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Matt Men’s Satisfying Ending

I’d like to teach the Mets to score with regularity. I’d like for them to cross the plate and do it constantly.

Or at least while Matt Harvey [1] is on the mound.

Monday night the Mets did eventually find a second run to keep the one they’d rustled up ten innings earlier company. By then, they and the Cardinals had played fourteen innings — five more than is generally required, six after Dr. Harvey left his moundtop lab, where he was expertly dissecting St. Louis batters to further advance the cause of humanity.

Harvey (8 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 9 SO, 0 R) logged another start that was as dominant as it had to be without quite being all-encompassing awesome. He doesn’t seem as Dark Knight confounding as he did before they (oh, by the way) operated on his elbow, yet look at what he does. There are small clumps of baserunners, but they don’t much go anywhere. It gets later, he gets better. Someone flashes a stat that he’s not so dazzling when he surpasses 100 pitches. He surpassed 100 pitches against the Cardinals. His 105th pitch retired Matt Holliday [2] and produced an eighth zero for the top line on the scoreboard. Matt gave himself a quick clap into his glove as he exited.

I hope he didn’t pump his fist through a wall when the top of the ninth came around and Jeurys Familia [3] couldn’t do for him what he’d been doing for Met starters all season. The Cardinals scratched out the one run that kept Harvey from notching a sixth win and kept those of us who can’t turn away from Mets baseball tuned in for a couple more hours.

Eventually we arrived at an unambiguous ending [4]. Without much offensive exertion (walk, walk, grounder, intentional walk), the Mets loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourteenth, when it was still 1-1. John Mayberry [5], Jr., pinch-hit and rolled a ball to a spot that kept Eric Campbell [6] from being thrown out at home, which is to say he drove in the winning run, but that somehow doesn’t sound like something John Mayberry, Jr., would do. But he did, and the Mets won in fourteen, 2-1.

Carlos Torres [7] got the win. He pitched two flawless innings. Alex Torres [8] and Hansel Robles [9] were similarly effective. They were about as good as Matt Harvey. I suppose we could say all of them were matched by John Lackey [10] and the five Redbird relievers who preceded the fourteenth. We have to give those guys credit, right? I mean they allowed the Mets one run through thirteen. That’s some kind of pitching, too.

But if we do that, we can’t moan about how the Mets barely hit and make our gripes stick — and we love doing that. The Cardinals have scary bats by both reputation and performance; five of their starters are hitting .298 or better. The Mets’ pinch-hitters from last night currently sport averages of .083, .079 and .139. The guy who got the winning hit is Mr. .139. The .079 guy, Kirk Nieuwenhuis [11], is probably about to be the guy who shuffles off this Metsian coil to make room for Darrell Ceciliani [12]. Who’s Darrell Ceciliani? He’s the guy from Las Vegas [13] who has a low bar to clear in terms of Met bench contributions.

There are a few flickers of light emerging among the Met regulars, but Monday night was a four-hour, fourteen-minute brownout, another caper in which they expertly camouflaged their offensive capabilities. In the end, the Mets saw their way clear to two runs, which was enough to achieve the objective of the evening — winning. It would’ve been much nicer had the win been affixed to Harvey’s record. We know pitcher wins are antiquated nonsense, but they still get kept track of. Harvey has thrown sixteen consecutive scoreless innings, fifteen of them in his last two starts. The Mets are 1-1 in those starts. Harvey is 0-0. His season ERA has dipped in that time from 2.72 to 1.98.

Something doesn’t quite add up there. But what else in the world of Met aces [14] is new?