Mets 8, Diamondbacks 7
Four times this season, the third baseman has had game-ending RBIs for New York. The latest came Monday night when his bases-loaded single completed a ninth-inning rally in an 8-7 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“The big thing is to relax,” Wright said. “Don’t get caught up in the moment. You have to want to be up there with the game on the line.”
There is no one the Mets would prefer in that situation these days. Wright leads the team in hitting at .332 and has an uncanny knack for being in the middle of rallies. His youth is a non-factor with manager Willie Randolph.
“It doesn’t matter,” Randolph said. “He’s been our leader.”
The Mets pulled the game out in the bottom of the ninth against Arizona closer Jose Valverde (2-3) who was also stung for a two-run walkoff homer when the Diamondbacks lost in Cincinnati on Sunday.
Endy Chavez, who came into the game in a double switch at the start of the ninth, opened the inning with a double and dashed home on a single by Jose Reyes to tie the game. Reyes had failed to sacrifice twice before delivering the hit.
“I was angry with myself (for failing to sacrifice), Reyes said. “Now I’ve got to put the ball in the right place.” He did, chasing Chavez home to tie the score.
With the infield in, Wright ripped a shot over the head of Eric Byrnes, scoring the winning run. He was credited with a single.
“When Delgado struck out, I wasn’t paying attention, because nine times out of 10, he comes through,” Wright said. “On deck, I was think about who to rush out to congratulate.”
Turns out the Mets rushed out to congratulate him.
Duaner Sanchez (2-0) pitched the ninth for the victory.
Chad Tracy hit a three-run homer off reliever Aaron Heilman in the seventh inning to put the Diamondbacks in front. Byrnes had a pair of home runs for the Diamondbacks, who lost their second straight after a five-game winning streak.
Heilman relieved for New York and walked pinch-hitter Jeff DaVanon leading off the seventh. DaVanon stole second and moved to third on a single by Craig Counsell. After Byrnes took a called third strike, Tracy followed with his ninth home run of the season, a 400-foot shot over the right-field fence on an 0-2 pitch.
“We put ourselves in position to win,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “It didn’t work out. It was a great game. It ended in the wrong direction.”
Melvin was concerned with Valverde, who has suffered ninth-inning meltdowns in two straight games.
“The last four times, he’s struggled,” the manager said. “He’s a guy who’s been good for us, real good for us.”
Floyd opened the sixth inning with his sixth homer, giving the Mets the lead. One out later, Valentin, who drove in three runs, hit his third homer of the season. Both homers came against Arizona starter Claudio Vargas.
Byrnes had tied the score at 4-4 for the Diamondbacks in the fifth with his second home run of the game against Mets starter Steve Trachsel. Byrnes gave the Diamondbacks the lead in the first inning when he hit his seventh home run of the season.
The Mets came back in the second against Vargas.
New York loaded the bases with none out on walks to Wright and Xavier Nady sandwiched around a double by Floyd. Valentin drove in two runs with a single and Reyes delivered another run on an infield out. Lo Duca followed with his second double of the game, making it 4-1.
In the fourth, Conor Jackson’s leadoff pop fly fell for a single and he went to third on a double by Shawn Green. Johnny Estrada and Orlando Hudson then delivered sacrifice flies, cutting the Mets lead to 4-3.
Byrnes tied it an inning later, hitting Trachsel’s first pitch deep into the left field bleachers. It was the fourth multihomer game of Byrnes’ career.
The start of the game was delayed 39 minutes by rain and play was delayed again for 51 minutes after the second inning. … Lo Duca’s four hits and extended his hitting streak to 13 games, longest for the Mets this season. … Byrnes’ last multihomer game came July 30, 2004 with Oakland.