Jose Reyes’s three-for-three with three walks evening was nearly spoiled by his fielding blunder in the ninth inning.
Closer Billy Wagner, not having given up a run for the entire month of April, saw pinch hitter Ryan Doumit’s ground ball head towards the shortstop hole. Normally, Wags would not have to worry about this one, as Reyes typically gobbles these up and easily throws the runner out.
However, this was not the case on Tuesday evening at Shea. Reyes’s throw was low and unable to be scooped by Carlos Delgado.
Pinch runner Brian Bixler then advanced to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a ground out and scored on a Freddy Sanchez single. Just like that, Wagner accrued his first blown save without giving up an earned run.
Wagner was able to recover and toss a scoreless tenth inning, maintaining the 4-4 tie.
After Jorge Sosa worked a scoreless 11th, Endy Chavez singled off of Pittsburgh reliever John Van Benschoten. After committing a balk and recording an out, Van Benschoten intentionally walked Reyes to put runners at the corners for Luis Castillo. Reyes took second base on defense indifference and Castillo drew a walk the old-fashioned way.
This set the stage for zero-for-four David Wright. Wright wasted no time in hitting Van Benschoten’s first offering over the head of former Met Xavier Nady in right field, driving home Chavez as the winning run.
Of course, the run that Wagner had given up in the ninth would not have mattered had Duaner Sanchez not surrendered a run in the eighth.
Scott Schoeneweis and Aaron Heilman also nearly blew the 4-2 lead starter Johan Santana had carried into the sixth inning before being bailed out by Pedro Feliciano. Heilman put two runners on base in the seventh, and Schoeneweis’s wild pitch nearly allowed Pittsburgh to score their third run if I wasn’t for a speedy recovery and accurate throw to the plate by catcher Raul Casanova.
Santana had spotted the Pirates a 2-0 lead, giving up a lead-off homerun to the hot Nate McClouth and a fourth inning shot to Jason Bay. Those were the only two hits off of Santana who struck out seven while throwing 114 pitches in 5 2/3 innings of work.
Ryan Church answered with a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth and the Mets took the lead in the fifth thanks to RBI by Reyes and Wright.
Wednesday afternoon’s action will feature a battle of the southpaws, with Oliver Perez going for the Mets and Tom Gorzelanny going for the Pirates. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:10pm.