Yoenis Cespedes, David Wright, Wilmer Flores, Travis d'Arnaud, Tyler Clippard, Jeurys Familia and the remaining group played a rather sloppy game on a painfully bright Sunday at Turner Field. We've seen games like this. That Atlanta sun is just beating down on everyone, giving the game a very overexposed, washed-out sort of look to it. Balls get misplayed or lost in the sun, and by the end of the game, as the shadows creep in, that bright sunshine becomes even more pronounced. The Mets have never done well in games like this, far as I can remember.
This game held to form for the most part. The Mets took an early lead against Braves Rookie Ryan Weber (who cannot be a relation—any relative of mine would be disowned for putting on a Barves uniform). Michael Conforto hit a Home Run and after Jon Niese had a mini-Niese Inning (fortunately, he departed before things could completely snowball), the Mets were down 3-2. They came back in the 7th inning and regained the lead thanks to a Curtis Granderson hit. But, then, the dark side of the Bullpen came in and things went south from there.
Tim Stauffer, whose name was bandied about as a potential spot starter down the stretch (because, you know, September scrap-heap spot starters always turn out so well), came in for the 7th and blew the lead. He remained in the game into the 8th inning long enough to allow a leadoff single, and then he departed for Dario Alvarez. Alvarez, one of those young pitchers who probably needs a little more work than he's getting, was victimized here, hitting Nick Swishkakis and giving up a run-scoring hit to Castro. Bobby Parnell followed and allowed two of Alvarez's runs to score when Adonis Garcia's parachute hit was lost in that blinding sunlight by Granderson and Atlanta now found themselves ahead 7-4 and the game seemed to be firmly in their hand.
But, these intrepid Mets seem to have little regard of an opponent's lead or how many outs they may have left. Peter Moylan came in for Atlanta in the 9th inning, got two quick outs, and then Juan Lagares hit a line drive out to Right-Center that Cameron Maybin couldn't quite catch. Lagares found his way to 2nd and Moylan found his way to the dugout. Ryan Kelly was next for Atlanta, and he walked Granderson and almost like clockwork, Daniel Murphy hit a 3-run Home Run to tie the game.
It's sort of amazing (amazing amazing amazing) how it's now the Mets making these comebacks instead of them happening against them. It seems like it happens almost every night now. Just this week, the Mets have been behind or tied late in 5 of the 7 games they played. And each time they figured out a way to come back and win. And Sunday, they did it again. Bobby Parnell, who departed the game on September 1st and we figured we wouldn't see him again all season, pitched a scoreless Bottom of the 9th and in the 10th, the Mets again had nobody on, 2 outs and managed to rally for 3 runs when Edwin Jackson melted down and the Braves defense abandoned them. Danny Burawa had to try to rescue Jackson and walked home a 3rd run in the process and in the span of mere minutes, a sloppy but excusable 7-4 loss turned into a 10-7 win, giving the Mets their second consecutive road series sweep, their 7th win in a row, and one more day 9 1/2 games ahead of Washington.
Now, the Mets come back home for 9 games with a pretty clear objective. They have 6 games against Atlanta and Miami, and then those three weekend games that I'd rather do without. Basically, they just need to hold the line here. I still don't expect them to win every game, especially over the weekend when things are basically guaranteed to get stupid, but if they hold the line and Washington continues to get in their own way, maybe this thing can be wrapped up before they hit the road again.