Costly error trips up Mets in 14-inning marathon
Young's miscue in right leads to Brignac's walk-off single
PHILADELPHIA -- By the 14th inning Friday, the temperature had dropped and winds were swirling all around Citizens Bank Park. Still, none of that affected Mets outfielder Chris Young as he circled under Marlon Byrd's fly ball and raised his glove.
"It was like I'm looking dead at it, the ball's coming down and I just completely lost it," Young said. "I got a little blurry and it's like I didn't even see it."
The ball glanced off Young's glove and dropped to the turf for a leadoff two-base error, setting the wheels of the Mets' 6-5 loss to the Phillies in motion. Three batters later, Reid Brignac lined a walk-off single off Jenrry Mejia, dropping the Mets to defeat in a game that might have continued indefinitely if not for Young's error.
"It was just a flub up," Young said. "I don't know what happened, but there's no excuse. [It was a] big mistake in a game where if you play that long, you want to be able to win. For me not to come up with that play, it [stinks]."
The clubhouse around Young was near-silent as he discussed his critical play. His "flub up" was a body blow for the Mets, whose bullpen had delivered eight shutout innings heading into the 14th. Emptying their 'pen, the Mets received standout performances from Josh Edgin, Jeurys Familia, Scott Rice, Carlos Torres and Vic Black, and were looking to continue the trend with their closer, Mejia.
Things just did not work out that way for a Mets team that snapped its three-game winning streak. After Young's error, Mejia gave up a single to Carlos Ruiz and intentionally walked Cesar Hernandez, bringing up Brignac with the bases loaded and no outs.
"I was surprised because [Young] is real good out there, but that wind was crazy later on in the game," Byrd said. "It kind of got turned around. I hit it good, but then it just kept fading away and then coming back in."
Still searching for offense on a daily basis, the Mets found themselves starved for it as they descended into extra innings. Given all the baserunners that Phillies starter A.J. Burnett supplied them, they had plenty of opportunities to do more early damage than they did. Burnett walked six on the night, including two in a row to open the second inning, and the Mets took advantage of those with RBI hits from Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada and a run-scoring groundout from Travis d'Arnaud. But they were unable to score after Burnett walked two more batters to start the next inning.
Two additional runs came in the fifth, when Bobby Abreu doubled home Juan Lagares and Daniel Murphy. But that was all the Mets scored off Burnett, who struck out 11, allowed five hits and walked six.
It was hardly a standout outing, but it was better than what Rafael Montero gave the Mets. After Domonic Brown hit a three-run homer that just barely cleared Citizens Bank Park's right-field wall in the fourth inning, Montero put three of the next four Phillies on base. Jimmy Rollins' two-out walk finally ended his night at 80 pitches.
"It was a little bad tonight," Montero said through an interpreter.
"The troubling part is the deep counts," manager Terry Collins said. "That's not how we thought he would attack when he came up here. Certainly his whole history, as we've said so many times before, is he's a strike-thrower."
Though the Mets won each of the first three games they played with new hitting coach Lamar Johnson, most of that was due to decent starting pitching and a standout bullpen. The Mets still have not hit much lately, scoring a total of 13 runs over the three-game winning streak that they brought into Friday's game.
Their hope was that hitter-friendly ballparks in Philadelphia and Chicago would supercharge the start of their 11-game road trip, helping them shrug away the offensive doldrums that have plagued them throughout their homestands at Citi Field. Yet Friday's game featured the opposite.
As the Mets descended deeper and deeper into extra innings, it became clear that one mistake might decide things.
Young, who was not in the starting lineup, was the one who wound up making it.
"You feel terrible for anybody," Collins said of Young, whose 0-for-2 night dropped his average to .202. "I don't care if you're hitting .400. You drop a fly ball and cost your team that's played so hard for five hours, you feel terrible for them. But we've got to come out tomorrow and get ready to play again."