The New York Mets (16-13) defeated the Philadelphia Phillies (14-16) tonight behind the most unlikely of circumstance. In a game in which everything that could have gone wrong, didn't, the Mets overcame a two-run deficit against Roy Halladay, came out on the right side of two key defensive plays and escaped two consecutive jams all before Jordany Valdespin delivered a pinch-hit, three-run go ahead shot in the top of the 9th against Jonathan Papelbon, who hadn't allowed a hit with runners in scoring position this year.
On Memorial Day weekend in 2009, Jonathan Papelbon, still a member of the Red Sox, entered the game in the top of the 9th inning looking to record a save against the injury riddled New York Mets. Unfortunately for him, Omir Santos had other plans. With 2 outs, Santos blasted a ball deep off the Green Monster that, upon review, was called a home run. The shot would win the Mets the game, and up until tonight was the one poor performance by the All-Star closer against the Mets.
Tonight, Ike Davis drew a one-out walk with the bases empty before Justin Turner went down swinging for the second out. Papelbon seemed poised and in control, looking to get the Phillies to the bottom of the frame in a position to win the game. Mike Nickeas, who entered the game after Josh Thole left the game, hit a hanging slider to left for a double that moved Ike Davis to third before Jordany Valdespin was called upon to pinch-hit.
Valdespin was recalled this afternoon from AAA-Buffalo only days after being sent down. 0-6 in his previous big league at-bats, Valdespin crushed a low pitch from Papelbon deep, deep, deep...gone. A three-run shot, Valdespin's first major league hit, sent Papelbon looking defeated just as he did three years earlier in Boston.
The superhuman effort that the Mets displayed tonight has become typical of a club that is determined to never lay down when the times seem trying. This was displayed through Jonathon Niese's (ND, 4.01 ERA) performance, which was both gritty and a solid bounce back effort. Niese managed to pitch through five innings of battling against a struggling Phillies offense that would have been able to capitalize only two years ago. Niese allowed two runs on four hits and four walks in his outing, a line that would normally spell a lot more trouble for a starter at Citizens Bank Park. However, Niese was able to battle and kept the Mets in the game.
Bobby Parnell came in during the 7th inning to try to keep the game tied at two, and while he succeeded he did so in nail biting fashion. Parnell allowed two hits in his first inning of work and when it appeared that the Phillies had the go-ahead run cross the plate, the Mets caught a break when the umpire called player's interference on Shane Victornio, who slid into 2nd base way off the baseline. This, combined with a strong throw home to nab Wigginton in the 8th and a big strikeout from Tim Byrdak kept the Mets tied with the reigning NL East champions.
The New York Mets will look to win their fourth consecutive game tomorrow evening in Philadelphia at 7:10 PM ET.