The Collapse of Everything: Mets Late Inning Waterloo in Pittsburgh Is "Toughest Outing" of the Year

Victor Zambrano did his job.

He held the Pirates to five hits and a lone run over 8 innings and left the game with a 5-1 lead and a reasonable expectation of earning his 5th win of the season.

Instead, Aaron Heilman entered the game in the 9th and loaded the bases en route to getting the first two outs of the inning. Heilman was replaced by closer Bradon Looper and instead of getting the last out of the game, following a mind-boggling 11 straight fastballs, surrendered a two-strike, two-run single to Tike Redman to make it 5-3. Still needing only one little out to give the Mets another win, Matt Lawton's fly ball to Cliff Floyd, which should have ended the game, was hideously misplayed, costing an additional two runs and tying the game.

And just like that, the game that was one strike from being in hand was going into extra innings.

"We just gave it away," Mets manager Willie Randolph explained to reporters after the game, working on his skills at pointing out the obvious. "We deserve what we got. You've got a four-run lead, you've got to close the door and we didn't get it done."

Cameron, Beltran and Floyd went down 1-2-3 in the Mets top half of the 10th and Looper, still in the game, completed his disasterous outing by allowing a game-winning single to Humberto Cota with two out after Miguel Cairo blew Mackowiak's one-out squibber to second base, initially intending to flip the ball to Jose Offerman at first. But Cairo glanced at the runner, thought he needed to hurry and instead fired an overhand throw past Offerman. When Cairo's throw hit a camera, Mackowiak was awarded second.

Looper blew his fourth save opportunity of the season and lost his fourth game of the season in what might be considered perfect synchronicity.

There's not much else you can say about this game except perhaps for the predictability of the Mets implosion.

One game on the heels of their dramatic third win in a four game series against the NL East-leading Washington Nationals, the Mets lost a game in the ugliest way imagineable as their idiotic baserunning gaffes and their slopping feeling finally caught up with them. Where the Nats were unable to take advantage, the Pirates leapt and the result was a predictable loss.

By all rights, in many ways, the Mets should have lost perhaps one or two of the other games against the Nats because of similar bad play, but instead, it was the Pirates who finally said enough is enough, you can only make so many mistakes in one game and expect a victory.


Tonight, Kaz Ishii takes his 2-7 5.50 record into Pittsburgh to try and help the Mets recover from this bone-shattering loss. He will face Dave Williams (6-6 4.37), who has lost four of five decisions at home.

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