Friday, June 17, 2011
Recap : Game 69 - Mets at Braves - Heart Wrenching Loss
Diory Hernandez scored on a D.J. Carrasco balk in the bottom of the 10th inning, giving the Braves a 9-8 comeback win over the Mets in a wild finale to their three-game series.
After New York rallied and scored go-ahead runs on a wild pitch and an error in the late innings, Brooks Conrad saved the Braves in the ninth, hitting a pinch-hit, two-run blast to make it an 8-8 contest.
Hernandez doubled with two away in the 10th before moving to third on Jordan Schafer's infield single. Carrasco (0-2) then faced Jason Heyward, but flinched, and home plate umpire James Hoye called the balk to bring in Hernandez.
The Braves celebrated the win wildly, jumping up and down at home plate, though their jubilation was slightly delayed by the suddenness of the decision.
"I was like, 'Oh, ok, it's a balk' first, then 'Game over' second," Heyward said.
Carrasco said the way his team lost is hard to swallow.
"We battled the whole night, and you've got to let somebody at least hit the ball or do something else, rather than just balk in the winning run," Carrasco said. "This is going to be a tough night for me."
It was an almost fitting end to a game filled with quirky moments that also served as turning points, and prevented the Mets from completing the sweep. It also gave the Braves a much-needed win -- snapping their three-game slide -- before they start another round of interleague play Friday against Texas.
On Thursday, the unlikely became regular, and all the small twists and turns wove together to form a bizarre tapestry of a baseball game.
It was a game that the Mets' Scott Hairston tied in the fifth inning, 6-6, with a three-run blast. The reserve outfielder had all of three plate appearances in June and two homers this season prior to Thursday's contest.
Then, in the seventh, Braves reliever Jonny Venters took to the mound. The left-hander entered the game with a 0.44 earned run average, having allowed only two runs in 40 2/3 innings.
But he gave up singles to Beltran and Jason Bay before walking Ronny Paulino to load the bases with one away. With Hairston at the plate, Venters tossed a slider inside and in the dirt, and Brian McCann wasn't able to stop it. Hairston swung at the pitch for the second out, but Beltran raced home to give the Mets the lead.
New York got another run off Venters in the eighth, which Angel Pagan began by chopping a ball to third base. Chipper Jones jumped to grab the ball, but his throw to first pulled Freddie Freeman off the bag. That, in turn, caused Freeman to unintentionally trip Pagan, who tumbled over the base -- never touching it -- into the dirt.
Pagan appeared to have strained a muscle in his side, but remained in the game and later scored when Dan Uggla's relay throw on a potential double-play ball sailed into foul territory beyond first base.
Jones left the game with an adductor strain, replaced at third by Hernandez.
The Mets carried the 8-6 edge into the bottom of the ninth and turned the ball over to Francisco Rodriguez, who had converted 19 consecutive saves.
However, after Heyward singled with one out, Conrad blasted a fastball over the right-center field fence to tie the game. It was his sixth career pinch- hit homer.
McCann nearly ended the contest in the next at-bat, but his fly to center wasn't quite deep enough. Still, Scott Linebrink (3-1) tossed a scoreless top of the 10th and picked up the win after the odd conclusion.
Jones finished 3-for-4 and matched a career high with five RBI, while Schafer set a career-high with five hits -- all singles. He got his first in the opening inning before scoring on a Jones groundout, giving the Braves a 1-0 edge.
Mets shortstop Jose Reyes his hit major league-best 12th triple of the season in the third before crossing the plate on Turner's base hit to right. A Beltran double and Daniel Murphy sacrifice fly got Turner home to make it a 2-1 New York lead.
Atlanta reclaimed the lead in the third, which Schafer led off with a single before Heyward reached on an error by Reyes. Jones then took three consecutive balls from Mets starter R.A. Dickey.
Forced to throw a strike, the knuckleballer delivered an 82 m.p.h. fastball in the middle of the zone, and Jones slammed it to right for his seventh homer of the season.
Run-scoring singles by Heyward and Jones in the fourth pushed Atlanta's lead to 6-2.
Atlanta's Mike Minor began the fifth by walking Turner and Beltran, and was pulled after giving up an RBI single to Bay. Scott Proctor allowed Hairston's blast on a fastball up in the zone.
Jones is listed as day-to-day...Jones' home run was the 443rd of his career, moving him into sole possession of 35th place all-time. Dave Kingman and the still-active Vladimir Guerrero both have 442...The Braves' Tommy Hanson will not make his scheduled start Friday because of right shoulder tendinitis. Right-hander Randall Delgado will make his major league debut against the Texas Rangers...Reyes set the Mets' franchise record for fewest games needed to reach 100 hits, doing so in 66. Lance Johnson held the record after needing 72 games to reach 100 hits in 1996...The Mets fell to 28-9 when scoring four or more runs...New York went 6-4 on its road trip.
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