Mets 9, Diamondbacks 4
PHOENIX (AP)—When the New York Mets build their new ballpark, they might want to model it after Chase Field.
The Mets have won 11 straight games in the hitter-friendly home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Thursday night’s 9-4 victory topped them all. Damion Easley and David Wright each hit three-run homers in the ninth inning as the Mets extended their domination in the desert.
Aaron Heilman (2-2) earned the victory with a scoreless eighth inning.
“Nice comeback, huh?” Mets manager Willie Randolph said. “I’ll tell you what, we like it here. It’s comfortable. It’s a great hitting ballpark.”
Especially when the Mets are doing the hitting.
Arizona’s last victory over the Mets in Phoenix came on May 11, 2004. In sweeping two four-game series in 2005 and 2006, New York outscored Arizona by a combined 76-16.
But disaster struck the Diamondbacks and closer Jose Valverde (0-2) in the ninth.
And a pair of former Diamondbacks—Easley and Shawn Green—helped make it happen.
The rally began with one out and the Mets trailing 4-3. Green reached on Tony Clark’s one-out fielding error. Then Valverde walked Paul LoDuca after getting ahead 0-2.
The emotional Valverde seemed to lose his poise after the walk.
“To have a guy 0-2 and it turns out where he ends up walking, that can be a little unnerving,” Easley said.
On April 24, Easley hit a pinch-hit homer against Colorado in the 10th inning of a 2-1 Mets win in 12 innings.
Over in the dugout, Randolph sensed that Easley was about to come through for him again.
“I had a good feeling about that ‘AB,’ ” Randolph said. “The pitcher was struggling a little bit, and usually when you do that, you try to get a ball over the plate, and Damion made him pay for it.”
Easley took two balls, then drove a fastball from Valverde into the left-center-field bleachers. It was Valverde’s second blown save in 12 opportunities and his first since April 3 in Colorado.
“I try to make sure I’m real relaxed, and not make the moment any bigger than it is, because the bottom line is I’ve still got a pitch to hit and not try to do too much with it,” said Easley, who lives in nearby Glendale and spent last season with the Diamondbacks.
Valverde did not speak to reporters before leaving the park.
“He seemed fine,” said catcher Chris Snyder, who hit a two-run homer. “His fastball was live. He had his good stuff. But he walked some guys and got behind some hitters.
“You get behind a veteran guy like Easley, he’s looking for one thing, and one thing only,” Snyder said. “He got it and did what he’s supposed to do with it.”
Valverde’s meltdown cost Micah Owings his second career victory. Owings allowed three runs on five hits in six innings. He walked four and struck out five.
Owings, making his fourth major-league start, pitched on even terms with Glavine, who started his 642nd game. Glavine gave up four runs and five hits in six innings, walking none and striking out four.
“He’s been as good as any closer in the league,” Melvin said. “He just didn’t finish one out.”
Wright greeted Dustin Nippert with a three-run homer, his second.
“When good teams smell it like that, we go for it,” Randolph said.
The last time the Diamondbacks won a home game against the Mets, Bob Brenly was their manager and Brian Bruney earned the victory. … With singles in his first two at-bats, Drew snapped out of a 1-for-13 slump that included eight strikeouts. … Glavine struck out Byrnes in the sixth for his 2,503rd career strikeout, passing Christy Mathewson for 28th on the career list. … Arizona RHP Tony Pena picked Jose Reyes off first base in the seventh. … Alou, who went 2-for-2, left the game in the sixth with swelling in his left knee.