Mets get another series opening win against Twins

New York – When they get to the dog days of August and the September stretch, the New York Mets will certainly know that winning the first game of a series was important, And it certainly looks like the Mets could have an interesting final two months of the season based on what has been happening as June nears a conclusion.

Friday evening at Citi Field, with starter Mike Pelfrey on the mound, New York improved to 16-9 in the first game of a series with their 5-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. They have won seven straight series openers, 11-2 at their home park.

But when Denard Span hit a game leadoff home run on a 0-1 pitch, the ball traveling and going over the 358 sign in left, Pelfrey made it look like it would be a struggle, from the onset for the Mets to get another opening series win.

“I stayed in there and kept trying to grind,” said Pelfrey (10-2) who got the win in six innings of work. He allowed two runs and six hits and did not walk a batter in getting his sixth win in nine starts at home.  “It was tough” said Pelfrey because that leadoff home run by Span, his third, may have been hard to overcome.

The Twins in a battle for first place with Detroit in the American League central, ahead by a half game coming in, are a tough team to retire. “That team is very good,” said Pelfrey who threw 117 pitches. “They made me work out there and fouled off a lot of pitches.”

But one thing about this Mets team is their resilient approach to come from behind. They did it again against Twins starter Kevin Slowey. They scored three runs in the fourth started by a Jose Reyes soft single, later scoring on a David Wright RBI double.

So Pelfrey had the lead, and the Mets once again played small ball and errorless baseball. Wright would also hit a solo home run in the sixth, off Slowey that gave the Mets their fifth run, his 13th of the season, and with two more runs batted in has 37 in his last 37 games.

“I’m in a good spot right now, I feel good,” said Wright who came into the game leading the National League in RBI.  “He seems very confident at the plate at this time and that’s a good sign for us,” said Mets manager Jerry Manuel about the resurgence of Wright who hit his third home run at Citi Field this season.

And it is the small ball that has the Mets also feeling confident. They remained a half game behind first place Atlanta as they play game two of the series Saturday afternoon with ace Johan Santana on the mound.

“Small ball in a big ball park” said Manuel.  He added, as was the case in this game, “We won’t give them the momentum,” meaning his team which got their 11th come from behind win of the season will stay competitive when they don’t score first.

GAME NOTES FROM THE METS:   Carlos Beltran went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk as the designated hitter with St. Lucie of the Florida State League in his second rehabilitation assignment.   Outfielder Angel Pagan, day-to-day with a muscle pull said he feels better and may be in the lineup Saturday.

“Tomorrow I am going to swing and see what happens,” commented Pagan who said that rest, treatment and exercise were a part of the regiment the past two days. Pagan has missed the last two games and is rumored to be a player in a possible trade that would bring pitcher Cliff Lee to the Mets…

Ruben Tejada a natural shortstop, and at second, for the injured Luis Castillo is playing the position well and also connecting at the plate. He extended his hitting streak to nine games with a double in the fifth inning and the streak is the second longest for a rookie in the major leagues this season.

“He is playing with confidence and I am surprised about his ability to play second base,” said Manuel about his rookie that is part of a Mets home grown infield that includes Wright at third, Reyes at short, and Ike Davis at first….

Jason Bay may once again be seeing the ball better and his ability to drive in runs makes the Mets lineup that more potent, as was expected when he was picked up in the off-season. “He’s one of those guys that when he gets hot he gets going,” said Maunel. Bay had a run scoring double in that third inning and has driven in two in the last two games….

With three more scoreless innings of relief the Mets pen has pitched 21.1 scoreless innings dating back to the eighth inning on June 17th, allowing 15 hits, walking seven and striking out 25.  Francisco Rodriguez got his 17th save though giving up two singles in the ninth. He also is having some stiffness in his back which prompted Manuel to see him on the mound

Rodriguez admitted it has been something he has been dealing with and he recently took a anti-inflammatory shot. Manuel sees no reason for concern though speculation persists that the Rodriguez failure to get through an easy inning may be attributed to the stiffness.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under American League Central, Baseball, Conclusion, David Wright, Days Of August, Dog Days Of August, First Game, Friday Evening, Home Park, Jose Reyes, Lead, Mets Team, Mike Pelfrey, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, Pitch, Pitches, Span, Straight Series, Struggle, Top Story

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on June 26, 2010

Rayburn and Ordonez Hit Homers to Help the Tigers Edge Mets, 6-5

New York – In a nail biting game at Citi Field on Thursday evening the Detroit Tigers (38-32) defeated the New York Mets (41-30) by the score of 6-5. Despite the loss the Mets were still able to take two-of-three games from one of the American League Central’s best teams.

Mets starter Hisanori Takashi (6-3) could not command the plate today in the loss going 4 innings plus four batters, the lefty gave up eight hits, six runs and four walks while also striking out four batters. Tigers’ starter Armando Galarraga (3-1) pitched well in six innings giving up five hits, four runs, and three walks and striking out one batter. Galarraga looked like he would have another no-hitter but the Mets spoiled his plans in the bottom of the fourth inning.

