Commentary

Mets scratch, claw way to marathon win

Timely production from unlikely sources lifts Amazin's to 14-inning triumph

Updated: August 19, 2010, 9:55 AM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

HOUSTON -- The New York Mets will accept a win any way they can get one these days.

That's the case even if it means the combination of 0-for-his-last-28 Ruben Tejada and 0-for-his-last-15 R.A. Dickey producing the opening run -- or the decisive score coming without a hit.

After loading the bases on walks in the 14th inning, rookie first baseman Ike Davis delivered a sacrifice fly and the Mets held on for a 3-2 victory against the Houston Astros on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park.

Ike Davis
AP Photo/David J. PhillipRookie Ike Davis' sac fly in the 14th inning settled the score in Houston on Wednesday.

"I was waiting on a passed ball or something," manager Jerry Manuel joked. "We'll do better. But we keep playing good defense. We keep getting good pitching. And it gives us a chance. It always gives us a chance, every night."

The Mets won despite the departure of third baseman David Wright with nausea and light-headedness in the 12th inning.

The victory lifted the Mets back to .500. They can win their first road series of the season against a National League opponent when Pat Misch opposes Bud Norris in Thursday's finale of the four-game affair.

Davis had been in his own 0-for-19 rut before a 13th-inning single. He suggested that success relaxed him for a bases-loaded, one-out confrontation with Astros left-hander Gustavo Chacin the following inning.

The Mets had loaded the bases on three walks in the 14th, the final one coming on an intentional pass to Carlos Beltran with runners on the corners (Jose Reyes led off with a walk, was sacrificed to second, and stole third). Next up was Davis, who lofted a fly ball to right field that allowed Reyes (4-for-6) to comfortably trot home with the decisive run. The Mets had stranded the bases loaded in the 10th when Davis hit a grounder that resulted in a force play at the plate and Jeff Francoeur lined out.

"I actually hit it on the barrel, and I hadn't hit one on the barrel in a long time," Davis said about his 13th-inning single. "It gave me a little confidence going into the last at-bat."

As for his rut, which has dropped Davis' average to .242 and recently prompted Manuel to start Mike Hessman at first base against left-handers, Davis said: "You just try to ride it out. You don't want to keep riding it out. You're just waiting for that one time your swing clicks again and you get a base hit or hit a ball hard. A two-strike hit [in the 13th] and I got a little confidence back, and popped it up and got the run in to get the win [in the 14th]. I can go into tomorrow's game with a little momentum."

The four-hour, 18-minute marathon nearly ended without the need for extra innings.

The Mets broke a scoreless duel against Astros starter Brett Myers in the seventh inning when Tejada and Dickey had consecutive doubles. Tejada snapped an 0-for-28 drought, which was nine at-bats shy of matching Rey Ordonez's franchise-record 0-for-37 skid for a position player. With Dickey eventually on third base with one out, Angel Pagan beat out a relay throw on a double-play bid, Dickey scored, and the Mets took a 2-0 lead. Houston scored in the bottom of the eighth to make it 2-1.

Since Francisco Rodriguez is on paid or unpaid leave -- depending on which side wins the grievance the players’ association filed on his behalf earlier in the day -- Manuel sent Dickey out for the ninth inning, with the knuckleballer bidding for his second straight complete game.

On pitch No. 119, with one out in the ninth, Geoff Blum produced his first homer in 189 at-bats to force extra innings.

"It was a 1-0 knuckleball, and I felt like I had thrown him some really good ones all night long," Dickey said. "I threw it exactly like I had threw the one before. The one before went straight right. That one just kind of wiggled in there and he did a good job of hitting it. One more wiggle, he pops it up. He got it. Sometimes you've just got to tip your hat. I felt like I had been punched in the gut. I did the best I could."

Said Manuel: "I felt it was his game. If he had allowed a runner in that inning, I would have taken him out. I wouldn't have let him lose the game that late."

Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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