On a steamy Thursday night when R.A. Dickey "didn't feel great" at Citi Field, the New York Mets staved off a disparaging series loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, winning 6-5 on David Wright's bottom-of-the-ninth, walk-off RBI single off closer Jonathan Papelbon.
Facing a 5-4 defeat, the Mets came back in their final at-bat, pulling off the exciting victory to hand Philadelphia its seventh loss in eight games.
First baseman Ike Davis led the frame off with a double to left-center, and after Ronny Cedeno came in to run for Davis, he advanced to third on Josh Thole's sac bunt. Papelbon struck Kirk Nieuwenhuis out swinging, but then pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin reached base after getting struck on his right thigh by a 96 mph fastball, and Ruben Tejada worked an eight-pitch walk to load the bases.
Daniel Murphy, down to his last strike, tied the rubber match with an RBI infield single (a grounder that ricocheted off Papelbon's foot and rolled toward the first base line), and Wright swung at Papelbon's first offering--a 95 mph four-seamer high and tight--blooping a single to shallow right that knocked in Valdespin.
Now, as great as it must feel to win in walk-off fashion against their No. 1 rival, the Mets would be wise not to look past the Chicago Cubs, whom they're hosting this weekend. They took Chicago lightly late last month, losing two of three games as a result.
The Mets need to finish out the first half of their schedule on a high note, because after the All-Star break they're scheduled to play consecutive three-game sets on the road against the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals. That six-game stretch (July 13-15, 17-19), I believe, will tell us a lot about this year's Mets.
There's a good chance that manager Terry Collins' club, at the very least, is going to be fighting for a postseason berth via the additional Wild Card slot, but the aforementioned road trip should illustrate whether the Amazin's are or aren't prepared to make a serious push for an NL East title.
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