7,544: Pelfrey perfect through 3 2/3, Mets top O’s 6-4

Could today be the day? No.

The Baltimore Orioles’ Nick Markakis lined an opposite-field fourth-inning single to left Tuesday night to end Mike Pelfrey’s quest for a no-hitter at Camden Yards.

“Well, there goes another chance at the first Mets no-hitter, Gar,” SNY color commentator Keith Hernandez said, as we upped our count to 7,544 games.

“Keith, it’s never going to happen,” play-by-play man Gary Cohen responded. “You shouldn’t even bother worrying about it. It will never happen.”

Sigh.

The good news is the Mets got a win out of Pelfrey, although he was unable to make it out of the sixth inning. He threw 5 2/3 innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and three walks.

The Mets jumped on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning with a four-run rally that started before the game’s first hit for either team.

After Fernando Martinez drew a walk and Carlos Beltran reached base when second baseman Brian Roberts booted a double-play ball, David Wright singled to left to score Martinez.

Ryan Church then lined a single to left to score Beltran, and Gary Sheffield followed with a hard single to right to load the bases.

Daniel Murphy followed with a line-drive sacrifice fly to the right-field warning track to score Wright, and Brian Schneider singled up the middle to score Church.

Pelfrey got into a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning but struck out Roberts with two outs to escape unscathed.

Thing didn’t go as well for him in the sixth. No-no killer Marakis also killed Pelf’s shutout, blasting an up-the-middle pitch over the right-center field wall to make it 4-2 Mets.

The Mets added a couple of unearned insurance runs in the seventh inning when Aubrey Huff dropped a bases-loaded Wright fly ball behind first.

The bullpen was solid until the ninth. Bobby Parnell came on and gave up back to back singles, prompting Mets’ skipper Jerry Manuel to call on closer Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod sandwiched a strikeout between a couple of walks, the second of which forced in a run to make it 6-3. Another run scored on a groundout, but K-Rod struck out Adam Jones to secure the Mets’ win.

A Pelfrey no-no Tuesday night would have been perfect – 31 years to the day after longtime Met Tom Seaver threw his first and only career no-no.

So is there any hope for a New York Mets no-hitter?

Cohen left us with a little: “And if it does, it’ll be from the most unlikely candidate at the most unlikely time.”

I’ll take that, but after 7,544 games, EVERY Mets’ starter is an unlikely candidate and EVERY game is the most unlikely time.

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