The team that plays with no sense of urgency played like it was the 7th game of the World Series. The team that never gets a clutch hit had timely hit afer timely hit. The team with a shaky bullpen provided mostly shutdown relief. The team that packs it in when they are down displayed a never say die attitude. The team that is lazy ran hard, fought hard and came away with their best victory of 2008.
As Keith Hernandez reiterated throughout the broadcast, this was a game the Mets had to win. A loss and they would have been 6.5 games out of first place and the heat would still be firmly on Willie Randolph. With a win, they are now a more managable 4.5 games out with some momentum.
Unbelievely, this was the first game the Mets have won all year when losing after 7 innings. Endy Chavez, a key cog in 2006 and 2007 who had been mostly a non-factor this year, provided the biggest hit of the year with a pinch-hit homerun in the 9th inning. It was the kind of hit that can change the course of a season if the Mets can build on it.
The game was filled with positives.
As the monkeys predicted, Aaron Heilman continues to pitch better with 2 outstanding innings striking out 4. Duaner Sanchez, even though he gave up a go-ahead homer showed some toughness by getting a bunt down after being knocked down by pitch. Sanchez also hustled down to first and almost got a hit (Did you see that Carlos Delgado and Luis Castillo?). Scott Schoenweiss is having the quiet great season that Pedro Feliciano has consistently provided this team. Nice inning of work by Billy Wagner as well.
Jose Reyes continued his hot hitting with a homerun and a double. Luis Castillo provided some surprising power. Carlos Beltran expertly executed a hit and run in the 12th that set up the heroics. And of course Fernando Tatis provided the game winning double.
The Manager ... Yes, the Manager
Willie Randolph made the right decision sticking with yesterday's lineup and not caving in and playing Delgado tonight. He was right in continuing to go to Aaron Heilman because the Mets will need Aaron to perform in order for them to win. He was right to call for a hit and run with Carlos Beltran. And he was right to pinch hit Endy for Ramon Castro even though the monkeys initially wondered why he was pinch hitting for a bigger homerun threat.
All this and Pedro had a very successful rehab start pitching 6 innings and giving up just 2 runs in Pt. St. Lucie.
The monkeys salute Mr. Tatis who is making some noise in his major league comeback.