September 23, 2008: Mets Beat Cubs on Merkle Centennial
|Date: September 23, 2008|
|Mets starter: Johan Santana|
|Winning pitcher: Johan Santana|
|Key player(s): Johan Santana, Jose Reyes, David Wright|
|Key play: Wright’s two-run single, Reyes’ three-run triple|
The Mets faced the Cubs on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams hooked up on the 100th anniversary of the infamous boner of Fred Merkle, which also took place in New York. The Mets “celebrated” the occasion be defeating Chicago, 6-2.
Following a scoreless first inning, Casey McGehee hit a double with one out in the top of the second. Kosuke Fukudome doubled to drive home McGehee and a strikeout of Henry Blanco ensued. Sean Marshall went down on strikes to end the inning and followed up by pitching a perfect bottom half. Ronny Cedeno hit a one-out double in the top of the third. Derrek Lee flied out to center fielder Carlos Beltran and a single by Reed Johnson scored Cedeno for a 2-0 Cubs lead. Mets’ starter Johan Santana retired Mark DeRosa on an inning-ending pop-up to third baseman David Wright. Marshall then set down the Mets in order in the bottom half.
Santana and Marshall each hurled a scoreless fourth inning. Johan retired all three Chicago batters in the top of the fifth and Nick Evans was hit by a pitch with one out in the bottom half. Santana got an infield single on which his broken bat made contact with the ball, disallowing a play to be made. Jose Reyes was struck out and Luis Castillo drew a walk to load the bases. Wright singled to bring home Evans and Santana with the tying runs. Marshall then got Beltran to fly out to right fielder Fukudome and close out the inning.
Santana shut down the Cubs in the top of the sixth. Carlos Delgado doubled against Chicago reliever Chad Gaudin to lead off the bottom half. Ramon Castro hit a single on which Gaudin made an error that allowed Delgado to score and give the Mets a 3-2 lead. Ryan Church and pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy followed with singles that loaded the bases. Santana hit a ground ball on which second baseman DeRosa threw to catcher Blanco for an out at home on Castro. Reyes tripled against the Cubs’ Kevin Hart to drive home Church, Murphy and Santana. Castillo was retired on a grounder to DeRosa. Hart then struck out Wright to finish off the inning.
Santana and Chicago’s Angel Guzman each hurled scoreless seventh and eighth innings. To begin the top of the ninth, Mets’ reliever Pedro Feliciano retired Fukudome on a pop-up to Wright. Blanco and Micah Hoffpauir got back-to-back singles and New York’s Luis Ayala got pinch-hitter Mike Fontenot to ground out to first baseman Delgado. Ayala then retired pinch-hitter Daryle Ward on a pop-up to shortstop Reyes for the game’s final out. The Mets had a victory over the Chicago team on the centennial of Merkle’s Boner.
- The Mets’ win kept them one game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Wild Card race.
- The Fred Merkle Boner was an incident that enabled the Cubs to overtake the New York Giants for the 1908 National League championship. On Al Bridwell’s game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth at the Polo Grounds, Giants’ rookie Merkle failed to touch second base after running from first. Chicago players retrieved the ball and recorded the out (ruled at a later date) at second base. The game was officially a tie and had to be replayed at season’s end. The Cubs defeated the Giants in the rematch for the pennant and went on to win the World Series. A century later, the Chicago team had yet to win another world championship.