By Mike Steffanos
Mets 7 - Marlins 4
The Marlins managed nothing at all against Tom Glavine for the first 5 innings, while the Mets kept pecking away at Dontrelle Willis. The formula was good enough to survive a little late-inning drama and carry Tom Glavine to his eighth win, tying Arizona's Brandon Webb for the major-league lead in that category.
The Mets squandered an opportunity to jump out to a quick lead in the second, wasting singles by Wright and Julio Franco when Willis struck out Ramon Castro and Matsui in succession. They broke through against the southpaw in the third when David Wright's ground-rule double plated Woodward. The Mets went up 2-0 in the fourth thanks to Castro's solo home run. Meanwhile Glavine was staying perfect.
In the top of the sixth with one out, Willis walked Castro on four pitches. Matsui forced out Castro at 2B for the second out, but Willis walked Glavine on four pitches. Reyes followed with an infield single that Willis couldn't make a play on, and Matsui scored when Willis' throw went into right field.
Being a baserunner in the sweltering afternoon heat in Miami might have been Glavine's undoing. Reggie Abercrombie led off the bottom of the sixth with a double to break up the perfect game, then Matt Treanor followed with a single to plate the Marlins' first run. Wes Helms pinch-hit for Willis and lined out to Nady on a shoestring catch by the Mets' RF. Glavine got Ramirez to fly out and struck out Uggla to escape further damage.
The Mets got an insurance run in the seventh when Julio Franco singled in Wright with 2 outs. Glavine got out of the seventh unscathed thanks to a nice DP by Reyes and Matsui. Beltran doubled in a pair in the eighth and Wright's fourth hit plated Wright to put the Mets up 7-1.
Willie elected to leave Glavine in the game in the eighth with a pitch count that was still below 100. He got Mike Jacobs to pop out to Matsui, but Reggie Abercrombie beat out an infield hit on a ground ball that David Wright seemed to take just an extra half-second before making the throw. Glavine came back to strike out Treanor looking for his ninth of the game. All or nothing swinger Joe Borchard took Glavine deep on a low fastball that had a little too much of the plate to make it 7-3. Hanley Ramirez got a double on a play where he should have been the third out at second, but 2B Kaz Matsui missed the tag. That was it for Glavine, rescued by Chad Bradford who got Uggla to fly out to Beltran for the third out.
The Mets squandered an opportunity to pad their lead in the ninth when they had the bases loaded, no outs, and failed to score. Heilman came in to finish it out and was immediately greeted by Miguel Cabrera's double. Cabrera moved to third on Josh Willingham's ground out, but Willie had seen enough from Heilman when he walked pinch hitter Jeremy Hermida on 4 pitches. Billy Wagner came in to face former Met Mike Jacobs, and tried to sneak a low fastball by him -- the pitch that Jacobs thrives on. Jacobs hit a line shot to RF Nady for a very loud second out, and Cabrera cost Jacobs an RBI when he failed to tag.
Reggie Abercrombie's single to right plated Cabrera and brought the tying run to the plate in the person of pinch hitter Miguel Olivo, but Wagner got him to chase sliders out of the strike zone for the final out. It wasn't a masterpiece, but it was a good win for the Mets.
Thoughts on the Game
The Mets scored 6 of their seven runs with 2 outs, and only one run came via the longball -- Castro's 1-out homer in the fourth.
Willie gave Carlos Delgado, Cliff Floyd and Paul Lo Duca all the day off. Julio Franco, Chris Woodward and Ramon Castro who replaced them all drove in runs.
I liked that Willie pulled Heilman after that 4-pitch walk in the ninth. Both Heilman and Duaner Sanchez give up a few too many walks in key spots, and that needs to stop. They've been lucky that more of them haven't scored. With a 4-run lead you make guys hit their way on, period.
I was disappointed in the pitch that Wagner made to Jacobs. It went as a hard out, but that low pitch is in Jacobs' wheelhouse. Castro saw Jacobs enough to know better. Wagner should have been throwing high cheese to Jacobs.
The Marlins are a funny team. I knew they would come back and make a run at this game because young teams on a hot streak think they have a chance every day. If you face them while they are in a losing streak they have a tendency to quit on games.
The Mets and El Duque face another kid pitcher tomorrow afternoon in the rubber game.