By Mike Steffanos
Mets 7 - Marlins 4 (11)
The Mets came from behind in the ninth inning, then rode some sloppy Marlins play in the eleventh inning to score 3 times and put a serious hurt on the post-season aspirations of the Fish. It was victory number 90 on the season for the Mets, and lowered their magic number over the Phillies to 2.
After starting the game with 3 very strong innings, Tom Glavine ran into trouble in the home fourth. Miguel Cabrera had a one out single, and came around on Josh Willingham's double. Reyes' error allowed Willingham to advance to third where he scored on a sac fly by Wes Helms.
The Mets finally broke through on Marlins starter Scott Olsen in the sixth. Olsen walked Glavine with 1 out, then Reyes' single advanced Glavine to second. A passed ball by Miguel Olivo allowed both runners to advance, and both scored on Lo Duca's double. After Beltran grounded out for the second out, Olsen intentionally walked David Wright to pitch to Julio Franco. Franco foiled the strategy with an RBI single that momentarily eluded RF Joe Borchard, but recovered in time to throw Wright out at the plate for the final out. 3-2 Mets.
As is too often the case with Glavine, the lead didn't survive an inning. A hanging changeup to Willingham with a man on resulted in a 2-run homer that put the Marlins back up 4-3. Olsen, with a little help from his fielders, made that lead stand up until Joe Borowski came in for the ninth. With 2 outs and runners on first and second, pinch hitter Carlos Delgado hit a ball that 3B Cabrera couldn't come up with that tied the game at 4.
Solid work from the bullpen, including 2 innings from Heilman, kept the game tied, and the Mets finally broke things open with the help of some sloppy Fish defense in the 11th. Jose Valentin had a 1-out double, then pinch hitter Shawn Green was hit by a pitch. Ricky Ledee hit a grounder to 2B Dan Uggla that looked like a sure double play, but Uggla misplayed it and was only able to get the force at second with Valentin advancing to third. Another by passed ball by Miguel Olivo allowed Valentin to score. Reyes hit a ball in the hole that Hanley Ramirez had no play on but to attempt to get Ledee at third. His wild throw allowed Ledee to score and Reyes to advance to second, where he scored on Lo Duca's single.
Wagner came in and allowed only yet another bloop single -- he's one unlucky little redneck -- in nailing down his 38th save of the season.
Thoughts on the game
Tom Glavine pitched well today, but he has that exasperating habit of giving a lead right back. Usually it's on a series of hits, but today it was on one bad pitch. That actually does make me feel a little better about it. Here's Glavine's updated chart:
|Total (6 Games)||37.1||18||17||36||28||9||3||4.10||1.21||4-2|
This is a better Tom Glavine than we saw during those rough two months he had. I hope he continues to tighten it up and acquits himself well in the playoffs.
The bullpen was spectacular again tonight. Mota was able to overcome Lo Duca's throwing error in the eighth that put Ramirez on third with no outs. He struck out Uggla and Willingham, then popped up Helms for the final out. The Mets aren't in a position to tie in the ninth if he doesn't do that. Heilman struck out 3 while allowing nothing in 2 innings, and Wagner -- though unlucky again -- was overpowering once more.
Miguel Olivo will never win a gold glove as a catcher.
Milledge had a nice night with 2 hits and a couple of fine catches.
The Phillies and Braves play one more tomorrow. If the Braves win -- and that could be a long shot, since they seem to have absolutely quit on the season -- the magic number will be one, and the Mets can control their own fate Friday night in Pittsburgh. The Mets will be facing 3 lefties in Pittsburgh: Paul Maholm, Tom Gorzelanny and Zach Duke. Pedro goes Friday night, followed by Orlando Hernandez and John Maine.
The Mets off-day tomorrow is the last scheduled during the regular season.