The New York Mets entered Monday's game against the San Diego Padres starting five position players that weren't in the first-pitch lineup in the beginning of the season. With Jose Reyes down for the second time in two months with a hamstring pull and Daniel Murphy done for the year with an MCL tear, the lineup was beginning to look more and more like a Quad-A one.
But that's why they play the game, right?
Down 8-4 in the eighth inning, as the Mets have shown all year, they will never sit down, and they rallied for five runs in the last two innings -- three in the ninth, culminated by a Lucas Duda two-run single up the middle to defeat the Padres 9-8 and beat up on one of the league's premiere closers, Heath Bell, to the tune of four hits (and those three runs). Duda was 3-for-5 in the game with a run and those two RBI, with confidence that continues to grow.
The Mets began this game on fire, scoring four runs in the first three innings -- highlighted by three home runs: two solo shots from Angel Pagan and Jason Bay and a two-run shot from David Wright.
The lead quickly evaporated. Mike Pelfrey wasn't sharp, allowing four earned runs on nine hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. Pedro Beato got two outs in relief of Pelfrey but walked and hit a batter in the eighth. And Ryota Igarashi, who came into relieve Beato, allowed a single and a double to bring home all four runs in the inning.
What makes this comeback even more impressive was that it was all started by the newly-recalled 27-year-old Mike Baxter, who doubled home Duda in the eighth for his second major league hit. He was recently claimed on waivers from the San Diego Padres.
Even more impressive? According to ESPN NY's Adam Rubin, who referenced the Elias Sports Bureau:
The Mets had lost their past 195 games when they trailed by two or more runs in the ninth inning or later, most in the majors. And the San Diego Padres had won their past 187 games when leading by two or more runs in the ninth inning or later, also longest in the majors.