By Mike Steffanos
Game 3: Mets 13 - Marlins 0
Ryan Church, who spent the whole spring making Mets fans wonder what Omar was thinking, is starting to look comfortable at the plate. Church hit the Mets first homer of the year off a left-hander, one of 3 hits on the night for the Mets new right fielder. David Wright also blasted his first of the year, and Carlos Beltran had his first homer downgraded to a double by the strange decision of the men in blue. It all added up to a baker's dozen of runs for the offense in support of a very nice season debut for Oliver Perez, helping the Mets to a win on day one of Life Without Pedro 2008.
Wright also contributed a pair of defensive gems, robbing Josh Willingham both times. In the sixth he made a diving stop of a ball seemed destined for a double down the line, just beating Willingham at first with the throw. In the ninth he made a fine play charging a softly hit ground ball, again nipping Willingham at first for the final out of a convincing win.
Perez was masterful, holding the Fish at bay until the Mets offense blew the game open with a 5-run sixth. The Marlins only threatened once against him, a two-on, two-out threat thwarted when Perez struck out Hanley Ramirez on a slider.
About the only thing that didn't go right tonight was on the ball that Beltran hit which bounced off the railing past the fence in RF. 2B ump Rick Reed originally made the correct call of HR, but then allowed his call to be overturned by one of those interminable umpire conferences. What hurt worse was that Beltran was stranded on second with the Mets up 5-0 -- hardly an insurmountable lead. It became moot when the Mets scored 5 the next frame, but it was still a bizarre and obviously incorrect decision by the boys in blue.
After an off day tomorrow the Mets will play 3 in Atlanta, where they're likely to see much better starting pitching and hopefully better umpiring.