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The Daily Stache

That’s a Wrap! Mets back Hefner with Longballs in Season-Ending Win

IkeHairston

The 2012 season had to end sometime and the Mets found a nice way to put it to bed on Wednesday afternoon in Miami.

New York utilized the long ball, something they haven’t done much this season, and got another rock solid outing from Jeremy Hefner to finish the season. Hefner allowed just two runs over 7.1 innings and was backed by homers from Andres Torres, Scott Hairston and Ike Davis in a 4-2 win over the Marlins at Marlins Park.

Hefner rolled through the first five innings, allowing just two baserunners to a Marlins team that appeared to have closed up shop a day early. He did it with a lively fastball and a nasty slider that often had Miami hitters fooled.

The Mets were not so fooled by Marlins rookie starter Tom Koehler. New York got on the board in the third when Torres — who will reportedly be non-tendered by the Mets this offseason — sent a 2-0 pitch from Koehler into the second deck in right for his third homer of the year.

One inning later, New York extended that lead thanks to another bomb. This one — a two-run shot — came off the bat of free agent to be Scott Hairston and directly followed an Ike Davis double to give the Mets a 3-0 lead. The home run was Hairston’s 20th of the season, the first time Scott has reached the 20-homer plateau in his nine-year major league career.

The Mets tacked on a fourth run in the top of the sixth with their third homer of the day when Davis greeted Marlins reliever Chad Gaudin with a solo blast to left. For Ike it was home run No. 32 on the year to cap a 20-homer second half for Ike.

The Marlins got that one back quickly in the bottom half of the sixth, which Donnie Murphy led off with a double. Gorkys Hernandez followed with a one-out RBI single to put Miami on the board. After a fielder’s choice put Jose Reyes on and Reyes stole second base, Hefner flirted with danger with Giancarlo Stanton at the plate, but fooled the Marlins masher with a full count slider that he swung over to end the sixth.

The Marlins threatened again in the eighth, when they pushed across their second run against Hefner. Bryan Petersen started it with a one-out single off Hefner and a walk to Gorkys Hernandez brought Reyes to the plate as the tying run. Terry Collins went to the bullpen for Elvin Ramirez, who proceeded to allow a single to Reyes. But Petersen was held at third, unbeknownst to Hernandez, who kept on going and got caught between second and third, where he was tagged for the second out.

Still Ramirez remained ineffective and a high pitch to Stanton popped out of Kelly Shoppach’s glove and trickled to the backstop, allowing Petersen to score Miami’s second run. Ramirez went on to walk Stanton and Carlos Lee to load the bases before Collins finally pulled the plug. But the Mets avoided further damage as Manny Acosta came in and got Donovan Solano to line out softly to shortstop to end the inning. Bobby Parnell then pitched a scoreless ninth for his seventh save to put the Mets’ 50th Anniversary season to end.

The final victory gave the Mets 74 wins for the season — a mediocre total and their lowest since 2009, but plenty more than the 55-60 some mainstream media yahoos had in mind.

Game Ball: Tough call, but I’ll give it to Scott Hairston, whose home run in the fourth inning ended up being the difference today. Some of the bright spots for the Mets in 2012 are obvious. Wright was great, Dickey was the greatest and Santana’s no-hitter is the highlight, but Hairston’s breakout season belongs on the short list.

Random Stache Moment: Justin Turner, who replaced David Wright at third base in the fifth, tripled in the seventh. Turner crushed a Dan Jennings pitch to deep center and though cavernous Marlins Park held it from going out, it caromed of the lime green wall in left-center, away from centerfielder Gorkys Hernandez. By the time the ball was retrieved, Turner stood at third base with his first career triple.

Turning Point: Manny Acosta saved the day, who would have thought that the case in April? After pitching to an 11.86 ERA with 33 runs allowed in 19 innings over the first two months of the season, Acosta righted himself over a few months in Buffalo and was often times dominant out of the pen in the second half. Today’s finish — getting out a bases loaded two-out jam of someone else’s doing — was the icing on the cake.

Next Up: The offseason! The Mets season has ended, but the coming hot stove season promises to be filled with plenty of intrigue for Mets fans. Will R.A. Dickey get the Cy Young award he so deserves? Will Wright’s glove be golden again? Have we seen the last of either or both players in a Mets uniform? What will the front office do about the team’s weakest link, the outfield? How about the bullpen? Stick with the Stache all offseason for the answers to all those questions and then some. LGM!


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