Kelly Johnson's 3-run double with 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th inning was the key hit the Mets had been screaming for all night, as it broke a 2-2 tie and sent the Mets on to a 5-2 win. This, coupled with a Cardinals loss and a Pirates loss, now has the Mets 1 1/2 games out of the second Wildcard spot, and two games ahead of the Marlins, who have predictably turned back into doormats now that the heat's been turned up. On the other side, the Mets have responded well to this situation, for one, because they went through it last season and, for two, because no matter how many players are injured, or not playing well, or how shorthanded they appear, they still have it in them to find a way to win games. So, for as much as the people who dismissed the Mets as an afterthought at the outset of 2015 have come back and started laughing and pointing and yelling "FLUKE!" and "OUTLIER!" at the 2016 Mets, well, laugh now. If the Mets are still right there as a contending team with every Opening Day starter having missed some significant time on the DL, well, imagine where they'd be if everyone was healthy.
Bartolo Colon took the mound for the Mets, and Colon, if you can believe it, has been the lone constant in the Mets rotation this year. Probably because he's just impervious to anything. Though three early Mets errors kind of submarined him and led to a Marlins run in the 2nd, and later he allowed a Home Run to Hamburgers Yelich in the 6th, the Marlins did little of consequence otherwise. The Marlins were supposedly starting ex-Yankee Prospect David Phelps (derp derp derp) but he mysteriously vanished before the game started and instead a fellow named Jake Esch was on the mound for Miami in what I could only assume was his Major League debut. This has a tendency to not go well for the Mets. Though Esch didn't pitch a shutout and hit a Home Run, the Mets didn't light him up either. Wilmer Flores hit a 2nd inning Home Run, and the Mets had plenty of opportunities to do other things, but multiple rallies were squandered and Esch left in the 5th inning with the game tied.
Things then continued as they were in a fashion similar to what we saw on Monday night, until twitchy, irritating A.J. Ramos came in for the 8th inning and much like they did on Monday, the Mets attacked. Cespedes led off with a single and Granderson walked, and the Mets were in business. And rather quickly they seemed out of business after Flores flied out and Jay Bruce popped out. But Travis d'Arnaud worked out a walk, in a rather crucial at bat, to set the stage for Johnson, who's found himself in the lineup a bit more with this recent rash of injuries. And, of course, we know what happened from there, as Johnson worked a deep count and finally got a pitch he could handle and nailed it down into the Right Field corner to clear the bases and set the stage for Jeurys Familia to save his 44th game of the season and finally knock Armando Benitez from the record books.
Of course, the postgame reveling was kind of dampened by the rather macabre report from Terry Collins that Neil Walker was going to have back surgery that will finish his season. This isn't good by any stretch, but at this point, what difference does another injury make? There have been so many and the Mets keep managing to cobble something together, so just figure something else out. If it just means that Johnson and Flores play more often, well, that's hardly a major dropoff.
This series right now could not have gone any better for the Mets. The Marlins have looked like their usual sorry-ass selves, a team that's been jabbing and dipping like a bunch of ninnies, just asking their opponent to throw that haymaker at them and so far, the Mets have delivered it, and man, if they can finish off the sweep tonight, that would be really, really great.