“The important thing for him (Takashi) is his command” Mets manager Jerry Manuel told reporters after the game. “Overall he has pitched well for us, today though it was just the walks and some hard hit balls, but overall he has pitched well for us.”

Magglio Ordonez had a great day at the plate for the Tigers going 2-for-5 and driving in three runs with two of those runs coming on a long home run to left field. Also having a good day at the plate was Ryan Rayburn who was 3-for-3 with one RBI, while hitting a homer as well.  For the Mets David Wright went 2-for-5 with one RBI, while Jason Bay and Ike Davis also contributed with an RBI each.

The Tigers plated their first run in the top of the first inning as leadoff hitter Austin Jackson worked a walk. Rayburn ripped a single to left field to set up runners on first and second for Magglio Ordonez. During Ordonez’s at bat Jackson and Rayburn would steal second and third to have runners in scoring position for the visitors. The duo of Jackson and Rayburn has now swiped 10 consecutive bags against the Mets without being caught. Ordonez could not cash in as Takahashi got him to strike out swinging. Miguel Cabrera was able to plate the first run one batter later as he lifted a sacrifice fly to center field making the score 1-0 Tigers.

Ryan Raburn would work a walk to start top of the third inning, this was when Ordonez lifted his 10th home run of the season making the score 3-0 in favor of Detroit.

The perfect game was spoilt for the Tigers in the top of the fourth inning as Jesus Feliciano picking up the first double of his career, which was hit over the left fielders reach. David Wright kept the inning alive with a single to left field. Ike Davis grounded into a 6-4-3 double play which scored the Mets first run.

Detroit would answer back in the top of the fifth inning as Raburn would strike with a home run (2) of his own to left field giving the Tigers the 4-1 lead. Back-to-back singles to left field by Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera set the stage for Brennan Boesch who worked a walk to load the bases for Brandon Inge. Mets manager Jerry Manuel then called for righty Elmer Dessens to try to stop the bleeding, but Dessens could not do so at first as he walked Inge which scored the fifth Tiger run. The relief pitcher was able to get Gerald Laird to hit a fly ball to right field before inducing the force out by Danny Worth. Even though there was an out recorded on that play, as Detroit took a 6-1 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth inning that lead would not stand as Jose Reyes worked the walk to start the inning. Jesus Feliciano singled to right field setting up runners on first and second for David Wright who ripped a double (21) to left field cutting the Tiger lead to 6-2. Ike Davis plated the second run that inning as he was able to hit a grounder to the shortstop which plated Feliciano. Jason Bay ripped a single to center field which would make the score 6-4 in favor of the Tigers.

The Mets comeback would not end there as the drama mounted in the bottom of the seventh inning relief pitcher Ramon Santiago would start by hitting Ruben Tejada with a pitch and throw a wild pitch during Chris Carter’s at bat, which moved Tejada over to second base. Carter would cash that run in with a single to right field and make the score 6-5. Tiger manager Jim Leyland would call for former Yankee reliever Phil Coke to slow down the momentum. At first it seemed as if it would not be successful as Feliciano was able to hit an infield single, but the Mets could not cash in as David Wright struck out and Ike Davis flied out to end the inning.

“One of the characteristics of the team is our ability to come back,” Manuel said. “They felt like they can come back on any given night and they kept fighting and I really liked the fight that I had seen from them tonight.”

Both the Tigers and the Mets had chances during the course of the game. The Mets had chances to get the tie and the win, as well as the Tigers having a chance to add on to their lead. In the end though both bullpens did the job of shutting down the other teams offense and the score would stand at 6-5. Pitcher Jose Valverde converted his 17th straight save opportunity tonight, which dates back to April 9, 2010.

Up next for the Mets is a three game home stand against another tough American League Central foe as the Minnesota Twins come into town. The first game on Friday features Minnesota starter Kevin Slowey (7-4, 4.58 ERA) taking on the Mets ace Mike Pelfrey (9-2, 2.69 ERA) with the first pitch slated at 7:10 p.m.

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Injury Update:  Mets catcher Rod Barajas did not start tonight with a stiff back and Angel Pagan is day-to-day with a muscle spasm.  The team has recalled catcher Josh Thole from Buffalo and optioned lefty Raul Valdes to Buffalo.

“The move was made earlier in the day,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said after the game. “We wanted to make sure that we were protected and there is a good chance that Thole will start tomorrow.” He continued by saying, “We need to protect our catchers they have been vital to our success and we need to make sure that we are protecting them.”

This story originally posted on www.latinosports.com

Posted under American League Central, Armando Galarraga, Balls, Batters, David Wright, Detroit Tigers, Homer, Homers, Jason Bay, Leadoff Hitter, Lefty, Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera, New York Mets, Rbi, Runners, Ryan Rayburn, Takashi, Three Games, Top Story, Walks

This post was written by Stacy Rae Podelski on June 25, 2010