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Mets make up for Nieuwenhuis miscue, rally to beat Giants 5-4

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Kirk Nieuwenhuis didn't exactly make up for his mistake in the top of the ninth inning.

But the New York Mets rookie center fielder watched the San Francisco Giants make a pair of their own miscues in the bottom of the inning to overshadow his misplay as the Mets squeezed out a 5-4 win in their last at-bat.

For the second straight game, a ninth inning lead was not safe between the teams, but this time the Giants erased a 4-1 deficit in the ninth. A night after watching the Mets rally in the ninth before the Giants won the game in the 10th, San Francisco used a major miscue by Nieuwenhuis to score two runs and tie the game on what could have been the game's final play.

But the Mets won it with their own rally, capped by a bobble by shortstop Emmanuel Burriss, and a throwing error by catcher Buster Posey when Nieuwenhuis grounded into a fielder's choice.

As Posey's throw on an attempted inning-ending double play sailed into right field, Ruben Tejada came home with the winning run and the Mets celebrated an ugly, topsy-turvy victory.

"It was a roller coaster," said Nieuwenhuis, who acknowledged he was "letting a little frustration out" in the tunnel in the middle of the inning. "I'm just glad we came out on top. You feel the emotions."

The Mets used a single by Lucas Duda and a one-out walk by Tejada to put runners on first and second with one out for pinch-hitter Justin Turner.

Turner then grounded a possible double play ball to Burriss at short, but he bobbled the ball when trying to throw to second, then threw to first, but Turner beat it out for an infield hit.

Nieuwenhuis, who inexplicably overran what would have been the game-ending out in center in the top of the inning, then hit a grounder to first, where Brandon Belt fired home for the second out.

Posey attempted to get Nieuwenhuis at first for an inning-ending double play, but Scott Hairston slid into him hard, and Posey's throw flew into right to end the wild game.

"It was just kind of a weird game in general," Posey said. "Kind of ended weird, as well."

The Giants catcher, who broke his leg on an ugly collision at the plate last season, argued briefly with home-plate umpire Doug Eddings as the Mets celebrated. Posey later said the slide affected his throw and he was just hoping Hairston was out of the baseline, but that it was a clean play.

"Yeah, he clipped my leg," Posey said of Hairston. "When I released it, I thought it was on line. ... (Hairston was) just going in hard. ... I was just hoping maybe he was too far up (the baseline)."

The Mets seemed in command, thanks largely to Mike Pelfrey's eight innings of six-hit, one-run ball. But in the top of the ninth, the Mets appeared set to blow the game, as they gave up a three-run lead and a shot for Pelfrey to earn his first win of the season.

Closer Frank Francisco started the ninth by allowing a single to Posey and issued a one-out walk to Nate Schierholtz, before Burriss singled in a run to make it 4-2. In came Tim Byrdak, who struck out Brandon Crawford for the second out.

It looked like Byrdak would lock up the game on a fly to shallow center by pinch-hitter Belt, but Nieuwenhuis overran the ball, before extending his glove behind him in vain. Since he didn't touch the ball, it was ruled a double, allowing the Giants to tie the game at 4-4. Former Met Angel Pagan struck out to send it to the bottom of the ninth, when the Mets came through with the game-winner..

Niewenhuis said the sun was not a factor in the play and that he simply over ran it. Tejada, who initially chased it from shortstop, said the wind affected it.

"Yeah, that happened, but you have to keep playing," Tejada said. "It's nine innings, 27 outs. ... Play hard."

The Mets had taken the 4-1 lead on a two-run double by Tejada in the seventh and an RBI single by Ike Davis in the eighth that comically eluded reliever Javier Lopez and then-shortstop Crawford.

The Mets also seemed to have gained an edge by a questionable move from Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who did not pinch-hit for starter Ryan Vogelsong in the top of the seventh. Having thrown 95 pitches, the starter struck out to end the inning with a runner on second with the score tied, 1-1.

Vogelsong tied a career-high with eight strikeouts and allowed three runs on five hits in seven innings, but gave up the two runs in the bottom of the seventh.

Bochy's decision, made the day after San Francisco used five relievers in Friday's game, might not have looked as bad later, as the Giants ended up using four relievers Saturday, with Clay Hensley taking the loss.

Pelfrey lowered his ERA to 2.29 after allowing a run in the third on a double by Pagan and a RBI single by Pablo Sandoval, and little else.

NOTES: Francisco might not be guaranteed to get the next save opportunity as manager Terry Collins did not commit after the game. He said he would speak to Francisco on Sunday. ... Nieuwenhuis moved to the leadoff spot from the bottom part of the order Saturday. Manager Terry Collins said he moved the hot-hitting left-handed batter to break up what would have been three straight lefties at the bottom of the lineup. ... Davis started the season hitting .140 entering Saturday's game and Collins would have like to take the pressure off him, but said Davis' fellow slumping sluggers didn't offer the chance to do so. "I'd move him and let him relax, but I don't have anybody else I can put in that spot either," Collins said. ... 3B David Wright remained tied with Darryl Strawberry for first on the Mets' all-time RBI list with 733. ... Giants INF Ryan Theriot was too sick to travel to meet the team Friday, as had been expected, Bochy said before Saturday's game. He was scheduled instead to arrive Saturday and could be available in an emergency, Bochy said. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval extended his hitting streak to 14 games, the second-longest to begin a season in San Francisco history, behind Willie Mays' 16-game streak in 1960, according to STATS.
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