May 1, 2005: Three Runs in 9th Jolt Nats

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Date: May 1, 2005
Mets starter: Aaron Heilman
Mets: 6
Nationals: 3
Winning pitcher: Roberto Hernandez
Key player(s): Cliff Floyd, Carlos Beltran, Miguel Cairo
Key play: Cairo’s sacrifice fly, Beltran’s two-run double

The Mets faced the Nationals on a Sunday night in Washington. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. The Mets scored three runs in the ninth inning for a 6-3 win.

Miguel Cairo singled against Nats’ starter John Patterson with one out in the top of the first. Cairo advanced to third base on a single by Carlos Beltran. With Cliff Floyd at bat, Beltran got caught by Patterson’s pickoff throw and was tagged out by shortstop Cristian Guzman. On the play, Cairo came home for a 1-0 Mets lead. Patterson retired Floyd on a pop-up to catcher Gary Bennett for the third out. Mets’ starter Aaron Heilman then set down the side in order in the bottom half.

After a scoreless second, Patterson pitched a perfect top of the third. Bennett and Guzman got back-to-back singles to begin the bottom of the inning. Patterson’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third base and a walk to Brad Wilkerson loaded the bases. Nick Johnson hit a single to drive home Bennett and Guzman. Jose Vidro walked to reload the bases and a sacrifice fly by Jose Guillen scored Wilkerson for a 3-1 Washington lead. Heilman then struck out Vinny Castilla to end the inning.

Beltran hit a one-out double in the top of the fourth. Floyd doubled to bring home Beltran and a walk to Mike Piazza ensued. Doug Mientkiewicz was retired on a fly ball to center fielder Wilkerson. David Wright hit a single to score Floyd and tie the game at 3-3. A balk sent the runners to second and third before a walk to Eric Valent loaded the bases. Patterson retired Heilman on an inning-ending line drive to right fielder Guillen. Aaron then set down all three Nationals batters in the bottom half.

Patterson and Heilman each hurled scoreless fifth and sixth innings. Pinch-hitter Kazuo Matsui singled against Washington reliever Joey Eischen to lead off the top of the seventh. Matsui advanced to second base on Bennett’s passed ball and the Nats’ Hector Carrasco struck out Jose Reyes. Carrasco got Cairo to foul out to Guzman and retired Beltran on a fly ball to Wilkerson that closed out the inning. Mets’ reliever Roberto Hernandez gave up just a single to Guzman in the bottom half and the Nationals’ Luis Ayala yielded only a single to Mientkiewicz in the top of the eighth. Hernandez then limited the Nats to a single by Guillen in the bottom of the inning.

Valent hit a single to open the top of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Marlon Anderson singled and Reyes got a bunt single to load the bases. Cairo followed with a sacrifice fly to score Valent and put the Mets ahead, 4-3. Beltran hit a double to drive home Anderson and Reyes, increasing the New York lead to three runs. Floyd was retired on a pop-up to second baseman Vidro. Piazza then grounded back to Ayala for the inning’s final out.

Mets’ reliever Braden Looper retired Ryan Church on a ground ball to second baseman Cairo to start the bottom of the ninth. Bennett popped out to first baseman Mientkiewicz and a triple by Guzman ensued. Pinch-hitter Terrmel Sledge drew a walk. Wilkerson then grounded out to Looper to bring the game to an end. The Mets had their first regular season victory ever in the nation’s capital.