1st and 9th And Nothing In Between

In the first and last innings the Mets managed to score 10 runs. Between those innings virtually nothing happened between their bats and the balls thrown by Pirates pitching.

And despite all that scoring it wasn't until Billy Wagner struck out Xavier Nady to finally shut the door once and for all on the evening, that the Mets could relax with another stressful victory over one of the laughingstocks of the league.

(The displeasure of listening to the FSN Pittsburgh affiliates Greg Brown and Bob Walk drone on in mournful, depressing, utterly unexciting voices as though instead of a baseball game they were broadcasting a funeral - and all this despite playing in what by all sights appears to be a beautiful stadium...)

Flawless but for the fatal first...

You could perhaps be encouraged by John Maine's performance. After two consecutive appearances involved Maine Meltdowns one could be excused for feeling uncomfortable in the 2nd inning when he looked potentially to be in the midst of another perfect storm - even Willie thought it prudent to send Rick Peterson out to the mound for a little chat.

And even in lucky number 13 victory Maine was less than impressive, especially considering the opponent. 117 pitches for 5 innings? Yes 8 Ks (again, consider the opponent) but equally, 3 walks, 5 hits, 1 hit batsman, 3 earned runs.

Why don't the Mets have a Slovak Day like the Pirates do? The Pirates run the gamut of excitement to make up for the paucity of talent - Ralph Kiner Hall of Fame coin Night last night and Styxx concert and fireworks after tomorrow night's game. Styxx? The quality of music is the quality of the home team it appears although it looks like Smashmouoth will play after a Phillies game here in a few nights...

But back to that wild 9th...

Clinging to a one-run lead having squandered their 5 run lead from the first inning and fallen silent offensively the rest of the eve, the Met rally was nearly snuffed out when Shawn Chacon gifted them a run after making a fantastic backhand, barehand spinning catch off Castillo's bat and Milledge was caught between third and home only to have Chacon throw the ball away and instead of a second out, Castillo was safe, Milledge had scored. From then their singles, doubles and runs built what was presumed to be a safe lead. So safe Aaron Sele was warming up in the pen instead of Billy Wagner.

Sele promptly loaded the bases in the bottom of the 9th with none out and the Pirate broadcasters began spinning their dreamy hallucinations of massive comeback. Of course, opponents are hitting .327 off of Sele - which says about all you need to know about Sele's season.

So instead of a laughter the Mets were forced to chew their nails again as Wagner entered the game in a save situation. Thanks to the athleticism in centerfield by Beltran, the damage didn't get worse - not immediately anyway. Wagner didn't make things easy for himself and found himself with a two-run lead with Nady to the plate as the tying run.

Nady as we know, swung at the stars and the Mets had their nerve-jangling finish.

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