More often than not, baseball doesn’t make a ton of sense. That was especially true tonight as the Mets scored the most runs they have all season against the Tampa Bay Rays, a team that prides itself on preventing runs. Although the Mets managed just a modest three runs in the first six innings tonight, they erupted for six scores in the seventh inning en route to an 11-2 pasting.
It certainly helped that the Rays were starting Alex Cobb, who was only with the team because of an injury to Jeff Niemann. However, the 24-year-old right hander was cruising along pretty well until the Amazin’ offense kicked into high gear with two outs in the seventh. Kirk Nieunwenhuis walked to give the rally a spark, and Jordanny Valdespin followed by scorching a double down the right field line to get Kirk home and make the score 4-2 New York.
Cobb was instructed by Rays manager Joe Maddon to walk David Wright before J.P Howell was brought in to pitch to a trio of Mets lefties. Maddon had the best intentions in mind and it made perfect sense to bring in the lefty Howell against Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis. Of course, that didn’t stop the game from spiraling out of Tampa’s control.
Duda hit a spinner down the third baseline for an infield hit. That loaded the bases for the ice cold Murph, who blew the game open when his soft line drive fell into the center field turf. Two more came around to score, and the Mets led 6-2. Ike Davis was up next and he smashed a payoff pitch into the right field seats to get three more in and effectively end the game.
As is customary for the Mets, they did not just have one two-out rally in this game. Still behind 2-1 in the fifth inning, New York got a single from Omar Quintanilla and a double from Nieuwenhuis to put runners on second and third with two outs. Valdespin followed with a liner to left center that scored a pair to give the Mets a 3-2 lead.
Chris Young and his mid-80s fastball did a great job to keep the Rays off the scoreboard while the Mets were still scuffling on offense. Although Young did let up a pair of runs in the first inning on a Hideki Matsui RBI single and a Will Rhymes sac fly, he was quite solid for the rest of his five and two-thirds innings. Young even managed to pitch around a bizarre incident in which Niewenhuis lost a routine fly in Tropicana Field’s white roof.