It would have been easy for the Mets to let Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Atlanta halt their early season success. It certainly seemed possible entering the 8th inning of yesterday’s game in San Diego, that the outstanding offensive start for the ball club was merely an aberration, before entering their usual offensive doldrums.
In fact, entering the 8th, the Mets had collected only three runs in their last 25 innings, dating back to the beginning of Tuesday’s 7-1 loss to Atlanta. They had just narrowly escaped a bases loaded, nobody out jam in the bottom of the 7th, and had been limited to just four hits in the first seven innings by San Diego starter Jake Peavy. But Peavy was out, and the bats suddenly came alive.
Xavier Nady doubled on an 0-2 count, and after Kaz Matsui grounded out to third, Julio Franco came to the plate as a pinch hitter. Four pitches later, Franco became the oldest player in major league history to hit a home run, and the Mets took a 3-2 lead.
After piling on four more runs that inning, and eventually winning the game 7-2, one thing was clear: this team may not have exorcised the Atlanta demons yet, but they haven’t been defeated by them either.