2009-05-27 / Sports

Mets Defeat Nationals After Memorial Day Ceremonies

Mets Defeat Nationals After  Memorial Day Ceremonies


Photo Dan Miller/DMD Images

By Dan Miller
The Mets paid tribute to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice defending this nation in ceremonies prior to their Memorial Day game versus the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on Monday May 25. The Citi Field outfield was filled with family members of military personnel who were stationed overseas in the 53rd Army Liaison team stationed at Camp Victory in Baghdad. The Army and Navy held re-enlistment and promotion ceremonies along the first base sidelines while the U.S. Marine Corps marching band entertained the paid crowd of 41,103. The first pitch was thrown out by Brigadier General Joseph Anderson, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The game was broadcast live around the world on American Forces Network in 175 countries and on all U.S. Navy ships. The stands held hundreds of men and women in uniform who were  guests of the Mets.

 The Mets came into the game 1- 1/2 games behind the league leading Philadelphia. By the end of the evening the Mets gained a full game on both the Phillies and the second place Braves.

John Maine (3-3, 4.53 ERA) started for the Mets while John Lannan (2-3, 3.63 ERA) started for the Nats.

Photo Dan Miller/DMD Images

 The Mets trailed 1-0 when the Nationals scored the first run of the game in the second inning on a double by Harris off Maine and a single by W. Nieves, scoring Harris. The Nationals led until the Mets tied the game in the third inning, when with two out Pagan walked and Castillo singled to right center, moving Pagan to third. Carlos Beltran then singled to left center, scoring Pagan. The score was Mets 1, Nationals 1.

 The Mets broke the game open in the sixth inning on a three-run home run by Gary Sheffield. His home run broke a 1-1 tie and it was all the Mets needed behind strong pitching from their starter, Maine, and their bullpen.

Sheffield’s blast was challenged by the Nationals when they complained that a fan interfered with the ball that was coming down near the top of the left field wall. The home run call was upheld after the second replay review in Citi Field history. The homer gave the Mets a lead that they made stand up for a win. The Mets win, coupled with  losses by the Phillies at home against the Florida Marlins and the Atlanta Braves in San Francisco versus the Giants moved the Mets into sole possession of second place,  just half a game behind the league leading Phillies.

 Sheffield was named Player of the game. The wining pitcher was Mets starter Maine, who is now (W, 4-3). Maine pitched a strong game, tossing six innings and giving up one run on four hits while walking three and striking out four. He lowered his ERAQ to 4.18. The loser was Nats starter Lannan (L, 2-4) who pitched five innings, giving up five runs on five hits while walking five and no strikeouts.  The big blow was Sheffield’s three-run blast in the Mets’ sixth. The Mets tacked on an insurance run in the sixth when after Sheffield’s dinger  David Wright walked. Fernando Tatis struck out swinging. Omir Santos singled to right field. David Wright moved to third base. Martinez’ sacrifice fly scored Wright with the fourth run of the inning, giving the Mets a 5-1 lead.

Mets closer Francisco K-Rod Rodriguez entered the game in the ninth and chalked up his 13th save of the season, yielding a walk and a single in the ninth but shutting the door on the Nationals by getting Austin Kearns to strike out and Willie Harris to pop out to Luis Castillo to end the game with the tying run at the plate.

Game Highlights: Maine won his fourth straight start against Washington with 6.0 innings of one run ball. Maine is 4-1 with a 2.75 ERA.

Ryan Zimmerman has reached base in 43 straight games after a third inning single and now owns the single franchise mark for  the Nationals. Tim Raines had reached base in 42 straight games in 1986.

Mets Notes: Sheffield’s home run, the 503rd of his career, moved him within one notch of Eddie Murray for 24th place on the all-time list. His home run in the sixth broke a 1-1 tie. All four of Sheffield’s home runs this season have either tied the game (two) or given the Mets the lead (two). Sheffield has driven in seven runs in his last five starts and is hitting .357 (15-42) with 16 runs scored, two doubles, three home runs and 10 RBI in his last 15 games.



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