Jul 17

Today in Mets’ History: Big rally against Braves.

The Atlanta Braves didn’t always have a stranglehold on the Mets. On this date in 1973, Rusty Staub and John Milner each hit two-run homers as the Mets scored seven runs in the ninth inning in a dramatic 8-7 comeback victory at Atlanta.

Tug McGraw started and went six innings for the Mets, with Buzz Capra getting the win.

BOX SCORE

The Mets, who would play in the World Series that year, improved to 39-50 with the victory in sixth place in the NL East.

 

 

 

Jul 04

Today in Mets’ History: A wild one in Atlanta.

This game was like one of those car wrecks you seen on the highway. A rubberneck game, because once you started watching you couldn’t take your eyes off it.

And, you watched until 3:55 in the morning. Just in time to go out for breakfast, or, if you were in Atlanta on this day in 1985, you called the police because you thought your neighborhood near Fulton County Stadium was being attacked.

GORMAN: The game he'll never forget.

In arguably one of the most fascinating games in club history, and one of the wildest of all time, the Mets outlasted the Braves, 16-13, in 19 innings, a July 4 game featuring two rain delays; Keith Hernandez hitting for the cycle; seven players getting at least nine at-bat; the Braves tying the game twice in extra innings; Mets reliever Tom Gorman working six innings; and following the game a fireworks display that prompted a flood of emergency calls to the Atlanta police.

It all began with an all-day rain that delayed the game, and another one followed that forced Davey Johnson to pull Dwight Gooden from the game and replace him with Roger McDowell.

The early part of the game was non-descript as the Mets held, then blew a 7-4 lead behind Jesse Orosco, who gave up four runs in the eighth inning.

The Mets tied the game in the ninth on Lenny Dykstra’s RBI single scored Howard Johnson, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter and singled. Johnson would go on and have the unbelievable line of going 3-for-5 with four runs scored.

Johnson homered with a man on to give the Mets a two-run lead in the 13th inning, but the Braves rallied in the bottom of the inning on Terry Harper’s two-run homer off Tom Gorman.

The game continued to crawl into the late night, and five innings later the Mets scored again on pitcher Rick Camp’s throwing error. However, with the Braves down to their final out, Camp homered to tie the game.

VIDEO OF CAMP’S HOMER

The Mets finally got to Camp with five runs in the 19th inning, on run-scoring hits from Ray Knight, Danny Heep and Wally Backman. The win went to Gorman.

Ron Darling worked the 19th to close out the game, and the fireworks began at 4:01 a.m.

BOX SCORE THAT WOULDN’T END

 

Jul 01

Today in Mets’ History: Leiter routs the Braves.

The Braves have long been the yardstick the Mets measure themselves by, but not on this day in 2000, the last season the Mets appeared in the World Series when they routed Atlanta, 9-1.

LEITER: Ace of 2000 staff.

The Mets clubbed three homers – Derek Bell, Benny Agbayani and Mike Piazza – to back the solid effort by Al Leiter, who outpitched Greg Maddux at Shea Stadium.

Agbayani and Piazza connected off Maddux, who gave up seven runs in two innings. Leiter improved to 10-1 as he gave up a run in seven innings.

With the victory, the Mets moved within one game of the Braves for first place in the National League East.

The Mets finished second to the Braves that year, but defeated San Francisco and St. Louis in the playoffs before losing to the Yankees in five games in the World Series.

BOX SCORE

 

Jun 17

Out of the ashes.

No matter how you slice a baseball season, a team figures to win 60 games and lose 60 games regardless. The remaining 42 determines the success or failure of that season.

Some losses, of course, hurt more than others and last night’s 9-8 balk-off heartbreaker in 10 innings could be one of those games if the Mets cave into the negative expectations thought of them coming out of spring training.

CARRASCO: Balks in the winning run.

However, I don’t look at sweeping the Braves in Atlanta as much a sign of progress as I do how they bounce back from last night.

It was clear R.A. Dickey was off his game and for much of the night it appeared they would simply go down at the hands of Chipper Jones – the real owner of the Mets. However, Jason Bay got a couple of hits and drove in a run and Scott Hairston tied the game with a homer.

All of a sudden, we were looking at a new Mets team, one of grit and fight. Amazingly, the Mets were going to sweep, but Francisco Rodriguez coughed up the lead, and well, you know the rest.

To lose on D.J. Carrasco’s balk was one of those things you never saw coming, yet something not surprising with how things have gone the past few years. Right, typical Mets.

OK, what next?

They could either look at last night as devastating, and now that they are below .500 again, slide into obscurity and take the summer with them. Or, they could demonstrate the resiliency they’ve shown the past three weeks and regroup.

Baseball teams aren’t often fueled by emotions as teams in football and basketball, but the Mets have an opportunity as they come home to feed off the anger and disappointment from last night and continue their building. The season is far from over, but for the Mets the season will be defined by the next six weeks.

If they stumble, management could pull the plug and begin the fire sale. In the back of our minds, that’s something we’ve anticipated all along. Even now, with Jose Reyes playing so well, half the fan base is waiting for him to be traded.

However, should they recover and play well, this team could stay intact and try to make a run at a wild card. No, there doesn’t figure to be any serious acquisitions because of the Wilpon’s legal and financial issues, but there could be enough tinkering to make this an interesting, enjoyable and unexpected summer.

 

Jun 15

Hot Gee and Reyes lead Mets tonight.

The Mets feature two of the National League’s hottest players in tonight’s game at Atlanta in Dillon Gee and Jose Reyes.

Gee is attempting to beat the Braves for the third time and become the first Mets starter since Dwight Gooden in 1988 to win his first eight starts.

GEE: Going for eighth straight win.

Gee has already beaten Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson, giving up just one run in 12.2 innings.

Despite his success, Gee is taking nothing for granted.

“There’s definitely still a lot of work to be done,’’ said Gee. “I don’t want to look into (the streak) too much. I definitely feel like I’m gaining more confidence every time out. But it’s hard work here, and I have to keep working to maintain where I’m at and gain a little better, too.’’

Also blistering is Jose Reyes, who leads the majors with a .346 average. Over the last 18 games, Reyes has sizzled with a .438 average, five triples, two homers and 12 RBI with 21 runs scored.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody sustain it the way he has for three and a half, four weeks,’’ manager Terry Collins said.