New York – The New York Mets (26-30) needed a day like today, a game like today can either make or break a season. They needed to teach themselves how to believe in their talents and abilities today, especially with a victory over a team that is as tenacious as the Pittsburgh Pirates (26-29).
New York trailed the Pirates 7-0 after 2 ½ innings of play, and defeated Pittsburgh by the score of 9-8 in Thursday afternoon baseball at Citi Field. This comeback ties the second biggest in franchise history, while also being the biggest comeback victory in the majors this season.
It may also be just what this struggling franchise needs to get back on track and get the many Mets faithful to believe again. Many players echoed that sentiment in the locker room after the game.
“It felt great to get the win today,” said Angel Pagan, who has now hit in all seven games since returning from the 15-day disabled list. The outfielder also said, “We haven’t been playing the way that we know that we are able too. We just kept battling back today and never gave up, and it is a great feeling for us.”
A big part of the comeback effort by the Mets today was one Terry Collins who was fired up after the squad dropping a 9-3 loss to the Pirates yesterday. So far the players enjoy the passion and energy that Collins brings to the squad.
“Terry’s speech after the game last night gave us the wakeup call that we needed,” Pagan said. “He basically said that we can play better than this.” He continued by saying, “I love having a manager like him, the fact that he gets fired up and cares for us, Terry is really doing a great job as our manager.”
Another key to the game was Carlos Beltran, who drove in four runs in today‘s game. Three of those runs were recorded on a huge blast to left field. That homer along with some timely hitting by the Mets propelled them to the huge comeback.
“This was a huge win for us today,” Beltran said in the locker room, “After the homer it was a boost to the team, but we needed to score more in order to win this one.” He continued by saying. “Tejada has a good at bat to drive in a run, and overall it was a true team effort.”
Beltran also had this to say of the meeting that Collins had with the squad yesterday, “The meeting that Terry had yesterday was great, I liked it a lot because it was different then the meetings we had in the past.” He continued, “He has passion and energy and he makes it clear the way he feels about the team and his players, and there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes you need someone to wake everyone up, and it was a good thing because we woke up and won this one today.”
Collins enjoyed the home run by his outfielder saying, “That was a huge swing for us today that has been the biggest thing so far for us was that we weren’t able to get the big swing and today we did.” He continued by saying, “The big guys really stepped up for us today.”
“He believes in us and we need to believe in ourselves,” Beltran said of his manager and his team, “Right now we are missing guys, but we have plenty of guys that can contribute as well.” He would continue by saying, “It is time for us to start working together as a team and playing hard.”
Utility-player extraordinaire Ruben Tejada continues to shine in his time with the Mets. The starting second baseman impressed with both his glove and his hitting as he recorded three RBI in the game.
“I have been feeling good playing with the team,” Tejada said. “I’ve been taking a lot of pitches and really trying to do what I can to help the team win.”
Tejada had a huge moment in the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, lifting a sacrifice fly out to center field, and driving in the run that gave the Mets the 8-7 lead. He also impressed with a nifty play in the sixth inning getting a ground ball by Josh Harrison and throwing him out at first base.
“It feels great to have been a part of his comeback effort today,” Tejada said. “This type of comeback is what we needed to get back to playing our game.”
Manager Terry Collins has been impressed with the youngster saying, “He had a good at bat’s for us this week, and he has been putting the bat on the ball and making contact.” He continued by saying, “He laid off some tough pitches today. Overall he has a huge upside and will be a very good player for our team.”
On this day the Mets bullpen came through and bailed out starter Mike Pelfrey, who didn’t have his good stuff on the mound today. The righty gave up seven runs and 10 hits to a very feisty Pirates team. Collins called in four relief pitchers, to help save the day and the victory for the Mets.
The lone run that the bullpen gave up was in the top of the ninth inning as outfielder Xavier Paul capped a career high four hit day with a triple (2) to right field off closer Francisco Rodriguez. Rodriguez got a fly ball out and a strike out, before giving up a hit to second baseman Paul Walker, which cut the Met lead to 9-8 at the time.
Rodriguez would earn his 16th save of the season by getting power hitter Lyle Overbay to lift a ball into foul territory, in which Justin Turner was able to grab for the final out of the game as the Mets earned the 9-8 victory. Not only did they earn the victory, but also build much needed momentum for the rest of the season.
Returning from the bereavement list today was shortstop Jose Reyes, who extended his seven game hitting streak when laced a single to center field in the bottom of the third inning.
“To be able to make a comeback like this today was a huge thing for our team,” Reyes said. “We just had to come back little by little, and being able to do that was a huge thing for us going forward.”
New York will now look to build on this momentum. It will not be easy though as they now enter into a three game series against their arch-rival the Atlanta Braves starting on Friday. Jonathon Niese (4-5, 3.91 ERA) takes on Derek Lowe (3-4, 4.03 ERA) in Game One of the series, which is slated to start at 7:10 p.m.
“We just need to continue to take it one game at a time,” Reyes said to NYSportsDay.com about what the team does to take the next step. “We need to continue to keep playing our game, Atlanta is a good team, and so we just will take it one step at a time and take it from there.”
Beltran had this to say to www.nysportsday.com on the steps needed to build on this positive momentum, “We need to keep playing hard and I think today’s game should be the game where we look back and say if we can do it for this game, than we can do it for any game. We just got to never give up and keep fighting as a team.”
Remember this day Mets fans, remember this time and moment. Today was just what the Mets needed to hopefully start believing in themselves again.