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And Yet It Should Have Been Worse

Bottom of the 7th

B Gardner singled to center.

Ivan Nova was quietly terrible, short-arming the ball and giving up hit after hit after hit. But after their early flurry of singles, the Mets (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) couldn’t seem to get the big hit that would put him away. Games like that slowly turn from confident affairs in which you calmly wait for the worm to turn to anxious ones where you realize the worm is going to stay right where he is and you’ll be cursing about it under your breath hours later. As Nova wiggled out of jam after jam, helped immeasurably by the unfortunately rather awesome glove of Mark Teixeira, Mike Pelfrey was also pitching not terribly impressively while avoiding major trouble. Starting the seventh, Brett Gardner whacked a single up the middle, between Pelfrey’s legs and just out of his reach. It seemed ominous, but there had been lots of ominous things that hadn’t led to anything.

C Dickerson walked, B Gardner to second.

And that was a bad idea.

F Cervelli hit by pitch, B Gardner to third, C Dickerson to second.

The ball, fortunately, didn’t hit Cervelli square in the face. Yes, I meant “fortunately.” He’s Francisco Cervelli, who’s Victorino-level annoying and a Yankee. But let’s still not have people get hit in the face. Instead it drilled him in the upper arm near the shoulder, which was bad enough. And now that we’re done being human and all, it loaded the bases. That was worse.

D Jeter singled, B Gardner and C Dickerson scored, F Cervelli to second.

Oh, it was gritty. It was classy. It was such a team hit that Jeter’s current teammates found their ailments cured and dead Yankees materialized in spirit form in Monument Park to announce via pinstriped Oujia board that their only desire was to have been born later so they too could be Jeter’s teammates. Actually it was a horrible little bouncer that just eluded Pelfrey’s glove and then just slipped under Reyes’s. The bastard hell-child of Luis Sojo’s horrible little bouncer, in other words. Perhaps it was Jeter’s intangibles that guided it past those gloves worn by mere mortals. I began clawing divots in my own flesh here.

C Granderson sacrificed to third, F Cervelli to third, D Jeter to second.

An out, thanks to a phenomenally stupid play by a great hitter. Granderson had been launching homers all weekend and Tim Byrdak was facing a huge mess. Why on earth would you give up an out there? Baseball is so beautiful that it offends me to see it played idiotically, even if it’s a Yankee doing the idiotic thing. By the way, Willie Harris almost threw the ball away.

M Teixeira intentionally walked.

Teixeira frightens me. He looks like a lunatic at the plate, like he’s about to snarl and run out and bite the pitcher. I can’t help thinking this even though his interviews reveal him to be almost comically bland. Mark Teixeira would never bite a pitcher because that would be interesting.

A Rodriguez reached on infield single to third, F Cervelli scored, D Jeter to third, M Teixeira to second.

God bless Pedro Beato for saying he dislikes the Yankees and nobody in his family roots for them. That’s awesome. Beato got A-Rod to do exactly what the Mets wanted, hitting a little grounder to an infielder. Unfortunately, he hit it so softly (it barely made a sound) that it trickled to Harris, who had to hold onto it. As Harris raced in, Beato hit the dirt, lying prone in the grass. With the play lost, he looked like he had half a mind to stay there. I felt the same way.

R Cano singled to right, D Jeter scored, M Teixeira to third, A Rodriguez to second.

First decently hit ball of the inning. I held my breath and tried to die. Stupid involuntary muscles.

J Posada struck out looking.

He struck out looking because the ball was practically in the dirt, one of several third strikes called on Yankees by Eric Cooper that were questionable at best. Not that I was sad.

B Gardner doubled to left, M Teixeira and A Rodriguez scored, R Cano to third.

A little parachute that landed in short left, perfectly placed. Long after the game, Joshua looked at the play by play and asked, “You mean four guys batted twice in the same inning?” I don’t remember what I said, because I was in the fetal position.

C Dickerson singled to left, R Cano and B Gardner scored.

Another mighty hit — a little humpbacker that dropped in just beyond Reyes. Yes, they do all count.

F Cervelli safe at first on error by third baseman W Harris, C Dickerson to second.

Because what I’d been thinking was, “This inning is humiliating and makes me want to vomit, but since the Mets haven’t made an error, I have no urge to kill myself.” That Willie Harris, he provides.

D Jeter grounded out to second.

Actually he beat the throw.

So there you have it [1]. Four Mets pitchers gave up eight runs on six hits (one struck with any kind of authority), two walks, a hit batter and an error. Which seems deeply unfair, except the three outs they actually recorded came on a moronic sacrifice, a called third strike that wasn’t a strike and an incorrect call at first. It actually should have been much worse.

Don’t worry if you missed it: I have it on decent authority that this half-inning will be the only thing available on MLB.com in Hell.