3.8.05

Mets Rally Thrice To Top Brewers in 11, 9-8

After a decidedly uneventful July which the Mets carried on in typical 2005 Met fashion by neither winning too little nor losing too much in going 14-13, and after making no barrier-shattering trades despite visions of Manny Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano dancing in their heads, the Mets began August with a flurry, finally putting down the Milwaukee Brewers in the 11th inning, 9-8.

What was enticing about this victory was not the way they were trailing the Brewers by four runs after a mere two innings but the way they fought back, tying the game in the 7th inning, tying the game again in the 9th inning and finally winning it in the 11th. It was the kind of victory emblematic of the heart the team has displayed time and again this season wherein just as you are about to toss the last shovel-full on their graves, they push themselves back up and surprise you.

Boo! The Mets aren't dead just yet.

Victor Zambrano allowed 4 homeruns to the first 8 batters he faced, a different nuance to his myriad of problems this season and his 6 earned runs allowed in a mere 1 1/3 innings of work saw his ERA leapfrog to 4.19 on the season, a bad outing even compared to the fatiguing inefficiency of the early-season Zambrano.

But rather than folding up tents at a 6-2 deficit after only two innings, the Mets bided their time, aided in part by Heilman and Padilla's solid performances in relief of Zambrano that kept the game close, and finally rallied to tie the game with three runs in the bottom of the 7th.

Even after the Brewers regained the lead with a Geoff Jenkins homerun off the normally solid Roberto Hernandez in the 9th, the Mets didn't fold.

Instead, Mike Cameron returned the favour by homering off Derrick Turnbow in the bottom of the 9th to send the game into extra frames. It was Turnbow's first blown save in 15 outings. Mike Cameron, the man who spent the last few weeks in a cesspool of uncertainty as his name was bantered about in a number of trades and must have felt as though no one really wanted him anymore.

And if that weren't enough, Cameron got his chance again in the bottom of the 11th and singled to follow David Wright's single get the game-winning rally fueled and put men on first and third before Mientkiewicz was intentionally walked (with his .238 batting average) to load the bases and allow Mike Piazza, one batter later, a chance to finish them off. Piazza was the last man left on the bench.

(For the night, Cameron was 4 for 6 with two RBIs and a runs scored - this is the same kind of adrenaline a player usually gets from being traded, you know, the first week of a trade, the player often plays above expectation - and perhaps here the opposite factor is at work - relieved instead NOT to have been traded, the adrenaline is hard at work for Cameron)

In any event, four straight balls to Piazza later and Wright walked home and the Mets had a well nourished 9-8 exciting extra inning victory which proved alot about their character and continued to fan the flames of hope which have flickered and almost gone out so many times already this season.

*****

Tonight Pedro (12-3) faces Victor Santos (3-11) in a game which should be a bit of a foregone conclusion and allow the Mets a third straight victory.

Losses by the Nats, Marlins and Phillies mean that although the Mets are still in last place 7 1/2 games behind the Braves, they are only two games from Washington's second place spot. Perhaps more importantly, they are only four games behind the Houston Astros for the wildcard spot and all still seems possible at this point.

Carlos Beltran went 0 for 6 and grounded and lined out into double plays.

Archie Bunker's Army apologises for taking yet another holiday and for all those millions who have written in complaining of the lack of coverage in July to due holidays in the Western Highlands and in Italy. The holiday season is over as full concentration can now be paid to the Mets as they will move on to capture this season's NL Wildcard. Every single step shall be recorded.

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