A four game sweep at the hands of the Colorado Rockies this week at Citi Field made it a miserable week for the New York Mets and their manager Terry Collins. In come the Houston Astros Friday night with the worst record in baseball and 47- games under .500
So, one has to figure that New York would gladly welcome the Astros to their home park. However, the way things have been going for the Mets, the Astros welcomed their trip to Citi field.
As so it went Friday night as interim manager Tony DeFrancesco of the Astros got his first win and the Mets dropped a season tying sixth straight, 3-1.
DeFrancesco, who took over managerial responsibilities last week when Brad Mills was dismissed, was born in the Bronx and spent most of his youth up in nearby Rockland County and played college ball as a catcher at Seton Hall University.
it appeared that DeFracesco would get his second win Sunday afternoon, and that Houston was on the way taking two of three games. That is until Ike Davis, with a .223 average, hit his second home run of the day in the bottom of the ninth inning that gave New York a 2-1 win.
It was the second home run of the afternoon for Davis, his 24th, the Mets fifth walk off win of the season and their first home series win since the first week of July.
Davis said about his day at the plate and the game winning shot that cleared the right field wall, “I thought I hit it a little better than I did. Outfielder kind of deked me a little bit. Thought I’d look like a fool because I didn’t run out of the box”.
Considering that Davis was hitting .199 that first week of July, and with rumors of him being sent down, he will take a two- home run day
“First one I got pretty good,” he said. That fourth inning home run gave New York the early 1-0 lead. And it was tough getting hits and runs off Astros starter Lucas Harrel who came in the game leading rookie pitchers in the National League with innings pitched.
Jeremy Hefner was just as good for the Mets. The rookie took a shutout into the ninth inning and gave up a tying double to Marwin Gonzalez.
“I thought he got great rhythm and I loved the pace, the way he went about things today,” said Collins who saw all his starters on the home stand do their job. Starters in the seven games compiled a 1.65 ERA, striking out 10, allowing 29 hits.
The issue has been the Mets inability to score runs, scoring two or less runs in eight of their last nine games
“We need it bad,” said Collins about the win. His team is out of contention and playing out the string with a goal to get back to .500 and finish respectable. “You look up in the ninth and guys really pitching good. We got one run on the board again, three hits, someone’s got to get this going and fortunately that’s what Ike did today.”
DeFancesco came out to argue a bang-bang play at home plate in the Astros’ ninth. Ben Francisco got a single through the hole at shortstop off Bobby Parnell, (3-3), who got the win. A throw from left by the Mets’ Lucas Duda nailed Marvin Gonzalez. Had the run scored, the Astros would have taken a 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the ninth.
But Duda could not handle the double to left that put Gonzalez on base which tied the game.
“It was a hell of a play by their catcher,” said DeFrancesco who would know something about a play that was handled well by the veteran Kelly Shoppach. Duda, making his first start after being recalled Saturday from Buffalo, started in left and Collins said he appeared to be comfortable at the position.
The Astros got five hits off Hefner. At one point, he was cruising and retired 12-straight Houston batters. “He was good at changing speeds,” commented DeFrancesco.
In his office the congratulatory bottle of champagne from Friday night was still sitting on a shelf behind the desk. He was planning to put it in the luggage for the trip back to Houston.
Mom and dad met him again before boarding the team bus to nearby LaGuardia Airport. The 17-year minor league manager has a week in the big leagues and enjoying every minute of it.
“One thing I am pleased with is the way they are playing,” he said about his team. And with two consecutive wins, Collins is feeling better as the Mets embarked on a nine-game road trip to Philadelphia Miami, and St. Louis.