The bottom line is, the Mets beat the Braves, by a score of 4-1. It was a milestone win, number 4,001 in franchise history. It was a third straight victory over Atlanta – a notable achievement in and of itself — and it earned the Mets their first four-game winning streak since last July. Fans have been beaten down so much that these modest accomplishments seem momentous: we conveniently overlook the fact that this franchise also has 4,374 losses and will never be over .500 cumulatively in most of our lifetimes. Most teams would scoff at a four-game winning streak as barely worth a mention: for the Mets, there’s dancing in the streets. But these are issues best dealt with at another time; for the moment, I’ll dance. For one night, at least, this team played well, played tough and played clutch.
They pitched. Dillon Gee made his first start since returning from the DL and didn’t miss a step, even though his leash was only to be 90 pitches long. B.J. Upton worked him for a 10-pitch walk leading off the game, but was gunned out on a steal attempt by Travis d’Arnaud and replay. After that, Gee averaged less than ten tosses per frame. He wound up throwing seven full innings on 85 pitches. The joke early in the game was that if he could keep his pitch count on pace, 90 pitches might mean a complete game. It was a performance to make us question if Dillon Gee might be a keeper after all, rather than sell-high trade bait.
They beat an ancient foe…again. It’s always fun to take multiple games in a row against the Braves, isn’t it?
They gave us what might be the most enjoyable inning of the year. If the Mets could only bottle the mojo they had in the seventh inning on the evening of 7/9/14, they’d close their lifetime won-lost gap in no time. The cold agate of Baseball-Reference.com does not do the inning justice. That inning was more like a work of art and it came just when despair had started to settle over Citi: the Braves had tied the game in the sixth, with two out, nobody on and the pitcher batting. The bottom of the seventh started with David Wright making his boyhood friend Justin Upton look foolish on a grounder into left. Upton big-league-ed a two hopper and Wright looked for all the world as if he’d settle for a single, until he turned on the after-burners and beat Upton’s surprised throw to second by a yard. Duda then smacked a drive to deep right that Jason Heyward corralled, allowing Wright to cross to third. Bobby Abreu took – yes took – a 3-1 pitch that third base umpire Mike Everitt ruled a swing. Undaunted, Abreu took the next pitch in similar fashion and gave a long stare down the third base line, but Everitt remained silent this time: Abreu had his walk. Juan Lagares pinch-ran for him. Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a laser to Heyward that Wright skipped home on and the Mets had the lead back. d’Arnaud then launched a Kingman-style shot to the upper left field stands and Braves’ spirit was broken. Oh, they were able to get the tying runs to the plate in both the eighth and ninth, but somehow, you just knew this game was over before d’Arnaud’s ball landed.
This was a game worthy of the ‘80s. Like it oughta be.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley.