Sunday, April 22, 2012
WIND AND AN ERROR FIGURE ON METS WIN OVER SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
New York – Angel Pagán knows something about how the wind can play a factor at Citi Field. He was in the San Francisco Giants dugout watching a play in the ninth inning, the Mets one out away from a win and getting their starter Mike Pelfrey his first victory.
Jon Rauch came out of the bullpen to get that final out. But pinch hitter Brandon Bell hit a shallow ball to center. Shortstop Ruben Tejada saw the ball was trouble swirling in the wind. Rookie center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis tried to come to the rescue but the ball dropped for a two-run double and tied the score.
“It can be a tough field to play if you are not used to it,” said Pagán when asked about the dropped ball. Pagan, traded to the Giants for Andés Torres in the off-season could not help giving his opinion. “You can’t be to over aggressive on a play like that out there,” he said.
Pagán would know. He patrolled the outfield for New York in four years as a New York Met. Those years were tenuous at times and there were a share of errors in the outfield. The Giants acquired Pagán from the Mets during the off season to get some speed in their lineup.
In that time, Torres has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left calf and Nieuwenhuis was granted a chance. Mets manager Terry Collins put his head down and put his hands on top of his cap showing his frustration after the play.
In the inning he lifted closer Frank Francisco for Tim Brydak, and then giving the ball to Rauch who got the win. He defended the rookie and said, “He works as hard as anyone else and in that situation he has to play back.”
Nieuwenhuis, was redeemed when the Mets scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 win, the second walk-off win for New York this young season.
“I was coming from a long way out and it’s my ball all the way and I just overran it,” he said about the play. “I thought it was going to be closer to the infield and it ended up carrying a lot more than I thought.”
Prior to the botched outfield play, and before the Mets would win on a throwing error by Giants catcher Buster Posey that scored Ruben Tejada, Pelfrey went a season high eight innings for a Mets pitcher and outpitched Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong.
“Pelfrey deserved the win,” commented Nieuwenhuis. “He pitched a great game, unbelievable.”
Tejada had a two-run double in the seventh that just got by third base down the left field line. That gave the Mets a 3-1 lead and they added another on an unearned run in the eighth. It was the seventh double for Tejada who entered the game tied for fifth in baseball in that category.
And as ironic as the game of baseball can be, Nieuwenhuis and Tejada were involved in the game ending play that gave the Mets a win in the four- game series that concludes Monday evening. The Giants won the opening game in 10-innings Friday night.
With the bases loaded in the ninth, Nieuwenhuis hit a grounder to first. Belt, inserted in a lineup move by manager Bruce Bochy, threw home for a force. Posey looking for an inning ending double play missed reliever Jeremy Affeldt covering first but the throw ended in right field that enabled Tejada to score from second with the winning run.
“I had faith in my teammates to pick me up,” said Nieuwenhuis afterwards. And for the Mets a win that will be memorable because of that botched play in the outfield.
This post is provided in part by Bay Club Bayside & Hudson County Pest Control