By Mike Steffanos
Game 8: Mets 4 - Phillies 3 (12)
What a game. Taught, well-played, well-pitched. John Maine still wasn't at his best, walking five batters while striking out only one, yet he limited the Phillies to only one run in 6+ innings of work.
Feliciano came into the game in the seventh after Maine allowed a Pedro Feliz homer and a double to Chris Coste. He walks Jayson Werth on 5 pitches and it's looking bad, but then he makes Shane Victorino, Eric Bruntlett and Chase Utley look bad on three straight punchouts.
Now you're thinking this might just turn out to have a happy ending, and Aaron Heilman -- who was great all spring -- has another bad outing. Now with the score tied 3-3 and optimism depleted, it settles into long night.
Wagner contributes a solid inning, and Joe Smith continues his revival with a solid tenth inning, but is victimized in the eleventh by an infield hit and a misplayed bunt. Smith strikes out Eric Bruntlett -- who has had a miserable series -- trying to bunt.
Now Scott Schoeneweis comes in with 2 on, one out, and Utley and Howard due up. He falls behind Utley 2-0, and you wonder if Schoeneweis has been appointed by fate to once again be the goat. Instead, he battles back and then gets a double play.
In the bottom of the twelfth it's looking like another futile offensive frame as the first two batters go down, but then Reyes doubles into the gap. Angel Pagan drives him in on a close play at the plate. Despite everything -- the still struggling offense, the worries about Heilman and the need to use the whole bullpen again -- the Mets take this series.
For the second day in a row, we get a break from the negativity. Reyes actually had a couple of hits; Angel Pagan and Ryan Church are carrying this team offensively, and the bullpen outside of Heilman looks decent. As a team, the Mets are still not playing their best ball, but they still managed to pull off a tough win. The glass is half full.