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If Ever A Game Symbolized A Season

"And when you write the story of this game, where in the world do you begin??"
-- Al Michaels, after John Shelby caught the final out of Game 4 of the 1988 NLCS
(IE: The Mike Scioscia HR Game)

* I begin at the beginning, or at least the third batter of the game...Jayson Werth homering on the 12th pitch of his at-bat against Oliver Perez.

Baseball-Reference has pitch data dating back to 1988, and the only 12-pitch at-bat resulting in a home run against the Mets was hit by Jose Gonzalez of the Dodgers, against Wally Whitehurst, on May 21, 1990. I'm guessing not many remember that, since the score was 12-2 Mets at the time.

* I could have begun with Oliver Perez and the disgustingness that was his unfinished, 47-pitch first inning. There are no examples, dating back to 1988, of a Mets starter throwing 47+ pitches, while failing to get out of the first inning.

The closest example to be found was the grossness of a Ron Darling start in Cincinnati, on July 19, 1988, in which he allowed nine first-inning runs (five earned) and was pulled after two outs and 44 pitches.

* There's obviously a lot that could be written about former Mets pitchers returning to face the Mets, and I'm not gonna get into that now.

As far as former Mets pitchers getting RBI against the Mets, that I will note, in brief.

Pedro Martinez is the 3rd former Mets pitcher to get an RBI against them this season, joining fan favorites Mike Hampton and Braden Looper. The Mets had actually gone the previous two seasons (2007 and 2008) without allowing an RBI to a former pitcher of theirs.

I will say that if you see a pitcher get an RBI against the Mets (747 times, a pitcher has had at least one), you could probably turn off the TV. The last nine games in which the Mets have allowed an opposing pitcher to get an RBI, they've lost.

* As far as the inside-the-park home run goes...
You may have heard on TV or in print, thanks to the folks at Elias, that this was the 2nd time a Mets player led off a game with an inside-the-park home run (Charlie Neal, 1963). Let's fill in one other blank...

Angel Pagan hit the 25th inside-the-park home run in Mets history, and amazingly the 6th to come against the Phillies. The others came in 1963 (Charlie Neal), 1971 (Don Hahn), 1980 (Lee Mazzilli), 1993 (Tim Bogar) and 2000 (Timo Perez).

* Moving ahead to Pagan's second home run, it made him noteworthy, as the first Met to hit an inside-the-park and an outside-the-park home run since the afforementioned Tim Bogar, against the Phillies in 1993. Of course, we don't like to talk about that one either, since Bogar wrecked his hand sliding into home plate on his inside-the-parker (a maneuver only acceptable in 1962, 1993, or 2009).

* There's been a lot written and said about this being the 2nd game-ending unassisted triple play ever (Johnny Neun, 1927 Tigers turned the other), but I wanted to comment on the synergy of that triple play and another.

The first triple play in Shea Stadium's history took place 45 years ago this month. That game shared two things in common with this one.

- The opponent was the Phillies.
- The Phillies scored six runs in the first inning.

Other than that, we're lacking in absurdities for the other contest, an 8-1 Mets loss that featured, typical of the time, four Mets errors. The triple play came in the second inning, hit by Bobby Klaus- a line drive back to the pitcher, John Boozer, who turned the trick via 1-6-3.

* Let's end with a note on the final score, thanks to Greg Prince of Faith and Fear. If you were going to rate this the strangest of the 22 games that the Mets have lost by a 9-7 score, you'd have to rate the game of May 5, 1981 second.

That day, the Mets trailed 9-0 in the ninth inning but strung together seven runs to make the game a lot more interesting. The inning even featured the Mets hitting for the cycle- via four consecutive hitters (Brooks single, Trevino double, Flynn triple, Jorgensen home run), but just like on Sunday, the home team would come up short in the end.

The triply played Mets fan knows... In terms of the most famous triple plays the Mets have ever hit into, this one would seem to replace the one from September 30, 1962 (also contributed by Faith and Fear). In the final game of that 120-loss season, Joe Pignatano hit a triple play in his final big league at-bat. He'd have been even more distinct had he done so in the ninth inning instead of the eighth.


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