Just like old times, Jose Reyes left Citi Field on the losing team.
In the end it wasn’t so much Reyes’ return that captivated the crowd last night, but a pitching duel between Johan Santana and Josh Johnson that ultimately got handed to the bullpens.
“All and all, it was just a great game,” David Wright said after the Mets won for just the second time in seven games. “[Reyes returning] was one of those things where it made the game more fun.”
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post
Photo of the scoreboard at Citi Field, thanking Jose Reyes for the memories.
It was a good end to a day that began with the Mets putting Jason Bay (broken rib) and Mike Pelfrey (elbow) on the disabled list.
Reyes, who left the Mets last winter after the Marlins offered him $106 million over six years, finished 0-for-4 on a night his team mustered only three hits.
The Mets didn’t accomplish much more offensively, using four walks to tie the game at 1-1 in the seventh before Duda hit a shot off reliever Edward Mujica’s hand with two outs in the eighth that went for an RBI single, putting the Mets ahead.
“I saw it hit off his hand and I thought it was going to be an out,” Duda said. “Luckily it didn’t ricochet too far.”
Frank Francisco rebounded from consecutive horrid outings to get the final three outs for his fourth save after Ramon Ramirez and Jon Rauch combined for 1 1/3 shutout innings behind Santana.
In his sharpest start of the season, Santana went 6 2/3 innings and allowed one run on three hits and two walks with 11 strikeouts. The lefty was matched by Johnson who surrendered one earned run on three hits and one walk with nine strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings.
Reyes heard a mixture of cheers and boos during a pregame video tribute and for each plate appearance. He nearly orchestrated a perfect homecoming in his first at-bat, sending a Santana pitch to deep left-center. But Kirk Nieuwenhuis made a lunging catch at the fence to rob Reyes of a certain triple.
“If that is not the lead story tonight, Jose’s return and he crushes one, and our rookie center fielder runs it down and makes a great catch. … We really needed it,” manager Terry Collins said. “We really needed that lift in the beginning and [Nieuwenhuis] gave it to us.”
Gaby Sanchez’s RBI double gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead in the seventh. On the play Ruben Tejada threw a strike to home plate, but Josh Thole got caught between hops and the ball skipped past him, allowing Giancarlo Stanton to score.
In the bottom of the inning, Duda walked with two outs before Collins had Justin Turner pinch-hit for struggling Ike Davis against lefty Randy Choate. Turner walked, and successive walks by Scott Hairston and Thole against Steve Cishek and Mike Dunn, respectively, gave the Mets a run.
Collins said it was a tough decision pinch hitting for Davis.
“I love Ike Davis,” Collins said. “He’s going to hit and we’re going to put this in our past real soon. But it’s not about one guy sometimes — it’s about all 25.”
Davis, who says he had never before been removed for a pinch hitter at any level, understood.
“Obviously I want to hit, but it is his job to win the game as a manager,” Davis said. “It ended up working out, actually, so he did I guess the right move.”
Jose Reyes, Johan Santana, Lucas Duda, Mets, the Mets, the Mets, Josh Johnson, Marlins, Ike Davis, Mike Pelfrey, Josh Thole