May 20, 2006: Wagner Blows Four-Run Lead in Ninth

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Date: Saturday May 20, 2006
Mets starter: Pedro Martinez
Mets: 4
Yankees: 5
Winning pitcher: Mariano Rivera
Key player(s): Billy Wagner, Johnny Damon, Andy Phillips
Key play: Yankees' four-run ninth

After their dramatic come-from-behind 7-6 win versus the New York Yankees the night before, the Mets were looking to make it two in a row against their crosstown rivals. However, the Amazin's got a taste of their own medicine in this Saturday mantinee as the Yankees, down 4-0 in the ninth, scored four runs off of Billy Wagner, who struck out all three batters he faced the night before for the win, and won 5-4 in 11 innings.

Pedro Martinez got the start for the Mets while Mike Mussina took the mound for the Yankees. In the bottom of the first, Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez's throwing error allowed Jose Reyes to reach first. He would steal second with Kazuo Matsui batting. Matsui struck out, but Carlos Beltran doubled to deep left to score Reyes, putting the Mets up 1-0. Beltran would move to third on Carlos Delgado's groundout before scoring on David Wright's double to put the Mets up 2-0. Cliff Floyd then grounds out to shortstop to end the inning.

Delgado hit a leadoff home run in the fourth to give the Mets a 3-0 lead. Floyd did the same in the seventh to put them up 4-0. Martinez, meanwhile, held the Yankees scoreless through seven innings, allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out eight. Duaner Sanchez relieved Martinez in the top of the eighth and allowed only a single to Kevin Reese. Ron Villone relieved Mussina and held the Mets scoreless in the bottom of the eighth despite allowing two walks.

Billy Wagner took the mound in the top of the ninth hoping to close out a win, but allowed a leadoff single to Jason Giambi. After Wagner walked Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano's RBI single scored Giambi to make it 4-1 Mets. After Miguel Cairo flew out, Wagner walked Melky Cabrera and Kelly Stinnett to make it 4-2 Mets and load the bases for the Yankees. After hitting Bernie Williams with a pitch to make it a 4-3 game, Mets manager Willie Randolph replaced Wagner with Pedro Feliciano to face Johnny Damon, who hit a chopper to Jose Reyes. Reyes threw the ball to second baseman Matsui to get the force out there, but Damon narrowly beat Matsui's throw to first to let Cabrera score and tie the game. Randolph argued with first base umpire Tom Hallion over the call, but replays showed Damon was safe. Chad Bradford relieved Feliciano and got Derek Jeter to ground out to second to end the inning.

Scott Proctor retired the Mets in order in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. Jorge Julio held the Yankees scoreless in the top of the 10th and Mariano Rivera, who allowed the game winning run the night before, did the same to the Mets in the bottom of the inning.

In the top of the 11th, Julio walked leadoff hitter Miguel Cairo before striking out Melky Cabrera and Kelly Stinnett, but Cairo stole second and third in the process. Andy Phillips then singled to center to score Cairo, putting the Yankees up 5-4. Johnny Damon then grounded out to end the inning. Rivera struck out David Wright, Cliff Floyd, and Xavier Nady, all swinging, in the bottom of the 11th to complete the Yankees' dramatic comeback win.