Despite a wildly inconsistent performance from quasi-ace Zack Wheeler, the Mets battled to take a two game set from the Yankees on the road for the second consecutive year Tuesday night. In what was the Mets longest game since August 30th, 2007, the bats stayed scorching hot, as the Mets turned the table on the “Bronx Bombers”, dropping a season high 12 runs on 10 hits en route to the convincing victory.
Wheeler, who became the first Mets pitcher to walk 5+ batters in consecutive starts since Mike Pelfrey in 2009, scattered 7 hits over 4.1 innings, striking out 2 while tossing a career high 118 pitches, trumping his previous career high of 115 set in August 2013 against the Padres.
The Mets offensive attack was led by the Captain, David Wright, who raised his average to .296, going 3 for 5, while driving in 2 runs and extending his personal hit streak to 11 games. A suddenly streaking Curtis Granderson took Yankees’ starter Vidal Nuno deep for a 3-run shot in the 1st inning and Daniel Murphy, who leads the team with a .320 batting average, put an exclamation point on the rout by drilling a 3-run bomb to right off the foul pole in the 5th.
Daisuke Matsuzaka, who, along with Carlos Torres, has proven to be a huge asset in long relief, pitched 3.1 strong innings, his lone mistake being a solo home run to upstart Yankees’ prospect Yangervis Solarte. Jeurys Familia, a leading candidate to become the Mets next closer, slammed the door on the Yankees, allowing a run on one hit and two walks.
The Mets have now strung together 3 straight wins after an agonizing 5-game losing streak, climbing back to .500 on the season at 19-19. With the loss, the Yankees dropped back to .500.
Phenom RHP Rafael Montero takes center stage tomorrow as the Mets look to extend their winning streak to 4 and beat the Yankees for the 7th straight time, dating back to their 4-game sweep of their crosstown rivals last season.
The best part about these two wins has been the Mets outstanding display of character. After a thrilling back and forth win the previous night, the Mets jumped out to an early 4-0 lead last night, only to watch Wheeler quickly surrender 3 runs, cutting the lead to 1. The Mets of old might have folded and lost the game, but these Mets showed fight, rattling off 7 subsequent runs to back their embattled starter.
Should the Mets continue to see this kind of production from the middle of their lineup (5 for 13, with 5 RBIs), the 90-win benchmark set forth by GM Sandy Alderson at the beginning of the season could certainly be attained. That is a big “if”, however. For now, I’ll stick to enjoying the Mets continued success against the Yankees and take this season game by game.