September 4, 2009: Five-Run 8th Puts Away Cubs

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Date: September 4, 2009
Mets starter: Bobby Parnell
Mets: 6
Cubs: 2
Winning pitcher: Brian Stokes
Key player(s): Bobby Parnell, Cory Sullivan, Fernando Tatis, Omir Santos
Key play: Sullivan's homer and single, Tatis's single, Santos's single

The Mets faced the Cubs on a Friday night at Citi Field. The teams played the opener of a three-game weekend series. The Mets scored five runs in the eighth inning in a 6-2 win over Chicago.

Following a scoreless first inning, the Cubs failed to plate a run after loading the bases in the top of the second. Cory Sullivan homered with two outs in the bottom half for a 1-0 Mets lead. Chicago starter Carlos Zambrano struck out Omir Santos to end the inning and the Mets' Bobby Parnell pitched a scoreless top of the third. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Angel Pagan singled and Luis Castillo drew a walk. Zambrano then fanned David Wright for the inning's final out.

Parnell and Zambrano each hurled scoreless ball from the fourth inning to the sixth. To begin the top of the seventh, Jeff Baker hit a double to right field. Geovany Soto drew a walk and Sam Fuld singled to load the bases. Parnell responded by striking out both pinch-hitter Mike Fontenot and Kosuke Fukudome before retiring Ryan Theriot on an inning-ending line drive back to the mound. Cubs' reliever Angel Guzman pitched a perfect bottom half and Milton Bradley doubled against the Mets' Brian Stokes to lead off the top of the eighth. Aramis Ramirez went down on strikes and Micah Hoffpauir flied out to center fielder Pagan to move Bradley to third base. Baker hit a single that scored Bradley and tied the game. Stokes then got Soto on a force play ground ball to second baseman Castillo to close out the inning.

Castillo singled against Chicago reliever Kevin Gregg to open the bottom of the eighth. Wright hit a single to send Castillo to third base and John Grabow came in to pitch for the Cubs. Pinch-hitter Fernando Tatis singled to drive home Castillo and put the Mets ahead by a run. A wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third before Jeff Francoeur was walked intentionlly to load the bases. Sullivan singled to score Wright and an ensuing single by Santos plated Tatis and Francoeur. On Santos's hit, left fielder Fuld made an error that moved the runners to second and third. Anderson Hernandez singled to bring home Sullivan with the Mets' fifth run of the inning for a 6-1 New York lead. Stokes sacrificed against Chicago's Justin Berg to send Hernandez to second and Pagan was called out on strikes. Berg then retired Castillo on a grounder to third baseman Ramirez to finish off the inning.

Fuld drew a leadoff walk in the top of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Bobby Scales hit a single and Fukudome popped out to shortstop Hernandez. Theriot singled to load the bases and Bradley reached on first baseman Tatis's error to drive home Fuld. Stokes was replaced on the mound by Mets' reliever Francisco Rodriguez, who got Ramirez on a pop-up to Castillo. Rodriguez then struck out pinch-hitter Jake Fox to end the game. The Mets had a series-opening victory.