One of my many little rituals is to wave my hand around during save opportunities to show how many outs there are, as if I'm an extra infielder signalling to the outfield. (I even use the index finger and the pinkie on two outs, I've taught Joshua to do the same, and I've explained to him why you can't just hold up two fingers like a normal person. Yes, I am mentally ill.)
So. Miguel Olivo leads off the ninth with a single. Then Wes Helms bunts him over. OK, fine, a hit ties it, but two productive outs won't get it done. So go get 'em Billy. Oh, and here's the first finger up for my imaginary outfielders to see. One out. Here comes Josh Willingham to pinch-hit. Wagner rears back and fires and…oops. The masters of the walk-off have just been walked-off .
You can't tell what the important parts of a story are until the story's done; with that in mind, the first inning should have been the canary in the coalmine. With Reyes on first, Lo Duca hits one 430 feet — into the glove of Alfredo Amezaga, who would have had to buy a ticket to catch it if he weren't playing in a half-assed conversion of a football stadium. (Someone move this damn team to San Antonio already!) By all rights it should be 2-0 with none out; instead it's 0-0 with one out. So Beltran doubles, Reyes trips over third, and suddenly there are two Mets converging on third base. Beltran loses this particular real-estate dilemma, and now by all rights it should be 2-0 with none out and a runner on second, but instead it's still 0-0, only with two out. And I'm wondering why I'd been so eager to see baseball, since it's obviously designed to torture and bedevil.
Then Delgado singles before Wright strikes out (our Boy Wonder looks like he needs a breather) and we've done it the hard way, but at least we've done it. Dame Fortune's reminded us she can spit in our eye if she wishes, and having proved her point will obviously now step aside like the well-bred lady she's been of late.
Then Pelfrey does a nice job getting a scoreless inning under his belt, giving up a Mike Jacobs single but then getting Miguel Cabrera to hit one straight at the newly arrived Milledge. Except Milledge doesn't catch the ball. Cody Ross promptly doubles to tie the game, and if not for the fact that Cabrera isn't playing hard, we should be down 2-1. OK, Dame Fortune, I'm paying attention again.
There was a lot to like later in this game. Beltran is a one-man offensive show right now, Lo Duca is on a tear, and best of all Pelfrey showed some good off-speed stuff and did a terrific job getting through the sixth, punching out Olivo and Amezaga. Bradford and Heilman were flawless on Day One Post-Sanchez, and thanks to Reyes, Pelfrey would have been in line for a gritty-if-not-pretty win.
But that was before Wagner threw a fastball that missed by “about 17 inches.” On further review, Dame Fortune let us know how this one would go way back in the first, didn't she?