By: Stache Staff

Mets upend Marlins 2-1 behind awesome Johan outing


The Mets couldn’t be feeling too good about themselves as Johan Santana was leaving the game in the seventh inning. Despite pitching spectacularly, Santana was leaving the game with a 1-0 deficit. Part of the problem was the Mets not being able to score runs against the Miami Marlins ace Josh Johnson. The other part was a shoddy relay throw that allowed Giancarlo Stanton to score on a two-out Gaby Sanchez double.

In 6.2 innings, Santana tore through the Marlins like a hot knife through butter with 11 strikeouts, two walks and only three hits allowed. It looked like only an escalating pitch count would stop him from pitching a complete game, but with two outs in the seventh, the Marlins finally broke through. Stanton ripped a single into left field, and Sanchez followed with a double off the left field wall. Mike Baxter fielded the ball well off the wall and got the it to Ruben Tejada with plenty of time to nail Stanton at the plate, but Tejada bounced the throw and Josh Thole could not gather it in on time. Stanton was safe at home and Santana’s night was done.

It had to have been pretty demoralizing for the Mets to let down Santana yet again with a lack of offense. Josh Johnson held up his end for Miami with nine strikeouts, one walk and three hits allowed in 6.2 innings. Everything seemed alright for Miami when Johnson left the game after a two-out walk to Lucas Duda in the bottom of the seventh. Lefty specialist Randy Choate came in to get Ike Davis out, but Terry Collins switched things up by subbing in the right-handed Justin Turner. Choate stayed in the game and walked Turner, then left the game for the righty Steve Cishek when Collins subbed in Scott Hairston for Baxter.

Now Miami had the righty/righty advantage, but Cishek still walked Hairston to load the bases. Miami manager Ozzie Guillen subbed in lefty Mike Dunn to take care of Josh Thole, but amazingly, Thole took the Mets fourth walk in a row to tie the game 1-1. That led to Zach Lutz getting his first major leage at-bat in a pinch hitting appearance, but Dunn struck him out to end the inning.

The Mets were back with more heroics in the eighth. With Edward Mujica now on the mound for Miami, Kirk Nieuwenhuis led off the inning by dragging a single into left field. Ruben Tejada failed on his bunt attempt, but Daniel Murphy followed with his own single to left to put runners on the corners. David Wright struck out, but Lucas Duda hit a line drive right back to Mujica that deflected off the hurler onto the infield where no fielder could reach it in time. The infield single gave the Mets a 2-1 lead and Frank Francisco got the last three outs to preserve the victory.

While tonight’s game turned into a great pitcher’s duel, it started as a story about the return of Jose Reyes to Citi Field. Although he started out receiving half cheers and half boos, by the time that Reyes took his last at-bat in the 8th inning, the tenseness of the game had turned almost all the cheers into boos. The former Mets star shortstop ended up 0 for 4 on the night.

The first Reyes at-bat of the game turned out to be the most noteworthy, but not because of the reception he received from the fans. Reyes lifted a Santana offering deep into left center field and for a moment it looked like he might on his way to a triple, but Nieuwenhuis made a fantastic leaping catch at the wall to get Santana’s night off to a positive start. It also saved Mets fans from having to watch Reyes dash around the base paths in a Miami uniform. For at least one night, that pleasure will have to wait.

Turning Point: Mets fans were down in the dumps after Santana left the game in line with another loss, but the seventh inning walk-a-thon turned things right around. When Josh Thole walked to tie the game, it felt like the Mets had turned the corner.

Game Ball: Johan Santana bounced back from his worst start of the season (and maybe his career) with his best. He was phenomenal and it was great to see the Mets win the game, even if Santana didn’t get the “win.”

Next Game: Tomorrow night at 7:10 PM the Mets play another game versus Miami. R.A. Dickey will tak the hill against Mark Beuhrle in a match-up that should result in a swiftly played ballgame.

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