May 29, 2006: Two Runs in 9th Beat Snakes

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Date: May 29, 2006
Mets starter: Steve Trachsel
Mets: 8
Diamondbacks: 7
Winning pitcher: Duaner Sanchez
Key player(s): Jose Valentin, Paul Lo Duca, Jose Reyes, David Wright
Key play: Valentin's two-run single, Reyes’ and Wright’s singles in 9th

The Mets and Diamondbacks faced each other on a Monday night at Shea Stadium. The teams began a three-game series in front of 39,826 fans on hand. The Mets scored twice in the bottom of the ninth inning for an 8-7 win over Arizona.

With one out in the top of the first inning, Eric Byrnes homered to give the D’Backs a 1-0 lead. Chad Tracy followed with a single and Luis Gonzalez drew a walk. Mets’ starter Steve Trachsel struck out Conor Jackson and threw a called third strike past Shawn Green to end the inning. Arizona’s Claudio Vargas held the Mets to a double by Paul Lo Duca in a scoreless bottom half. Trachsel then set down the Snakes in order in the top of the second.

David Wright drew a walk to open the bottom of the second inning. Cliff Floyd doubled and Xavier Nady drew a walk to load the bases. A single by Jose Valentin scored Wright and Floyd to put the Mets ahead by a run as Nady advanced to third. Trachsel’s sacrifice bunt moved Valentin to second and Jose Reyes’ ground out to second baseman Orlando Hudson brought home Nady. Lo Duca hit a double to plate Valentin from third and increase the Mets’ lead to 4-1. Vargas then got Carlos Beltran to fly out to left fielder Gonzalez and end the inning.

Following a scoreless third, Jackson led off the top of the fourth with a single to right field. Green doubled to send Jackson to third base. Johnny Estrada followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Jackson and moved Green to third. An ensuing sacrifice fly by Hudson brought home Green with the Diamondbacks’ third run. Vargas hit a double to left field and Craig Counsell was retired on an inning-ending pop-up to second baseman Valentin. The Mets were then set down 1-2-3 by Vargas in the bottom half.

Byrnes led off the top of the fifth with his second homer to tie the game. Trachsel retired the next three Arizona batters and Lo Duca singled to begin the bottom of the inning. Lo Duca advanced to second and third base on consecutive outs and Wright hit a fly ball to right fielder Green to close out the inning. In the top of the sixth, Trachsel retired the side in order on three outfield flies. Floyd hit a leadoff home run to put the Mets back in front in the bottom half. Nady flied out to Green and a homer by Valentin lengthened the New York lead to 6-4. Pinch-hitter Kazuo Matsui grounded out to Hudson. Vargas then got Reyes on an inning-ending line drive to center fielder Byrnes.

Mets’ reliever Aaron Heilman issued a walk to pinch-hitter Jeff DaVanon to open the top of the seventh inning. DaVanon stole second base and moved to third on a single by Counsell. Byrnes was called out on strikes and Tracy hit a three-run homer to give the Snakes a 7-6 lead. Heilman retired Gonzalez on a pop-up to catcher Lo Duca and got Jackson on an inning-ending grounder to shortstop Reyes. Arizona’s Brandon Medders then limited the Mets to a double by Beltran in the bottom half.

Heilman and Diamondbacks’ reliever Luis Vizcaino each pitched a scoreless eighth inning. For the Mets, Duaner Sanchez retired the side in order in the top of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Endy Chavez doubled against Arizona’s Jose Valverde to lead off the bottom half. Reyes singled to score Chavez with the tying run and advanced to third base on Lo Duca’s single (Paul’s fourth hit of the game.) Valverde issued an intentional walk to Beltran to load the bases and followed up with a strikeout of Carlos Delgado. Wright then delivered a single to center field that brought home Reyes and ended the game. The Mets had an exciting victory to begin the three-game series.