Carlos Beltran lined a 2-0 slider off the glove of first-baseman Micah Hoffpauir Thursday night to give the Mets a ninth-inning 7-6 walk-off win over the Chicago Cubs.
With the well-needed come-from-behind victory, the Mets creep to one game behind the idle Philadelphia Phillies in the N.L. East and remain tied for the wild-card spot with the Milwaukee Brewers, who beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-1. All three teams have three games left on their schedules.
The rain-soaked game once again put Mets fans on an emotional roller coaster ride, as the team twice came from behind before finally winning it on a ninth-inning a rally that started on a Jose Reyes 3-2 single. After Daniel Murphy struck out while trying to bunt Reyes over to second, Reyes stole the base on a David Wright strikeout. After the Cubs intentionally walked Carlos Delgado, Beltran came through in the clutch.
Hoffpauir couldn’t snag Beltran’s ninth-inning liner, but the Cubs rookie had the night of his life (5-for-5, 5 RBIs and two homers – the first two of his Major League career). Hoffpauir hit a solo home run off Pedro Martinez in the first, an RBI double in the third and then, after manager Jerry Manuel pulled starter Pedro Martinez with no outs in the seventh, a three-run homer on the first pitch by reliever Ricardo Rincon. That gave the Cubs a 6-3 lead.
Robinson Cancel led off the bottom of the seventh with a double, advanced to third on a ground out by Marlon Anderson and scored on a ground out by Jose Reyes, cutting the Cubs lead to 6-4.
The Mets rallied to tie the game with two outs in the eighth. After Beltran and Ryan Church singled, Beltran stole third and Ramon Martinez singled him home. Then Ramon Cancel singled home Church.
Pedro Martinez gave up two first-inning runs but settled in to pitch six-plus innings, giving up seven hits and two walks while throwing a season-high nine strikouts. But after Rincon’s first pitch he was charged with five earned runs and put on the hook for the loss. Martinez lost his no-hitter in the first inning with Hoffpauir’s first homer, making it 7,479 games without a New York Mets no-no.
David Wright got the Mets on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning with a sacrifice fly to center to score Reyes, who had reached base on an error. Church tied the game the at 3 in the fourth with a double down the right field line that scored Beltran and Wright, who both reached base on walks.