In Game One of a day-night double header at Citi Field the New York Mets (75-82) came back to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies (98-59) in Saturday afternoon baseball. The Mets rallied for a victory for their second consecutive game, scoring a run in both the seventh and eighth to win 2-1.
Mets manager Terry Collins had this to say of the improved play of his club and playing a better brand of baseball, “It is-obviously I haven’t seen a situation like this where in September you are scrambling for players. This is where the energy level has to pick up, and this is where having a guy like Jose Reyes helps. Having the younger guys out there helps as well, as they are playing for spots-they know people are watching. Hopefully we can finish this out the way we want too, and have some fun at the same time.”
All this to back the effort of starter R.A. Dickey, who was making his last appearance as a starting pitcher for the Mets Skipper Terry Collins told the members of the media prior to the game that he is planning to use both R.A. and Sunday’s starter Mike Pelfrey as options in the bullpen.
“I had a good knuckle ball today, I thought I had a chance (on making history-pitching a no hitter/perfect game) and I don’t say that too often. I was able to change the speed very well today and I was able to continue to take spin off of it. Sometimes when you change speed you’ll have parts that have no spin on it-but today I was able to reduce the spin, mix it up and keep them off balance.”
Helping R.A. in his 12th straight quality start was an ESPN-esque Web Gem by Nick Evans in the top of the sixth inning, as the utility player robbed Jimmy Rollins of a hit. Evans had to backtrack quickly, and was able to make a rolling grab of a ball that was ripped by Rollins.
“I had no idea, I just prayed. No one wants to be the guy that gives up the hit in the no hitter.” Evans said. “I was hoping after that. I just ran back as fast as I could and the next thing I knew the ball was there. It was just one of those things I was in the right place at the right time.
On the possibility of preserving the no hitter Evans said: “You never know, but you always hope. As long as it is intact you still want to take the shot.”
It seemed as if the Phillies were going to cruise to their 99th win this season, until a Valentino Pascucci pinch-hit homer (1) tied the game 1-1. For Pascucci his drive in the seventh was the eight pinch-hit homer by the Mets this season, which ties for the third most in club history with the 1991 team.
It was Val’s first homer since October 2, 2004, as a member of the Montréal Expos vs. Al Leiter and the Mets at Shea Stadium. The bomb was also the slugger’s first career pinch-hit homer.
Val had this to say on the homer, “It’s been about seven years-it was a great feeling to go out there and be aggressive and good things happen. It was great for me to be able to contribute in that big spot. R.A. threw a great game today and was keeping us in the game today, as was Hamels. They ended up taking the lead and it was time for T.C. to put me in the game to do what it was-go out and get that one big swing, get that homer and thankfully today I was able to do that.”
New York got the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh, as David Wright laced an RBI double (23) in the bottom of the seventh-which gave New York the 2-1 victory. Ruben Tejada was a vital part of the game-winning run, as the Mets second baseman began that seventh inning with a single. Tejada proceeded to steal (5) second to get himself in scoring position for Wright.
“As he (Tejada) continues to play up here and gather that experience he is going to be more aggressive on the bases,” Collins said of the big stolen base. “That just goes to show you how mature he is because most guys don’t even like to run in that situation-he got a good jump and he stole a big base.”
Bay watch: Outfielder Jason Bay started the game, but left in the third inning with continued symptoms from his illness
Game Two is slated for 7:10 p.m. and will feature rookie-sensation Dillon Gee (12-6, 4.48 ERA) taking on Joe Blanton (1-2, 5.20 ERA).
Written on September 24, 2011 for the Examiner.com site seen here: