Surprisingly, it paid off—twice.
Moments after Reyes provoked the excitable reliever into his second balk of the 12th inning, Carlos Delgado hit his second homer of the game to lift the New York Mets over the San Francisco Giants 5-4 Tuesday night.
“I just tried to put some pressure on him,” Reyes said, “and it worked.”
With the ballpark still buzzing after Reyes trotted home with the tying run, Delgado’s shot gave the Mets their fourth straight win. The NL East leaders posted their 15th come-from-behind victory.
“We’re good at it,” Delgado said.
Minus Barry Bonds from the starting lineup, the Giants dropped their fourth in a row.
“That’s a tough one to lose,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
A strange one, too.
After Omar Vizquel barely beat Delgado’s throw home to put San Francisco ahead 4-3 in the top of the 12th, the Mets rallied.
Reyes drew a leadoff walk from Benitez (0-3) and moved up on a balk. It was hard to tell exactly what first base umpire Bob Davidson saw—his nickname in baseball is “Balkin’ Bob” for his frequent balk calls.
Benitez “started and stopped,” crew chief Randy Marsh said, speaking on behalf of the umpires. Countered Benitez: “I don’t think so.”
Reyes then began dancing down the third-base line. Suddenly, Benitez seemed to break his hands apart and Reyes was waved home by a couple of the umpires.
“I think he was startled by Reyes,” Marsh said. “Both balks were pretty obvious.”
Bochy wasn’t sure about the first call. The second time, he said, Benitez “did flinch.”
Benitez stalked around on the mound and, without much time to compose himself, served up Delgado’s 414th career home run. While the Mets celebrated, Benitez walked with his head down toward the bench. The former Mets reliever threw his glove as he neared the dugout.
“It’s not my problem,” Delgado said. “His job is to pitch and my job is to hit.”
Joe Smith (2-0) got the win despite giving up the go-ahead run.
Randy Winn led off the game with a home run, and it was his RBI grounder in the 12th that put the Giants ahead.
Vizquel, whose brilliant stop saved the Giants in the ninth, opened the 12th with a walk. He made it to third and Winn followed with a hard, one-hopper to Delgado. The first baseman elected to step on the bag, spun and threw home.
It was a strong peg, but Vizquel managed to slide past Lo Duca. Mets manager Willie Randolph and Lo Duca argued with Marsh—replays appeared to show the call was correct.
The lead did not last long, with Benitez blowing a save chance for the second time in 11 tries.
“I lost the game,” Benitez said.
Only twice in the entire season last year did a pitcher balk twice in an inning, with Orlando Hernandez and Runelvys Hernandez the offenders, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Davidson worked the Orlando Hernandez game.
This was the first time since Mike Jackson in 1998 that a pitcher balked twice in the ninth inning or later, Elias added.
Bonds did not start, as expected. Bochy wants to give his star more rest, and sat him down following Monday’s off-day.
The ballpark erupted in boos when the slugger with 746 career home runs walked as a pinch-hitter in the 10th. The crowd of 47,940 loudly hollered, shouted and chanted at Bonds every moment he was on the field.
Daniel Ortmeier, subbing for Bonds in left field, hit his first major league homer to make it 3-all in the seventh. Bengie Molina also homered for the Giants.
A magic-marker board in the Giants’ clubhouse with their pregame schedule also listed Lincecum, with this notation next to his name: “Bring It!”
Lincecum retired the first 11 hitters and consistently threw in mid-to-upper 90s. He gave up three hits, including a homer to Delgado, and struck out eight.
Perez also fanned eight, and walked none. He set down 14 straight batters after Molina homered in the first.
Beltran drew a two-out walk in the fourth and Delgado homered, tying it at 2.
The Mets took the lead in the sixth when Reyes led off with a single and streaked home on Beltran’s double.
While Bonds did not appear until later, the boo-birds were out early.
A man standing behind the Mets’ dugout held up a sign that taunted “Barroid” before the game began. Team security asked the man to hand over the placard, and he complied—it’s part of Major League Baseball’s plan to keep peace in the stands.
Delgado tied Darrell Evans for 40th place on the career homer list. It was Delgado’s 42nd lifetime multihomer game, and his fifth game-ending home run. … Vizquel also made a nifty barehanded grab in the fourth when a bouncer by Endy Chavez took a sideways hop.