Morning Juice: Thieves! Mets sneak off with Pirates treasure

This and every weekday a.m. during baseball season, let's rise and shine together to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts at PNC Park, where the Mets and Pirates made up a rained-out game, and New York made up for a multitude of sins with a scintillating come-from-behind (and from ahead) victory.

Game of the Day

Mets 9, Pirates 8 (10 inn.)

Mets, the meeting: Earlier in the week, the Mets seemed to be writing their own collective obituary. But ever since a team meeting in Milwaukee on Tuesday, the club appears to have grown closer and more buoyant.

Against the Bucs, the Mets came back from an early five-run deficit, and they also picked themselves up after a potentially devastating ninth-inning rally by the not-so-jolly Rogers.

"It was a roller coaster, especially the way the day started down 5-0, but it just shows you we are resilient," Ryan Church(notes) said.

OK-Rod: Francisco Rodriguez(notes) failed to save a two-run lead thanks to a tying homer by Adam LaRoche(notes) in the ninth. But after Church brought home the lead run with a single in the top of the 10th, Rodriguez lobbied Jerry Manuel for another chance to put the game away.

"He said, 'If we score, I need to go back out for myself,' " Manuel said. "When one of your players is like that, of that stature and what he means to us, I knew if we came back and he didn't go back out, he would carry that for a few days."

Rodriguez needed a career-high 46 pitches to finish the game, but he made it and the Mets head into Philadelphia with a .500 record and a chance to seize a share of first place in the NL East.

Sore-as-heck Fernando Tatis(notes), who had a monster game with a home run, three HBPs and four runs scored, has but a few hours to heal up for the Phillies.

"We could have just said, 'Let's pack up and head to Philly, it's a short flight, let's get this out of the way,' " Manuel said. "They chose to fight and I thought that was what was most impressive. We overcame a lot of things."

* * *

Feelin' Rundown (Jerry Manuel also told these teams to get their act together, or else):

Reds 3, D-backs 2 (10 inn.): Both teams put the game up for adoption, wanting to give it a good home, just not their own. The Reds stranded 16 runners and the Deebs had only four hits — just as many as Joey Votto(notes), whose last one found an opening to bring in Chris Dickerson(notes) with the winning run (VIDEO).

Astros 7, Padres 2: As Kaduk noted in an earlier post, they called in a swat team beekeeper to contain a swarm that tried to take up residence at PETCO Park in the late innings.

It's a good thing the Padres were home and not the Astros, if anyone remembers what happened in the greatest of pollination exploitation films — 1978's "The Swarm" — in which officials nuked Houston and almost took Michael Caine (Alfred from "Batman") with it. Note the Astrodome under siege by bees in the poster. It would have been terrible for history to repeat.

Braves 5, Phillies 2: The Fightins probably don't make the playoffs in '08 if they don't dominate in Atlanta — they went 9-0 at Turner Field — so getting swept there ought to make Headline News. Get it? Oh, my kingdom for Nick Charles and Fred Hickman.

Cardinals 5, Giants 2: Nobody gets less run support than Barry Zito(notes), but it's not like he's been terribly wronged by the Giants offense. He's pitching about how he did in 2007, which should be good for about a 12-14 record, which still ain't good enough for $126 million.

Cubs 9, Brewers 5: Cheeseheads, cheeseheads, roly-poly cheeseheads.

Seven RBIs on two homers for Derrek Lee(notes), whom many fans and reporters wanted ejected from first base after a sluggish start. He might actually give the Cubs a semi-worthy All-Star selection, even though he's not among the top three (five?) at his position.

Mariners 8, Yankees 4: After seven consecutive strikeouts, Russell Branyan launched one over Monument Park to give the M's a couple of insurance runs to help end the Yankees' seven-game winning streak.

Branyan — now there's a guy who really deserves an All-Star bid. Meeting at the intersection of playing time and consistency at age 33 1/2, he's seventh in the majors in OPS, regardless of position.

White Sox 4, Royals 1: Markus Buehrleus dominatus performansus.

Angels 5, Orioles 2: Two deeps for Bobby Abreu(notes) and "the best stuff" by John Lackey(notes) seen in years, Mike Scioscia said. Not what the Rangers like to hear.

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