The Mets put up a four-spot in the fourth inning against Scott Olsen, Jorge Sosa held the Marlins at bay, and the relievers hung on despite two late Florida runs and the Mets leaving the bases loaded in the seventh and eighth. Seems pretty straightforward.
Ah, but it wasn't. Depending on which medium you were enjoying, Gary and Keith and Howie and Tom did a great job dissecting two half-innings that could have gone very, very differently but for a mischance here and a play not quite made there.
Marlins third: Abercrombie singled to left. Abercrombie stole second. Olsen sacrificed to pitcher, Abercrombie to third. Amezaga hit sacrifice fly to right, Abercrombie scored. Uggla popped out to second. Marlins 1, Mets 0.
Abercrombie's single went to left, manned by Damion Easley now that Moises Alou, Shawn Green and Carlos Gomez are on the shelf. Easley was playing back, and Abercrombie's single was a parachute that Endy Chavez probably would have caught. (No insult to Easley — he's not an outfielder.) Abercombie's steal of second drew no throw from Ramon Castro, because Scott Olsen practically fell across the plate swinging and getting in Castro's way. If Ed Hickox calls interference, Abercrombie is out. If Chavez is in left the pitcher's hitting with none on and one out. If the umpire makes a call he arguably should have made, same situation.
Mets fourth: Gotay struck out swinging. Beltran walked. Wright singled to right, Beltran to second. Delgado singled to right, Beltran scored, Wright to second. Wright stole third, Delgado stole second. Easley reached on infield single to second, Wright scored, Delgado scored on throwing error by second baseman Uggla. Easley to second on wild pitch by Olsen. Castro struck out swinging. Chavez singled to left, Easley scored. Sosa struck out looking. Mets 4, Marlins 1.
Wright's single to right was a little floater that wound up in no-man's land — not a bad play, but lousy luck for Olsen. On the double-steal, Miguel Olivo threw to third, trying to get a fast runner with the batter blocking him out instead of trying to nail the lead-footed Delgado unobstructed. Easley's two-run infield single was a tough play, but the error on Uggla that let the second run score was first baseman Aaron Boone's fault — an inexperienced first baseman, he wasn't properly positioned for a throw that sailed a bit to the left of the bag. The wild pitch escaped Olivo because he made very little effort to slide his body left to get in front of it. Endy's single? It was past Miguel Cabrera, inexplicably playing in with two outs. If Cabrera's positioned normally, he throws Endy out. Toss out the bad luck for Olsen and plays not made because his teammates were out of position or not thinking, and it's 1-1 or perhaps still 1-0. Olsen probably hasn't thrown 44 pitches and maybe isn't fantasizing about what various teammates would look like if he were to catch them across their snouts with a hurled bag of Soilmaster. But what's done is done, and the game is basically lost.
There are probably several thousand things I love about baseball. But one of the biggest ones is that it rewards wide-eyed fandom, occasional attention and experienced, careful scrutiny alike, but in different ways. To a new fan (my four-year-old, for instance), that Mets fourth was a merry parade of unexpected events ending with a crooked number for the good guys. To a fan paying idle attention (lots of us at various points), the game was good company, with a couple of weird plays thrown in for interest. And to a veteran fan watching closely, it was a reminder that games turn on the littlest things, and the recap sometimes doesn't tell anything close to the whole story.