WHEN THE METS BEAT THE NATIONALS THE DAY AFTER • Latino Sports

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WHEN THE METS BEAT THE NATIONALS THE DAY AFTER

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Latino Sports welcomes new writer, Jonathan Yaghoubi, whose first game for us just happened to be a two-day affair when the Mets played a 14 inning game."It was fitting that my wild long day ended with a wild pitch," he summed up. New York — In my very first game as a reporter at Shea Stadium for Latino Sports, the Mets and Nats nearly took my first game into a two day assignment. Joel Harnahan’s wild pitch in the bottom of the 14th allowed Damion Easley to score the winning run as the Mets completed a 3-game sweep of the Nationals with a 3-2 victory.

The Mets, who left 14 runners on base, were finally able to end the 4 hour 45 minute game thanks to Harnahan’s wildness. Easley led off with a single to left. After a failed sacrifice from Reyes, Easley would advance to second on a wild pitch and to third on an errant pickoff throw by Hanrahan before scoring on the first pitch after two intentional walks. It was the Mets second comeback win a row before heading to Philly for a three-game weekend set.

Many Acta had forced Willie Randolph’s hand into using his last bench player, Brian Schneider, to pinch hit for eventual winning pitcher Jorge Sosa (2-1) after intentional walks to Wright and Delgado. On the very first pitch Schneider saw, Harnahan threw a 58 foot slider that never had a chance to be caught by the catcher and Easley would easily score.

The big play in the game came back in the bottom of the 8th inning. With the Nats up 2-1 and 2 outs, Ryan Church hit a grounder to second that appeared to end the inning but Ronnie Belliard booted the ball which allowed the inning to continue. After a walk to David Wright, Manny Acta took Saul Rivera out for Jon Rauch. With the count to 2-2, Rauch tried to come in with a fastball, but didn’t get it in enough, to Carlos Delgado who lined a single to right that allowed Church to score the tying run.

Both starters were outstanding in their no decisions. Nelson Figueroa had his second straight great outing going 7 strong innings. But the story was also Long Island native and Nats rookie, John Lannan. Lannan pitched 6 great innings allowing only 1 run and three hits while striking out 11.

At first it looked like it was not going to be a good start for Lannan as he gave up a leadoff single to Jose Reyes. Ryan Church then followed with an RBI double to left that gave the Mets a 1-0 lead. Lannan would then settle down big time as he would go on to retire 16 batters in a row until a one-out single from Reyes in the 6th inning broke the string.

Lannan became the first rookie left-hander to record 10 or more strikeouts in a start without a walk since Noah Lowry did it for the Giants against the Mets in San Francisco on Aug. 20, 2004, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Figueroa was just as good as he picked where he left off from last Friday’s start. He would breeze through the first three innings striking 5 batters out. The only blemish to his evening was the top of the 4th. After striking Ronnie Belliard out, he would allow his first hit of the night on an infield single to Ryan Zimmerman. Nick Johnson would follow up with a two run homer to left field that gave the Nats a 2-1 lead. Milledge would follow up with a single of his own. That was the last hit they would have until the 11th.

The Mets bullpen was outstanding as five relievers combined for 7-shutout, including 1-2/3 from Duaner Sanchez, who returned this week after a 21-month absence. When Sanchez departed with two out in the 11th and Christian Guzman on first, and Pedro Feliciano then issued a four-pitch walk to Nick Johnson, Joe Smith entered and retired Lastings Milledge on an inning-ending fielder's choice. Smith improved to 6-for-6 in stranded runners this season, and also contributed a scoreless 12th.

As my colleague wrote in the previous article, it was a surreal experience for me and a dream come true. To be able to stand on the field before the game and sit in the press box was amazing. It was fitting that my wild long day ended with a wild pitch.

About Jonathan E. Yaghoubi