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Short and Sweet

Have the Mets ever won a game via walk-off due to a shortstop's miscue? You betcha. In fact, we've written about it twice previously

http://metswalkoffs.blogspot.com/2005/06/fatherson-walk-off-memory.html
http://metswalkoffs.blogspot.com/2005/06/win-like-flynn_21.html

Those two games represent half the number of times that the Mets have triumphed via the E6 and for the purpose of moving towards completing the set, we'll tell you about the most recent of this quartet of occurrences today.

Even though the Mets home opener wasn't a walk-off win (and the E6 only tied the game), there is a parallel to what happened Monday at Shea (and if you couldn't tell, we love historical parallels) in that the game a)took place in April and b) was against a team from Pennsylvania, but we doubt that Pirates shortstop Kevin Polocovich made any comments about his squad being a team to beat. It's a good thing because the Pirates went on to finish 69-93 and games like this didn't help matters much.

It was the third game of the season, back on April 3, 1998 and the Mets had already won once via walk-off, so they were already establishing a trend for this sort of thing. The contest began as a pitchers duel between Rick Reed and Esteban Loaiza. The Pirates scored once in the fourth, but the Mets tied it in the fifth on an RBI double by pre-Piazza catcher Tim Spehr.

The game stayed knotted till the 9th and that's when it got highly entertaining. In the top of the frame, Jose Guillen reached on a one-out single off Greg McMichael. Doug Strange followed with a double to the left field corner. Had Guillen been held at third, the Pirates would have had a nice threatening position from which to work, but alas on this occasion, Guillen was waved home. Leftfielder Bernard Gilkey dug the ball out of the corner, threw to cutoff man Rey Ordonez, whose subsequent peg home beat Guillen by an estimated 40(!) feet.

The last of the 9th began as all good rallies do, with a walk, this one to first baseman John Olerud. After a failed bunt by Carlos Baerga, the Pirates made a double switch, bringing Marc Wilkins in to pitch and Polocovich in to play shortstop. Brian McRae, typically a rally killer, walked to put runners on first and second, but Spehr whiffed for the second out.

With Ordonez up, the Mets got some good fortune with the help of a wild pitch that pushed runners to second and third. Thus, when Ordonez hit a potential inning-ending grounder to shortstop, the game came down to whether Polocovich could make the play right. He couldn't. Polocvich's throw to first was high and Ordonez dove safely for first base under the tag of first baseman Kevin Young, allowing failed bunter Carlos Baerga to score the winning run.

True Metllins know...The only walk-off E6 that we've failed to write about was made by the Padres Luis Salazar, usually a third baseman, on May 14, 1989.

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