It Wasn’t Easy, But It Was a Grandy Win
It doesn’t matter that the Twins are one if the worst teams in baseball. When you’re fighting for a postseason spot, the games are going to be tough. Tonight, the Twins showed a lot of fight. It certainly helped them that they were sending their ace, Ervin Santana, to the mound.
And you know with him being a former Brave, he’s pitches well against the Mets. That’s exactly what happened tonight.
The Mets did absolutely nothing against Santana for the first four innings. T.J. Rivera got things started with a single, and he moved to second on a balk. Because Paul Molitor apparently had no idea James Loney isn’t good, he ordered an intentional walk. It wouldn’t burn the Twins. First, Rene Rivera struck out. Then, Terry Collins gambled a bit pinch hitting Kelly Johnson for the starter Seth Lugo. Johnson popped out to end the inning.
It also closed the door on Lugo. It was the typical bend but don’t break Lugo outing where he found an extra gear on his fastball and three more curves when he was in trouble. The only run the Twins were able to score off of him was an Eddie Rosaro solo homer in the fourth.
Lugo’s final line would be five innings, four hits, one run, one earned, four walks, and two strikeouts.
The Mets had a chance to get Lugo off the hook in the seventh. T.J. got the rally sterted with a cue shot double down the first baseline followed by another inexplicable intentional walk to Loney. Alejandro De Aza pinch hit for Rene and walked to load the bases. Terry Collins then made two strange decisions.
The second, but most puzzling, was his waiting for a pitch to be thrown before having Ty Kelly pinch run for Loney. The other curious decision was going to Michael Conforto to pinch hit. It was strange because Conforto has been idle for too long and because he’s been uncomfortable pinch hitting. Furthermore, the Mets activated Lucas Duda just for spots like this. Collins went with Conforto, who had a bad at bat striking out on four pitches.
The bad news was the Mets missed out on another huge scoring opportunity. The good news was Santana was done for the night.
Jose Reyes gave a rude welcome to Twins reliever Ryan Pressly by hitting the first pitch by Pressly for a single. Reyes would quickly find himself on second after a wild pitch and an Asdrubal Cabrera groundout. With the game on the line, Yoenis Cespedes was at the plate with a 3-2 count, and he would lunge at a ball off the plate:
Of course, he came through in that spot tying the game at one. Molitor went to his left in the pen Taylor Rogers. Rogers would make quick work of the two lefties Collins was so nice to stack in the middle of the lineup, Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce. By the way, Bruce, the man Collins has the utmost confidence, was 0-5 with a strikeout.
The game would go into extras as:
The trifecta of T.J. Rivera, Ty Kelly and Kevin Plawecki were not able to drive in a run in the bottom of the ninth. I'll pause for gasps.
— Laura Albanese (@AlbaneseLaura) September 18, 2016
Lost with the Mets practically emptying their bench was terrific work out of the bullpen. Josh Smoker, Fernando Salas, Jerry Blevins, Addison Reed, Jeurys Familia, and Hansel Robles combined to pitch five shutout innings allowing only three hits and one walk with striking out eight.
However, they wouldn’t get a sixth shutout inning. Byron Buxton would hit a long home run off Robles to give the Twins a 2-1 lead in the 11th. It wasn’t a bad pitch, and it shows why people think Buxton is going to be a great player. None if that matters.
What matters is Granderson led off the bottom of the 11th with an opposite field home run to tie the game at two.
After Granderson’s homer, and the obligatory Bruce out, the Mets, sorry, Las Vegas 51s, continued the rally. T.J. and Brandon Nimmo hit back-to-back singles. Kevin Plawecki almost ended the game. However, instead of his liner going into center, it hit the pitcher leading to the fielder’s choice. It put the game in Matt Reynolds hands. After fouling a ball off his foot, Reynolds was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Reyes worked out a nine pitch at bat, but he would strike out looking ending the inning and sending the game into the 12th.
Granderson once again hit the huge extra inning home run.
This one was a game winner – off a lefty to boot. It was the first time in Mets history a Mets player hit a game tying and game winning home run in extra innings.
With that, the Mets won a tough game and will make up ground on someone tonight.
Game Notes: Granderson’s homers wrre the Mets’ 200th & 201st of the season, which is the new Mets single season record.