Ender Inciarte Robbed a Yoenis Cespedes Homer and Mets Victory
There’s anothe name to add to the Braves collection of Mets killers. It started with Terry Pendleton who got his start as a Mets killer with the Cardinals. He passed the torch to Chipper Jones who passed it to Freddie Freeman. Apparently, Freeman has been tutoring Ender Inciarte.
Not only would Inciarte get the game winning RBI, he would rob a game winning home run. He stole a homer, a Mets victory, and spoiled a terrific Bartolo Colon start.
Colon had completely shut the Braves down through the first six innings. He was his usually nimble self popping off the mound on balls up the middle to make a neat defensive play. In the sixth, he caught Mallex Smith straying a little too far off second when he nabbed the Ender Inciarte comebacker. It started the routine 1-6-5 fielder’s choice.
In the seventh, Colon reached the end of the line. Anthony Recker hit a two run homer off of Colon. I’ll spare you the “He Reckered It!” line. With two outs in the inning, Colon would be chased by a Dansby Swanson single. As Colon departed, he gestured to Swanson as if to compliment him for the base knock.
However, it was Colon that deserved the praise. After Addison Reed got the Mets out if the inning, Colon’s final line was 6.2 innings, six hits, two runs, two earned, no walks, and six strikeouts. He would depart on the long side because of a pair of homers.
In the first, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two run homer off of John Gant, scoring Jose Reyes naturally, to give the Mets the 2-0 lead. That lead would grow to 3-0 on a Rene Rivera fifth inning home run. Unfortunately, those three runs weren’t enough.
Reed would come back on to pitch the eighth. The Mets defense would let him down.
Inciarte would reach as James Loney completely bungled a sure out by being a bad first baseman. It was his second bone-headed play of the night. In the sixth, Loney had failed to stretch on a Colon pickoff attempt. Colon bailed him out by starting the aforementioned fielder’s choice. There was no bailing out Loney this time.
In a controversial move, Collins removed Reed from the game to get Josh Smoker in against Freddie Freeman. It was absolutely the right move as Freeman was hitting .400/.500/.600 off Reed entering the night with two homers. Furthermore, Smoker did his job breaking Freeman’s bat thereby generating a weak blooper. Unfortunately, the ball had eyes and fell behind Cabrera.
With runners on first and second with one out, Collins went to Jeurys Familia for the five out save. It didn’t happen.
The Braves immediately took advantage of Familia’s inability to hold on base runners by executing the double steal. Rather than throw to second and nail the slow Freeman, Rivera made the mistake of trying to get the speedy Inciarte at third. Rivera’s mental error proved costly.
Matt Kemp had a terrific nine pitch at bat against Familia. He eventually lifted a fly ball to left, and Inciarte ignored the third base coach by breaking for home. It was the right move. Yoenis Cespedes didn’t get his momentum behind the throw, and his throw was up the line. Just like that tie game.
The bottom of the eight could be best described as much ado about nothing. The Braves used three pitchers, and the Mets used three pinch hitters. The Mets would load the bases in the strangest way possible.
Cespedes lead off with a double. It was a double instead of a triple. because he was posing as the ball hit off of Kemp’s close. Curtis Granderson was then intentionally walked. During T.J. Rivera‘s at bat, the Mets would return the favor with a double steal of their own. Rivera would strikeout setting up for some histrionics.
The Mets announced Kelly Johnson as the pinch hitter for Matt Reynolds. The Braves then brought in the left-handed Ian Krol. The Mets responded by bringing in Eric Campbell, who Krol intentionally walked to load the bases. Kevin Plawecki pinch hit for Loney and struck out to end the inning.
The Mets would immediately regret blowing the opportunity. The Braves would get two soft singles off Familia. Inciarte would then hit a soft grounder past Familia to score the go-ahead run.
The Mets went back to their bench with three straight pinch hitters in the bottom of the ninth against Braves closer Jim Johnson. Brandon Nimmo hit a lead off single. The next pinch hitter was Jay Bruce who struck out of course. The last of the trio was Travis d’Arnaud who worked out a walk. This set the stage for Cabrera.
Over this month, Cabrera was been willing the Mets to the Wild Card by being the best hitter in baseball over the stretch. All he could do against Johnson was to fly out. This set the stage for the Mets MVP Cespedes who looked foolish striking out against Johnson to end the game yesterday.
Cespedes launched one to deep center which looked like the game winner. Inciarte came from absolutely nowhere to jump, leap over the fence, and literally snatch away the Mets victory.
— MLB (@MLB) September 22, 2016
With that, just like old times, the Mets suffered a frustrating September sweep at the hands of the Braves.
Game Notes: Alejandro De Aza got the start over Bruce. De Aza started in center shifting Granderson to right.