Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Wild Finish in Milwaukee Allows the Mets to Accomplish Something They Hadn't Done Since 1985

Jeurys Saves!  And what a wild game he ended up saving...  (SNY screen shot)

The Mets defeated the Brewers at Miller Park on Friday night by the final score of 2-1, needing a bizarre play in the 11th inning to push across the go-ahead run.

Clearly, Milwaukee's infielders had not watched Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills video, as they attempted to retire Kelly Johnson after they had already retired him.  By losing track of which runner they needed to tag in the bases-loaded, one-out situation, Asdrubal Cabrera was able to hustle home with the Mets' second run of the game.  And once Jeurys Familia recorded his 70th career save (passing Neil Allen into 8th place on the team's all-time saves leader board in the process), the Mets were able to celebrate a highly unorthodox victory.

Six pitchers combined to allow just three hits in the 11-inning affair, as Matt Harvey, Hansel Robles, Antonio Bastardo, Jim Henderson, Jerry Blevins and Familia all contributed to the win by striking out 15 batters, with each hurler fanning at least one Brewer.

The low-hit, extra-inning effort was a rarity in Mets history, as it was just the fourth time the team had ever allowed no more than three hits in a game that lasted at least 11 innings.  And it was the first time they accomplished the feat since June 12, 1985 - almost 31 years ago to the day.

That date in 1985 looks awfully familiar.  Maybe it's because of what happened the day before...

After accomplishing the feat for the first time in 1967 (an 11-inning complete game win by Bob Shaw) and then repeating it in 1976 (Craig Swan and Skip Lockwood combined on the 14-inning three-hitter), the Mets waited until 1985 to record their third such game, when Ron Darling, Jesse Orosco and Rick Aguilera combined to allow three hits in the team's 11-inning victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on June 12.  What made that effort even more spectacular was that it came just one day after five Mets pitchers combined to give up 26 runs to the Phils - the most runs ever scored against the Mets in a single game.  The Von Hayes Game, as it's now known because of the Phillies' leadoff hitter's two homers and five RBI in the first inning alone, is still brought up by Mets fans whenever the team gets completely embarrassed by its opponent on the diamond.

The Mets have yet to allow as many as 26 runs in another affair since the Von Hayes Game.  (No team has crossed the plate more than 19 times in any contest against the Mets since June 11, 1985.)  And since the day after that forgettable game that no one can seem to forget, the Mets had also not played a game of at least 11 innings in which they gave up three hits or fewer.  Until Friday night, that is.

An unusual play in extra innings helped the Mets earn a win in Milwaukee on Friday night.  It also helped the Mets accomplish something they hadn't done in over three decades.  As the old saying goes, if you watch the game long enough, you're bound to see something you've never seen before.  If you watched the Mets game on Friday, you saw something you couldn't have seen more than three times before.

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