July 7, 2005: Mets Defeat Nats in 11

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Date: July 7, 2005
Mets starter: Kris Benson
Mets: 3
Nationals: 2
Winning pitcher: Heath Bell
Key player(s): Mike Piazza, Carlos Beltran, Heath Bell
Key play: Piazza’s double in 4th and single in 11th

The Mets faced the Nationals on a Thursday afternoon in Washington. The teams played the finale of a four-game series. The Mets scored a run in the 11th inning for a 3-2 win.

Jose Reyes drew a walk against Nats’ starter Tony Armas to lead off the top of the first. Reyes stole second base and advanced to third on Mike Cameron’s sacrifice bunt. Carlos Beltran grounded out to shortstop Jamey Carroll to drive home Reyes with the first run of the game. Cliff Floyd singled and Armas struck out Mike Piazza to end the inning. Mets’ starter Kris Benson then pitched a perfect bottom half.

After a scoreless second, Armas set down the Mets on three consecutive outfield fly balls in the top of the third. Armas and Brad Wilkerson got back-to-back singles with one out in the bottom of the inning. Carroll lined out to right fielder Cameron and a double by Jose Vidro brought home both Armas and Wilkerson for a 2-1 Washington lead. Benson then got Carlos Baerga on a foul pop-up to catcher Piazza for the inning’s third out.

Beltran hit a single to open the top of the fourth. Floyd was called out on strikes and Piazza doubled to score Beltran with the tying run. Marlon Anderson fouled out to catcher Brian Schneider and a fly ball by David Wright was caught by center fielder Marlon Byrd to close out the inning. Benson set down the Nationals in order in the bottom half and Armas retired all three Mets batters in the top of the fifth. To begin the bottom of the inning, Matthew Cepicky hit a double to center field. Armas was struck out and Wilkerson flied out to left fielder Floyd. Carroll singled to send Cepicky to third base and moved to second on a throw. Vidro was walked intentionally to load the bases. Baerga then grounded back to Benson for the final out of the inning.

Armas and Benson each pitched scoreless ball in the sixth and seventh. Washington reliever Hector Carrasco surrendered just a walk to Cameron in the top of the eighth. New York’s Roberto Hernandez hurled a perfect bottom half and the Nats’ Chad Cordero gave up only a single to Anderson in the top of the ninth. Leading off the bottom of the inning, Schneider singled against Mets’ reliever Heath Bell. Byrd’s sacrifice bunt sent Schneider to second base and Cepicky drew a walk. Pinch-hitter Jose Guillen was retired on a fly ball to center fielder Beltran. Bell then got Wilkerson to hit a force play grounder to third baseman Wright and finish off the inning.

Nationals’ reliever Luis Ayala set down the side in order in the top of the 10th. Bell hurled a perfect bottom half and Beltran hit a one-out double in the top of the 11th. Floyd was given an intentional walk and Piazza singled to bring home Beltran for a one-run Mets lead. On the play, Floyd was out at home via Carroll’s relay throw to Schneider. Trying to advance, Piazza was out at second base on Schneider’s throw to Carroll to complete an inning-ending double play.

Mets’ reliever Braden Looper retired Vinny Castilla on a ground ball to shortstop Reyes to start the bottom of the 11th. Schneider flied out to Floyd and a walk to Byrd ensued. Looper then got pinch-hitter Wil Cordero to fly out to Floyd and bring the game to an end. The Mets had an extra-inning victory to close out the series.