They say the third time’s a charm. Well, last night proved it as the Mets came back again for the third straight game to win in improbable fashion. Down 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth against the best closer baseball has ever seen, Daniel Murphy stepped to the plate and doubled down the leftfield line to start the inning. Immediately afterward, David Wright came up huge once again by driving home the game-tying run. Then, Lucas Duda stepped up to the plate.
Lucas Duda lined a shot off Mariano Rivera for a walk-off game winner, tagging Rivera with his first blown save and loss of the season. You just read something with “Lucas Duda”, “Mariano Rivera”, and “walk-off game winner” in the same sentence. We’re not kidding, it actually happened! How amazing is that!? In unquestionably the biggest hit and at-bat in Duda’s career, Duda and all his Mets teammates basked in the glory of the victory, as Mets fans everywhere celebrated like the team won the World Series. And rightfully so – we fans deserve a win like this every 8 or so years.
And talk about an amazing stat: it was the first time in his CAREER that Rivera has blown a save without recording an out. And it also was fitting since the Mets honored Rivera before the game for his “Hall of Fame” career. No doubt Mo is a class act and deserves all the praise he receives league-wise, but I still have trouble with the Mets honoring opposing players before, during, or after games. They probably wouldn’t have to do it if more players wearing Mets uniforms deserved to be honored, but anyway, that’s a minor pet peeve of ours which means nothing in the grand scheme of things (unlike why Ike Davis is still on the major league team – he’s making last year’s Jason Bay look like an All-Star).
It was nice to see Duda deliver in that spot. You know Daniel Murphy can put the bat on the ball, and nothing David Wright does surprises us anymore. But Duda? Against Mariano? Most people will tell you that Duda has over-achieved so far this season. He’s seeing the ball better, has a better idea on pitch selection, he’s working out more walks, and he’s hitting the ball hard on a more consistent basis. But even with all this improvement, the 27-year-old still is only hitting .242 with just 17 rbis hitting in the heart of the batting order. And 9 of those rbis came as a result of his homeruns – in other words he has 8 rbis total this year in his 148 other at-bats. Not good, and it’s just another reason Duda wouldn’t sniff a major league roster if not for the Mets player development incompetency. But last night was Duda night and he actually earned his place in Mets folklore, similar to Dave Mlicki. We’ll take it!
Last night’s game is destined to become the highlight of the Mets season and those who saw it live were treated to another great Mets moment, just like the other night when David Wright hugged the kid after another Mets comeback win. (watch the video – it’ll make you cry it was so heartfelt).
And just after an amazing game like this, the Mets have to play the Yankees at Yankee Stadium today with 0-5 Jeremy Hefner taking the hill. Call it Murphy’s Law.