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Caught-Off Guard

Like the Mets, I can read the writing on the wall...(pardon the pun, fans of Dwight Gooden's signature)

The readers have spoken (well, not really), so I have some more information to share regarding Saturday's win.

Thanks to the help of David Smith of Retrosheet, I can tell you that it was the 8th "Caught-Off" win in Mets history. A Caught-Off is hereby defined as a Mets win that ends with a runner caught stealing. Here's his list of dates, and a few details...

07-06-1968 NYN at PHI CS2(26)
I'm not sure why Phillies slugger Dick Allen was trying to steal second base with his team down 11-6 with two outs in the 9th, but Jerry Grote threw him out for a rather odd ending to a game in which the Mets managed their biggest offensive output of the season. Second baseman Phil Linz was the offensive star, raising his batting average from .188 to .231 with a 5-hit game.


05-03-1970(2) NYN at SDN K+CS2(24)/DP
Cito Gaston beat the Mets in the opener of a doubleheader with a walk-off hit, but the Mets narrowly pulled out the second game. Joe Foy's 7th-inning double provided the go-ahead margin in a 3-2 victory, a game that ended with Tug McGraw striking out Ollie Brown and catcher Duffy Dyer pegging out Jose Arcia (3-for-9 in steal attempts) trying to steal second to end the game.

09-19-1976 PIT at NYN CS2(26)
A nifty rally for the spoiling Mets, who hurt the Pirates postseason hopes (they'd lose out the division to the Phillies) with this win. The Mets trailed, 6-2, but won, 7-6, thanks to a pair of homers from Dave Kingman, a game-tying homer from John Stearns, and a sixth-inning single by Lee Mazzilli. Pinch-runner Miguel Dilone, who would steal as many as 61 bases in a season, was nailed by Stearns to end the game.

05-15-1984 NYN at SFN CS2(26)
A fun game here, as the Mets battled from 5-0 down to prevail, 7-6 in 11 innings on Keith Hernandez's sacrifice fly (Walk-Offs favorite Ross Jones scored the winning run). Ron Darling may also remember this one, since he started the game, but it was Doug Sisk who got the save and Joe Pittman who was thrown out stealing by Mike Fitzgerald for this contest's conclusion.

05-06-1989 HOU at NYN CS2(26)
Kevin Bass was denied the chance to exact a little revenge on the Mets, as Terry Puhl was caught stealing by Gary Carter with the Astros down 2-1 with two outs in the ninth. David Cone gave the Mets a typical effort in this complete game effort, in which the scoring came on Howard Johnson's two-run home run.

07-30-2006 NYN at ATL K+CS2(24)/DP
A beautiful way to complete a sweep of a 3-game series in Atlanta was this Marcus Giles/Willy Aybar strikeout/throw-out double play in a 10-6 caught-off win. Tom Glavine was spotted a 7-0 lead, but since pitching against the Braves was never his forte, he couldn't last long enough to get the win. The bullpen bailed him out with five good innings, and the Carlos's combined for six hits and eight RBI, with Msr. Beltran providing a grand slam.

09-09-2006 LAN at NYN K+CS2(24)/DP
David Wright came up clutch in this one, with a go-ahead two-run single in the sixth inning of this eventual playoff preview, and 3-2 Mets win. Olmedo Saenz struck out, and oft-forgotten 2006 Met Kelly Stinnett played the role of caught-off hero, throwing out Jason Repko to finish things.
04-18-2009 MIL at NYN K+CS2(24)/DP
The one you just saw...pretty neat since it capped a 1-0 win. Worth noting that over the previous four seasons, opposing baserunners were 24-for-26 trying to steal against K-Rod (including 8-for-8 in '08), who also was on the mound for a key caught stealing during the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Those truly caught-off guard Mets fans know...The Mets have 7 caught-off losses...dates and scoring codes listed below. We don't care to summarize them, other than to say that the defeats of 1970 and 1987 are pretty painful.

David Smith tells us that the Mets have an unusual knack for caught-offs. As he explained:

"Since 1954, there have been 174 games that ended with a caught stealing, out of 107,160 games played in that time. So for the Mets to be involved in 15 of them is more than would be expected by random distribution."

09-25-1970 NYN at PIT K+CS3(25)/DP
08-25-1973 SFN at NYN K+CS2(24)/DP
04-19-1981(1) MON at NYN K+CS2(24)/DP
09-18-1987 NYN at PIT K+CS2(26)/DP
04-15-1988 SLN at NYN K+CS2(24)/DP
06-09-1991 NYN at HOU K+CS2(26)/DP
06-27-1994 SLN at NYN K+CS2(24)/DP

By the way: our newly-updated Mets Walk-Offs Dictionary can be found here:
http://www.metswalkoffs.com/2008/04/official-mets-walk-offs-dictionary.html

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Cliff Notes

Alright, so it's 2 days later and the challenge for me now, after reading through about a dozen game stories and listening to talk radio, is to provide a fresh perspective on walk-off #324. If you're going to be a serious reader of this blog, you know what happened already, so let's look at what made this particular walk-off stand out. It would seem that the place to start is with the idea that everything broke just right on both sides of the ball. Particularly, I'm talking about Carlos Beltran's catch in the 7th inning, where he went over the center field fence to rob Jose Molina of a home run. Every no-hitter seems to have one defensive gem that makes it possible and perhaps that's true of great walk-off moments as well (We'll be looking into that!) Marlon Anderson's home run required a remarkable combination of events. It was only the sixth inside-the-park home run at Shea Stadium by a Met and the first since Darryl Strawberry in 1989. It required t