Friday, August 29, 2003

Game 132 - Mets

Mets 3, Braves 1
Record: 59-73

Al Leiter & Jose Reyes. Two peas in a pod, except that one's 37 & the other's 20, one's from N.J. & the other's from D.R., one's a lefty pitcher & the other's a righty shortstop, one makes 8 million & the other makes . . . less. Leiter told Reyes he wouldn't need much, Reyes told Leiter he'd give him more than enough. Leiter threw seven shutout innings, Reyes hit a solo shot from the right side of the plate in the 5th and a two-run shot from the left in the 9th. Finally, a win without the "agonizing 9th-inning drama," right? It is to laugh.

David Weathers had pitched a routine 8th. Well, routine for him, since the first batter reached, which is kind of his signature thing. But then a crisp DP from Reyes to Tony Clark erased the runner, and Weathers fanned old foe Mike "Dr. Johnny Fever" Hessman. Weathers returned for the 9th, and he walked the first batter (natch!). A grounder to short netted only a fielder's choice, which was good, but no DP? Greedy, Mr. Lester. Be happy with the one out, you silly sot. For the next batter was Marcus Giles, who delivered a tailor-made grounder to Reyes, who flipped it to 2nd baseman Marco Scutaro, who, in turn . . . missed it. Just missed the thing, as it dinked off his glove and went into right field. First and third, one out, tying run at the plate in the form of . . . Gary Sheffield! Well, they wouldn't have wanted to just end it on the prior play and deny the 1100 faithful Braves fans in attendance the chance to see this. [At this point, a classic battle was taking place inside me. No, not the usual ones of pepperoni vs. Tums or Budweiser vs. balance. It was instinct (hollering, cussing, kicking the air) vs. self-control (keeping the infant in my arms sleeping semi-peacefully). Self-control prevailed. For the moment.]

Skip Caray would late refer to the ensuing play as "the absolute best you could hope for with Sheffield at the plate." Despite swinging for somewhere in Buckhead, Sheffield tapped one right to David Weathers. The big pitcher made a great play to snag the baseball, then turned and spastically fired it into the grass about two feet short of Marco Scutaro. The short-hop might have been snagged by a better infielder, say White Sox 2B Roberto Alomar or Mariners SS Rey Sanchez, or maybe even Mets SS Jose Reyes, who was standing right behind Scutaro. But it was a lousy throw and Scutaro missed it again, knocking the ball so far away that when Giles came barreling through the play and overslid by a foot or two, they couldn't recover the ball and tag him out. Now 3-1 with one out and nemesis Chipper Jones representing winning run at the plate -- and having completely squandered two beautiful game-ending opportunities in a row -- self-control went the way of . . . any ball thrown to Scutaro. Trying to calm the baby back to sleep delayed my plans for punting the television just long enough for Chipper to hit a floofy little pop to third and Andruw Jones to ground out on a sharp, accurate throw from Ty Wigginton to Tony Clark. Phew. Another annoying victory.

As prefaced before the series, beating the Braves won't really mean anything in the standings, but it's always nice. And taking two of three in Atlanta was just that. Nice.

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