The Mets might as well put the champagne on ice, because this baby is over. The Mets won’t say it, they kept talking about tomorrow, but it is hard to imagine them blowing this now.
In a game the Washington Nationals had to win, they blew a six-run lead as the Mets scored six runs after two were out in the seventh inning as eight straight hitters reached base. The Mets have been a comeback team all year, but tonight they took it to another level.
NIEUWENHUIS: Unloads clutch homer. (AP)
Only teams that have destiny smiling upon them does stuff like this. Four times this season they rallied from five or more runs to win.
It was a season-high six-run hole they climbed out of tonight in the 8-7 victory over the team that bullied them the past few years. They have come from behind in the first two games of this series.
“I thought yesterday was pretty good,” David Wright said. “This was amazing. It goes back to the term resiliency. We truly believe we’re in every game. After tonight, we believe it even more.”
“I’m not sure I’ve ever been involved in a bigger win than this,” manager Terry Collins said after the game. “There’s no sense of panic with this team. … To come in here and do what they did tonight was huge.”
I wonder what the over/under was on the times “huge” was said after the game.
When Kirk Nieuwenhuis crushed a pinch-hit homer in the eighth off Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon for the game winner, long forgotten was Matt Harvey‘s disappointing start in which he gave up seven runs. The camera flashed on Harvey several times that inning, and you couldn’t help but wonder what was going through his mind.
He supplied the answer.
“I was frustrated with my start,” Harvey said. “But, it was awesome to see. This was huge for us.”
The game began with a cloud over the Mets pertaining to Harvey’s innings, and that scenario couldn’t be ignored as the Nationals slapped him around. Now, with the Mets’ lead back up to six games with 24 remaining, Harvey’s innings might now be a moot point because they can afford to skip him several times without worrying about coughing up their lead.
“But, we have to keep him sharp,” Collins said, adding he thought Harvey tried to do too much early, “to show everybody who he is.”
Harvey said, “I left too many many pitches out over the plate,” then said what he should have said the other day in Florida.
“I don’t know,” Harvey said when asked when he’ll pitch again. “I’ll be ready whenever they decide to pitch me.”
Collins likes to say Harvey is human, but he is leading a charmed life. It was his muff on a bunt play that seemingly opened the door for the Nationals to blow it open, 7-1, in the sixth.
“He went out there with a lot hanging over him,” Collins said. “I’m proud of him.”
The Mets are also leading a charmed life.
They got Lucas Duda back and he contributed a bases-loaded walk to tie the game. Then, in the ninth he pounced on a bunt to nail Jayson Werth at second. There was so much more on this night. Wright homered. Yoenis Cespedes made a critical error that allowed three runs to score, but he got them back with a three-run double. Cespedes is a game changer, and the Mets need to sign him.
There was more. Nieuwenhuis homered and he isn’t even supposed to be here as the Mets released him earlier this year. Wilmer Flores, whom the Mets unsuccessfully tried to trade in late July, drove in the first run in the wild seventh.
The bullpen, all of a sudden, is menacing with 9.1 scoreless innings in this series with 15 strikeouts and just two walks. Addison Reed might be the seventh-inning answer as he struck out two, including Bryce Harper. Tyler Clippard, dealt by the Nationals, blew away is former team in the eighth, and Jeurys Familia earned his 38th save.
The game started miserably for the Mets, but couldn’t have ended any sweeter. Champagne sweet, if you will.