The "Top" 10 New York Mets Blown Saves of the 2000s
From Benitez to Looper to Wagner to K-Rod, the 21st century has been cruel to New York Mets closers.
Let's take a look back at some of the more "memorable" meltdowns of the last decade.
10. April 26, 2006: Billy Wagner
With a three-run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth in San Francisco, Billy Wagner entered the game for what should have been an easy save.
With a runner on second and two outs, Wagner got Moises Alou to hit a ground ball to third base. David Wright handled the grounder but threw the ball wide of first base, allowing one run to score.
Barry Bonds came on as a pinch hitter and proceeded to hit a two-run home run to dead center field, tying the game.
The Mets went on to win in 11 innings.
9. June 7, 2007: Billy Wagner
This isn't a particularly astounding blown save by itself, but put in the larger context of a season, it stands out.
Entering June of 2007, the Mets were 33-17 and firing on all cylinders. A week later, the Mets were 2-5 in June and had dropped the first two games of a three-game series with the rival Phillies.
The Mets fell behind 2-0 early, but in the sixth inning, Carlos Delgado, David Wright, and Paul LoDuca hit back-to-back-to-back home runs, giving the Mets a 3-2 lead.
Billy Wagner entered the game in the ninth inning to preserve the 3-2 lead but gave up a leadoff home run to Met killer Pat Burrell. The Phillies went on to win 6-3 in 10 innings.
The loss completed the Phillies' sweep. The Mets stumbled through the summer, including losing seven in a row to the Phillies in August and September, and wound up blowing a seven-game lead in the division with 17 games to go.
8. June 26, 2005: Braden Looper
With the Mets primed to sweep a Subway Series at Yankee Stadium for the first time ever, Braden Looper came on to protect a 4-3 lead.
Without even recording an out, Looper loaded the bases. Jason Giambi singled into right field, plating two runs and giving the Yankees a 5-4 walk-off victory.
7. June 12, 2009: Francisco Rodriguez
This one isn't really the closer's fault.
In the first 2009 meeting between the two New York teams, the Mets led the Yankees 8-7 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Francisco Rodriguez came on to pitch and to that point in the season had been perfect in save attempts.
With two outs and runners on first and second, K-Rod got A-Rod to hit a routine pop-up into short right field.
Second baseman Luis Castillo looked unsure as he went after the ball and wound up dropping the fly ball. Both runners scored on the error, and the Yankees won 9-8.
6. Aug. 30, 2007: Billy Wagner
The Mets made the trip to Philadelphia up six games in the NL East. They dropped the first three games of the series, and it didn't look good for them in the fourth.
After falling behind 5-0, they rallied back to even it up. They then trailed 8-5 but scored five in the eighth to make the score 10-8.
Not trusting his middle relievers, manager Willie Randolph chose to go to closer Billy Wagner for two innings.
With one out in the eighth inning, Pat Burrell homered off Wagner to cut the lead to 10-9.
In the ninth, Jayson Werth singled to lead off. He proceeded to steal second base. Then third base. Tadahito Iguchi singled him in to tie the game.
Iguchi then stole second. Two batters later, Chase Utley singled in Iguchi to give the Phillies a 10-9 victory.
The loss completed the Phillies' four-game sweep.
5. Sept. 23, 2001: Armando Benitez
Not even two weeks after 9/11, the Mets were surging, and the city of New York was behind them. They had won the first two games of a weekend series with the Braves, closing the gap in the NL East to 3.5 games.
The Mets were primed to finish off the sweep on a Sunday afternoon at Shea, entering the bottom of the ninth up 4-1.
Armando Benitez came in to close it out. Benitez got two outs, but Brian Jordan hit a two-run homer to cut the lead to 4-3. A walk and two singles later, and the game was tied.
The Mets went on to lose in 11 innings, snapping their five-game winning streak and killing the team's momentum as they hoped to make the postseason for a third straight year.
4. Opening Day 2005: Braden Looper
In the offseason following 2004, the Mets became "The New Mets," adding prized free agents Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez.
After months of anticipation, the duo didn't fail to impress on Opening Day. Martinez struck out 12 in six innings of work, and Beltran went 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI.
The Mets led 6-4 entering the bottom of the ninth inning and brought in closer Braden Looper to finish the game.
Looper gave up a leadoff single and then a towering two-run home run to Adam Dunn that tied the game. The next batter, Joe Randa, followed with a home run of his own to end the game, spoiling the "New Mets'" coming-out party.
3. 2000 NLDS Game Two: Armando Benitez
After dropping Game One of the best-of-five series, the Mets held a 2-1 lead entering the ninth inning in Game Two. Edgardo Alfonzo's two-run homer extended the Mets' lead to 4-1.
Armando Benitez entered the game with a runner on second after Al Leiter gave up a leadoff double. He promptly allowed a single to Jeff Kent.
Two batters later, lefty J.T. Snow cranked a Benitez offering just inside the right field foul pole, over the 24-foot-high wall. The three-run homer tied the game at four.
The Mets went on to win in the 10th inning and ultimately won the series three games to one.
2. May 20, 2006: Billy Wagner
After winning the first meeting between the teams in 2006, the Mets held a 4-0 lead over the Yankees entering the ninth inning at Shea.
Billy Wagner came on in a non-save situation. One run came in on an RBI single. Another on a bases-loaded walk. The third came on a hit batsman with the bases loaded.
Finally, with a one-run lead, Wagner got a double play grounder that Johnny Damon beat out, allowing the tying run to score.
The Yankees prevailed 5-4 in 11 innings.
Maybe it wasn't *technically* a blown save, but in our hearts it was.
1. 2000 World Series Game One: Armando Benitez
In their first World Series game since 1986, the Mets held a 3-2 lead over the rival Yankees entering the bottom of the ninth. In came Armando Benitez.
Benitez loaded the bases with one out. Chuck Knoblauch hit a sac fly into deep left field, scoring Paul O'Neill to tie the game.
The Mets went on to lose in the 12th on Jose Vizcaino's RBI single. Mets fans continue to wonder what could have been had the Mets started off the series with a win.