NEW YORK -- On the start of the final weekend of another sorry season, the New York Mets celebrated a little even while bracing for a management shakeup.
Josh Thole homered in the 10th inning and Pat Misch combined with Hisanori Takahashi on a three-hitter Friday night to lead the going-nowhere Mets over the even-worse Washington Nationals 2-1.Mets manager Jerry Manuel and general manager Omar Minaya both said they have not been notified they are losing their jobs following another season filled with injuries rather than accomplishments."This is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately town, and lately it hasn't been good," David Wright said. "There's going to be fingers pointed and, obviously, that's where we're at now."In addition to a fourth straight disappointing season on the field, New York's attendance dropped sharply. The game drew an announced crowd of 29,424 (it appeared to be less than half that), leaving the Mets' home attendance at 2,498,503 in the second season at Citi Field with two games remaining. Last year, they drew 3,154,262 at home.
As for the game, Thole connected against Tyler Clippard (11-7), turning on a 3-1 pitch at the letters and sending a one-out drive into the right-field seats for New York's fourth hit and first since the fourth inning.Thole said it was his first game-ending homer -- at any level."I didn't know what to do when I got to home plate," he said. "I'll keep doing bad helmet tosses -- give me another one."With two hits, Thole raised his average to .277."With the weight of pitch-calling, trying to become a catcher at the major league level, I think that has hindered him a little bit offensively," Manuel said.Mets rookie Ike Davis homered in the fourth off Jordan Zimmermann as New York stopped a three-game losing streak. Michael Morse's homer tied it in the seventh.Takahashi (10-6) struck out four in two hitless innings, and Misch struck out a career-high 10 in eight innings. Washington hitters struck out 14 times."I know I can pitch. Obviously the record doesn't show it and maybe the numbers aren't the greatest," said Misch, who is 0-4 with a 3.89 ERA this season.Zimmermann allowed three hits in six innings, struck out three and walked none. He's coming off an elbow operation similar to the one Stephen Strasburg had Sept. 3."That's the bright spot of the night," Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. "It's really encouraging. It kind of gives us a little hope for Strasburg."Zimmermann returned Aug. 26 from surgery in August 2009 and was 1-2 with a 4.94 ERA in seven starts."I wanted to end the season on a good note, take it to spring training," he said. "I accomplished enough for this year."But the Mets' looming changes overshadowed the game."It's an unfortunate situation because obviously there's enough blame for what's happened the last couple years to go around to everybody, including the players," Wright said, "because at the end of the day we're the ones who go out there on the field and are not getting the job done."
Citi Field was a tough park for power hitters in its first season, when just 130 homers were hit, 25th among the 30 major league stadiums. In this year of the pitcher, the power shortage has been even more pronounced. There have been 106 this season at the pitcher-friendly ballpark -- only Seattle's Safeco Field, with 96 entering Friday, had fewer. ... Washington's Adam Dunn struck out in the first and seventh innings, giving the free-agent-to-be a career-high 197. ... Two errors by left fielder Justin Maxwell -- he bobbled Angel Pagan's first-inning single, then dropped Mike Hessman's seventh-inning fly when center fielder Nyjer Morgan ran into him -- gave Washington a major league-high 126. The Nationals led with 143 last year. "I called but I didn't wave my arms," Morgan said. ... With 19 homers, Davis matched Ron Swoboda (1965) for the second-most by a rookie in Mets history, trailing only Darryl Strawberry's 26 in 1983. ... Misch's previous strikeout high was eight for San Francisco at San Diego on Aug. 4, 2007.