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Exit Sandman

Mike SteffanosSaturday, May 20, 2006
By Mike Steffanos


Mets 7 - Yankees 6

David Wright's 2 out, ninth inning walkoff hit beat Mariano Rivera and the Yankees in a game where the Mets had come from behind all night. Jeremi Gonzalez started the game for the Mets and put them in a big hole early. The Yankees scored 4 runs in the first inning on 5 hits and 2 walks. It probably would have been worse if Alex Rodriguez didn't get thrown out at second on a stupid baserunning play. Still, the Mets came up in the bottom of the first down big against the Big Eunuch.

Reyes led off the game with a terrific AB, finally drawing a walk. Lo Duca dumped a soft single to right, and Beltran followed with a very hard home run to left-center. Just like that, the Mets were back in it.

Both pitchers tossed scoreless second innings, but Gonzalez fell right back into trouble in the third. A leadoff walk to Alex Rodriguez and a single by Kelly Stinnett put runners on first and third with no outs. Robinson Cano hit a long sac fly that Beltran was able to run down at the fence to put the Yankees up 5-3. After Bernie Williams struck out for the second out, Melky Cabrera hit a single, then the light-hitting Randy Johnson managed a single that Reyes made a terrific play on to keep it in the infield and not allowing Stinnett to score. Still, the bases were loaded and Johnny Damon had a chance to blow it open against the struggling Gonzalez. He only managed a weak fly out to Jose Valentin in left, letting Gonzalez off the hook.

In the bottom of the third, David Wright singled with 2 outs, and Nady hit a home run to right-center that tied the game at 5. With new life, Gonzalez came back and immediately gave up a leadoff double to Jeter. Willie had seen enough, and brought in Darren Oliver to face the Giambino. Oliver came in with the usual can of gasoline, plunking Giambi, striking out A-Rod, but then allowing Stinnett to beat him with a single to put the Yankees up by a run. Cano hit the ball hard lining out to Beltran, and Reyes made another terrific play keeping Bernie Williams' single from getting into the outfield. Again the Yankees left the bases loaded when Melky Cabrera grounded out to Wright at third.

The Eunuch stranded Reyes and Lo Duca to keep the Mets off the board in their half of the fourth, while Oliver managed to pitch a 1-2-3 fifth. In the bottom of the frame, Kazuo Matsui had a terrific at-bat against Johnson with Wright at second and 2 outs. He fell behind 1-2, but worked the count back to full before pulling a single between Jeter and A-Rod to tie the game at 6.

At that point the bullpens took over. Heilman was amazing -- pitching the 6th, 7th and 8th innings without allowing a Yankee baserunner while striking out 3. Scott Proctor and Kyle Farnsworth kept the Mets off the board for 3 innings. Wagner came in to pitch the top of the ninth and did it in style, striking out the Giambino, A-Rod and Stinnett. Torre countered with Mariano in the bottom of the ninth. Lo Duca doubled with one out, but Rivera struck out Beltran on a nasty cutter. The Yankees elected to walk Delgado, who had some good numbers versus Rivera, and pitch to David Wright. Rivera got ahead of Wright, but the Mets third baseman worked the count back to even and then drove Rivera's next pitch over Damon's head for the game winning run.

Thoughts on the game

The Mets played a really good fundamental game at the plate and in the field. Reyes was terrific, with a hit and two walks and some great defense. Delgado saved Reyes on a really nice dig of low throw. They had long, productive at-bats of the type that have been in short supply lately.

Wright had 3 hits, including the game winner. He hasn't been driving in many runs over the past couple of weeks, but the one he drove in today was sweet.

Lima Time is up After the game Willie Randolph announced that Jose Lima has been designated for assignment. The AP is saying that relief pitcher Anderson Garcia has been called up to take the roster spot. Another move will have to be made when a starter is needed Wednesday.

Pedro versus Mussina tomorrow afternoon at 1:20 on FOX. God, I hate their baseball coverage...

Box Score

Comments (5)

I assume you know it was a walk off single and not a HR and that LoDuca dumped a soft single to right and not "wright". . . . .

Hey, it's late and I was excited. The Mets did win, right?

How sweet it is...the big enuch, that's funny,good recap.Delgado is not bad at first.Before he came I heard he was a terrible 1st baseman. What I seen so far, he's o.k....Bye bye Lima bean,Hate to see you go.Yeah, right. I see a relief pitcher is coming up to fill his spot? Heilman a starter???He was great coming out of the pen last night.I can see why he's a question as where his best place is on the team...Man, what a nice win,what good news about Lima, Pedro and Tom coming up.It's going to be a good day.I owe I owe it's off to work I go.Have a good day Mike.

Ah! How nice to see the Mets pound away at Randy Johnson wearing the Yankees uniform. Tho' I must say, I missed getting a reprise of the not-little temper tantrum that Johnson gave us in 1999 when the Mets knocked him out induring the divisional series. Johnson does, or did, tantrums well, being so tall and ugly and all; it was a gratifying spectacle and a treasured memory today. These days he doesn't seem to have the heart to bitch out loud.

Did you notice the way Johnson threw a few of his pitches in the 5th inning, without really setting his back foot at all, for all the world like he was tossing BP right in the middle of a close contest? Seeing that I understood what Guidry was talking about a few days back with his "Lost little boy" comment.

But the surprising thing about Johnson for me is not that he is falling apart, but that he managed to pitch effectively for so long. Three years ago in the second half of the season Johnson's landing knee troubled him so that he couldn't finish his pitches; as I remember it his BA against lefthanders (!) was over .300 for the second half of 2003. Baseball America and others had him on the skids; somehow he rallied and put together another big year, enough to extract that huge contract from Steinbrenner. Seeing him pitch so oddly yesterday raises the question of whether one or both of his knees are betraying him again. I'm guessing so, that stuff doesn't heal so perfectly after one passes forty.

Hey Rev, Delgado doesn't have much range and doesn't make those Keith Hernandez plays. What he does do is handle throws around the bag. I think the other stuff was really overblown.
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Not that the Mets didn't make some bad moves over the years, but I couldn't believe how much money the Yankees sunk into Randy Johnson. He's been a great pitcher but he was clearly on the downside of his career at his age.

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