Once again, boom goes the dynamite. The Mets offensive barrage against the Tampa Bay Rays leaked into the final game of the series, helping the team secure an interleague sweep in a 9-6 victory.
The offense continued to be timely. Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Jason Bay kicked off the game with a pair of solo shots. The jumpstart helped the Mets stay in the game despite the continued struggles that Johan Santana experienced.
Santana improved to 4-3 today although he got knocked around in five innings. The Rays picked up six hits and four runs off him. Johan’s stuff hasn’t been quite sharp since his extraordinary June 1 start, but at least he is finally getting the run support he deserves.
Meanwhile, Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson came into this game having a simply fine season. Then then Mets teed off against him for nine hits and eight earned runs in 3.2 innings of work. Nieuwenhuis added his second home run of the game, upping his total on the year to five.
Other offensive standouts today include Lucas Duda, who drove in three runs on his ninth double of the year. David Wright also went 3-4, raising his average to .358.
It was nice to see that Jason Bay has a heartbeat after he launched his home run, but that was all he had in store for the day. Ike Davis on the other hand could actually be coming around. He went 2-4 today with a couple of RBI.
That was essentially enough scoring for the Mets to lock down the win. The typical bullpen theatrics came in the ninth inning, but not before three scoreless innings from Jon Rauch, Tim Byrdak, and Bobby Parnell. Mets pitching struck out 11.
Miguel Batista allowed two runs in the ninth and that brought Frank Francisco in a tight situation.
For all the ninth inning nausea in this game, Francisco did throw one of the nastiest knee-high splitters possible to end the game on a called third strike. He notched save number 16 on the year.
With the win and the sweep, the streaky Mets find themselves back up six games over .500. It has literally been the best possible way to rebound from the rough Subway Series bout last weekend. The Mets sit in second place in the division sitting 4.5 games behind the Nationals.
With an impressive 35-29 record, the Mets have the NL Central leading Cincinnati Reds waiting for them at Citi Field this weekend.