The Mets faced off with the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 17, essentially with their season on the line. They were in the midst of a four-game losing skid and taking on their division leaders on road turf. A series loss would surely be a huge blow to the team's mojo.
The Mets continued their doldrums through the first eight innings in D.C. that night. In the top of the ninth they trailed 2-0, and were about to lose their fifth straight, dating back to July 8—before the All-Star break.
Nats closer Tyler Clippard opened up the frame by allowing two Mets singles. With Jason Bay due up, Terry Collins listened to every Mets fan as they screamed at their television set.
He sent up Jordany Valdespin in Bay's place. Valdespin drove a ball over the right-field fence for a three-run pinch-hit home run and the Mets—whose season was all but over 10 minutes before—were now leading 3-2.
Bobby Parnell—a member of the Mets abhorrent relief corps that has gift-wrapped countless wins to opponents this season—toed the rubber for the bottom of the ninth. Predictably, Parnell allowed a Nationals run on a single by Danny Espinosa to send the game into extras.
The Mets showed just how resilient they were, though, and tacked on another run in their half of the 10th when Josh Thole doubled to bring home a run off Mike Gonzalez. How many times would they have to claw back to counteract the bullpen's follies, though? At that point, losing another lead would have counted for more than just a loss against the team's psyche.
But the Mets did exactly that, and in typical Mets fashion.
After the newest Mets-killer, Bryce Harper tripled to drive home the tying run off Tim Byrdak in the home tenth, Pedro Beato allowed the winning run to cross the plate on a wild pitch with the bases loaded.
The Mets lost 5-4, but it did as much damage as a million-to-nothing blowout.
Since the failed comeback attempts on July 17, the Mets haven't sniffed the division lead—or the wild card for that matter. They're 13-26 since the disaster in D.C., 18.5 games behind Washington.