It’s a game of inches. Speed kills.
These sports clichés came to life Thursday night at Shea Stadium as Angel Pagan drove in Jose Reyes in the bottom of the 12th to give the New York Mets a 4-3 victory over their division rival, the Philadelphia Phillies.
Pagan hit a single up the middle off of Philadelphia reliever Tom Gordon.
With the outfield playing shallow against the speedy Reyes, who had doubled the previous at bat, center fielder Jayson Werth threw a strike to catcher Chris Coste. Coste blocked the plate and Reyes tripped over his foot, tagging home plate with his left hand just before Coste could apply the tag to Reyes’s back.
Predictably, Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel argued the call with home plate umpire Ted Barrett, but his efforts were to no avail.
Pagan’s game-winner was the third of three hits on the evening for the Mets’ left fielder. He finished the night 3-for-5 with two singles, a double, and a sacrifice bunt.
Pagan’s nine RBI lead the Mets who are struggling to get their offense to gel.
Reyes’ two hit night will hopefully get him going and right fielder Ryan Church continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-5 while driving in two runs.
David Wright continues to struggle; going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and getting fooled by breaking pitches on the outer half of the plate.
Carlos Beltran struck out twice late in the game with the go-ahead run on base.
The Mets nearly wasted another good outing by a starting pitcher, as John Maine gave up just one run through six innings, only to see the lead banished in the eighth inning, which included a solo shot by Phillies’ slugger Ryan Howard off of Aaron “Home run” Heilman.
Phillies’ reserve infielder Eric Bruntlett was once again instrumental in letting his teammates down. After his multi-error game on Wednesday, Bruntlett went 0-for-6 at the plate, striking out twice and leaving seven men on base.
Bruntlett, filling in for the injured Jimmy Rollins, also failed to lay down a sacrifice bunt that would have put the go-ahead runs on second and third base with Chase Utley due up next. Instead, Bruntlett bunted the third strike foul and Utley grounded into a double play.
On Friday, the Mets welcome the Milwaukee Brewers to town, as Nelson Figueroa makes his first start for the Amazins, while lefty Manny Parra goes for the Brew Crew.
The Phillies will head back home via I-95 to host the Chicago Cubs. Brett Myers goes for the Phils, while Jason Marquis takes the mound for the Cubbies.