MLB: Minnesota Twins at New York Mets

Game recap September 17: Never say die

What Happened:

After a long and painful day, the Mets got to celebrate a franchise-record 201 home runs in a season as Curtis Granderson hit a game-tying homer in the 11th and a game-winning homer in the 12th.

Fans probably walked in to yesterday’s game a little bummed out. It was Jacob deGrom hair hat day, but the Mets announced the pitcher will probably miss the rest of the season and need surgery for inflammation in his ulnar nerve. Seth Lugo started the game reminding Mets fans how much they missed having a dominant power pitcher on the mound. He gave up several long fly outs in the first and walked multiple batters in the second. The Twins finally got a run in the fourth as Eddie Rosario homered on a changeup that didn’t drop out of the zone.

It looks like Lugo’s start was about to go off the rails after two more walks, an Ervin Santana sacrifice bunt and then three straight balls to Brian Dozier. The Mets rookie looked for an intentional walk signal with an open base at first but Collins said no, pitch to one of baseball’s top home run hitters this season. One of Lugo’s strengths in the majors has been his ability to keep executing pitches to fight out of jams and he battled back for the strikeout. Lugo wasn’t impressive, but he kept the Mets in the game and that’s all you expect out of the replacement pitchers.

The Mets have been relying on their increasingly healthy offense to carry them to a Wild Card. Yesterday it took four innings before they got their first baserunner, a Yoenis Cespedes single. Journeyman Ervin Santana had a great performance for the Twins, striking out eight over seven scoreless innings. T.J. Rivera got into scoring position twice, but Kelly Johnson and Michael Conforto were both overmatched as pinch hitters with runners in scoring position and two outs.

When Ryan Pressly came in for the eighth, the top of the Mets lineup immediately took advantage. Jose Reyes singled the first pitch up the middle, advanced on a wild pitch and got to third on a groundout. Cespedes went with a cutter and lined it to right-center for a game-tying single.

That would be all the scoring before extra innings. Jeurys Familia came in for the ninth, walked Dozier with two outs, then struck out Joe Mauer in an epic 11-pitch at-bat. Terry Collins stuck with Ty Kelly (who had pinch-run for Loney earlier) and Kevin Plawecki, making his major league first appearance since June 19 as a defensive replacement after Rene Rivera was pinch-hit for in the seventh. Neither hitter got on.

Collins turned to Hansel Robles for the 10th. After a somewhat shaky inning, Collins asked for another inning from the volatile right-hander instead of burning every pitcher with Gabriel Ynoa making his first big league start the next day. Robles tried to beat Byron Buxton up and in, but the top prospect pulled the ball down the line into the second deck.

Minnesota turned to Brandon Kintzler for the save. One pitch later, it was a blown save. Granderson turned on the pitch for his first opposite field homer of the season. Jay Bruce almost hit a game-winning homer, then T.J. Rivera, Brandon Nimmo (pinch hitting for Robles) and Matt Reynolds (double-switched in) loaded the bases for Reyes. Just like Lugo stepped in and gave the Mets a chance on the mound, it looked like a series of Triple-A callups were giving the Mets a change at the plate. But Reyes couldn’t get the clutch hit – a problem for the Mets all season – and it’s off to the 12th.

Despite September callups, it looked like both teams would quickly run out of pitchers. Collins turned to Josh Edgin to face both lefties and righties for a full inning. After Edgin survived the ordeal, Twins right-hander Michael Tonkin got two quick outs. Left-hander Ryan O’Rourke came in to get Granderson but served up a hanging breaking ball to send the Mets home happy.

What’s Next?

Gabriel Ynoa gets his first big league start as the Mets look to sweep the series. The Cardinals took Game 3 of their series against the Giants and the Mets are now tied for the top Wild Card spot with San Francisco, two games ahead of St. Louis.

Photo credit: Andy Marlin – USA Today Sports

Related Articles

Leave a comment

Use your Baseball Prospectus username