.
Smith relieved Figueroa with two on in the sixth, and got what looked like a double play ball to escape the inning, but Brent Lillibridge beat it out at first, and a run scored. Scott Schoeneweis pitched the seventh, allowing some balls to get hit deep, but escaped unscathed. Kelly Johnson crushed one to the wall, but Carlos Beltran was there to track it down and after a Jeff Francoeur double, got a sparkling running grab from Ryan Church. Church tracked the ball down at the wall, just missing a sliding Beltran and making probably the best catches of the year.
Good stuff from these two relievers. I though Smith was going to get out of that inning on his first batter, but Lillibridge showed some nice speed beating it out. Schoeneweis needs to take Beltran and Church out for dinner after saving that inning for him.
Pedro Feliciano pitched the eighth, getting the Braves in order. Billy Wagner came on to close our the game, after Lillibridge hit one to Endy Chavez on the warning track, Matt Diaz stuck out his bat and poked one to right field. This was the first hit he has given up all year as Wagner pitched 9 1-3 innings without allowing a hit to start the season. He finished out the game, getting Gregor Blanco to strike out looking.
Feliciano was nasty in the eighth. He needs to be able to maintain this from appearance to appearance. Great stuff from Wagnet, too bad he gave up that hit. He earned his sixth save of the season.
The Mets pounded out 6 runs and 12 hits, chased John Smoltz after only four innings.
Jose Reyes led off the first inning with a double to right field. After a Luis Castillo ground out moved Reyes to third, Reyes scored the first run of the game on a wild pitch.
When he gets on base, he makes runs happen.
Carlos Delgado drew a one out walk in the second inning, and Raul Casanova drove him in with a home run to deep right field. The Mets then had a big chance later in that inning, as Figueroa singled to third, Reyes walked, and Castillo singled to load the bases, David Wright struck out, his second of the game.
Casanova had a breakout day for the Mets, going 3-4, driving in two runs and scoring once. Huge. Wright got out to a rough start to the game, but got back on the horse later on.
In the third, Delgado began his crusade to get back into the good graces of Mets fans, going the other way and knocking a solo home run into the bleachers in left field.
I love when Delgado waits on a pitch and drives it the other way. He looked very good at the plate, going 2-2 with two walks, driving in two runs, and scoring three times. Now, the question is: Who hit their second homer later in the game?
In the sixth, Wright singled to center field, driving home Castillo who doubled earlier in the inning.
Wright went 1-4 and though he's still in his slump, he's starting to see the ball better and will come around soon enough. I'm not worried about the slump, it just looks worse when the rest of the team is struggling around him.
In the seventh, Delgado crushed a solo home run part way up the scoreboard in right field off of Will Ohman, his second of the day.
Wow. The fans were screaming for a curtain call, but Delgado didn't come out for one. Obviously, he's not back yet, but this is definitely a great sign.
Numbers: 0: Church and Chavez's hits, the only two starters to go hitless...Castillo: 3-5, run...Casanova: 3-2, 2 RBI, run...Delgado: 1.000 BA on the day, going 2-2, 2 BB, 2 RBI, 3 runs...Extra base hits: 6 (3 2B, 3 HR)...Team LOB: 8...
Game Ball: Delgado