17 Innings: Everything Comes Up Beltran

Lots of things to remark upon over 17 innings, a five hour 19 minute marathon most of which gets forgotten in the wee hours of the morning or as, for example, the first inning fades into the fifth which fades into the ninth and thus into the twelfth and thirteenth innings.

There were two primary game-changing moments in the latter stages; Carlos Beltran's stunning catch in the 14th inning, the twisting, spinning, stumbling uphill grab of Luke Scott's smash on Tal's Hill that would have won the game for the Astros under most any other circumstances.

"You've got to change the way you run. If you run the way you normally run, you're going to hit it and fall down. As soon as I hit the warning track I started doing kind of like high knees, and when I felt like I was on top of the hill the only thing I needed to do was look for the ball. The ball was going to the right side, and I saw it all the way."

Of course he doesn't mention that Joe Smith, making his longest outing of the season, hitting two batters and having his skin saved by the catch, had had also saved the Mets from a 12th inning jam.

Nor is the gamesmanship of Willie in the 9th revisited, when Willie countered pinch hitter Lance Berkman by replacing Heilman with Feliciano and forcing Berkman to his weaker hitting side. Feliciano struck out Berkman to end the inning and whilst it wasn't necessarily a game-turning moment, had Willie guessed wrong, that would have been the day's headline. (Or perhaps that Beltran had been hitless in his 6 at-bats leading up to the 17th...

And despite it's length the game was not suspiciously similar to Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS. 17 innings rather than 16, no championship on the line. 4 minutes, 42 seconds versus over 5 hours. Both in Houston, however and held in the Astrodome rather than this goofy ball park with it's Tal's Hill.

The pernt is however, the game ended for the Mets on a happy note and after 17 innings, exhausting the bullpen, players and the patience of the fans, it was a reward well worth waiting.

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