Wow - that was one exciting baseball game that was played between the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants. The Mets pulled out a 5 to 4 win over the Giants in 12 innings as good ol’ Armando Benitez coughed up the game tying and game winning runs in the bottom half of the 12th.
How did it all happen? Let’s recap shall we?
Benitez started out the inning by facing the worst hitter you can possibly face in a situation like this - Jose Reyes. This scrawny kid is nearly every pitcher’s worst nightmare? Why? He hits for average, he’s getting a better eye at the plate every day, he’s a smarter and smarter player every day, and most of all - he’s FAST. So what happens? Benitez goes 3-0 on him… the Shea crowd goes nuts.. and yes.. we all know the hate relationship that New York Met fans have with Benitez so you can imagine the kind of yelling that was going on with him on the mound. He throws two more strikes… then Reyes fouls off the next pitch…
and then the inevitable happens. Benitez throws ball four. It’s almost like providence folks. Benitez on the mound.. we’re at Shea… things begin to crumble for him.
So Endy Chavez is up and the Mets are stuck in a situation here. Do they let Reyes steal second or do they let Chavez sacrifice him over? Well as it turns out, Benitez is so riled up on the mound, he ends up balking Reyes over the second. Problem solved!! So now we have Reyes on second with nobody out!
Steve Phillips on the mic for ESPN then says “I think Chavez will swing here” or something to that effect and you hear Dusty Baker go “I think he’ll bunt.” So what happens? Chavez bunts of course and pushes Reyes over to third. Good call Baker - maybe you should still be managing the Giants eh?
Now Carlos Beltran comes up with Reyes on third and one out. He takes a swing at the first pitch from Benitez and fouls it off. He then swings at the second pitch which looked out of the strike zone and grounds a ball to second. The infield is playing in for the Giants so Reyes isn’t able to go home on the play. Beltran is thrown out at first and Reyes is left at third now with two away.
Up steps Carlos Delgado. The same Carlos Delgado that’s been slumping through the months of April and May. The same Carlos Delgado that hit two home runs in Florida a few days ago. The same Carlos Delgado that hit a 2 run home run earlier in the game. Yet.. the Mets are down to their last out so one never knows right?
Remember.. there’s still speed on third.. and the threat of speed makes pitchers quiver. So it was that Reyes jumping around on third caused Armando Benitez to balk yet another time in the 12th inning.. resulting in the tying run scoring WITHOUT a hit being delivered by the Mets. Speed wins games folks and this one was purely because Jose Reyes reached the bases. The Shea crowd goes wild.. but wait! The game isn’t over yet. We still have Carlos Delgado at the plate.
Pitches 1 and 2 are for balls. Delgado takes a cut on pitch three and tries to end the game with a huge cut. Foul ball. Pitch four - foul ball. The count is now 2 - 2. Pitch five - Delgado swings and I stand up and scream. You can tell instantly that the ball was going to leave the confines of the field. You just knew the ball was heading out of the ballpark and sure enough, Carlos Delgado had his second two homer game in three days.. and the Mets win 5 to 4.
The camera pans over to Benitez as he walks off the field and you can’t help but feel for him you know. He almost looks like he’s going to cry .. and do you blame him? This was his town a few years back.. this was his team that depended on him. And now.. this is the team that’s on their way to another stellar season and Benitez isn’t a part of that equation at all.
The Mets win! They Win!