Should the Mets parlay their hot start to something amazing in October, tonight’s 7-2 come-from-behind victory over the San Diego Padres could be one of those watershed games.
“Come-from-behind wins are always special,” manager Willie Randolph said.
Not that they came back, but how.
Steve Trachsel, who kept the Mets in the game for six innings, said it was a game they would have lost last season.
Believe it or not, a key was Kaz Matsui, who was activated from the disabled list when Anderson Hernandez went on with a bulging disc in his back. Matsui homered in his first at-bat — this time of the inside-the-park variety — for the third straight season. The last player to do it was Seattle’s Ken Griffey, 1977-79.
However, that wasn’t the play of the game, and neither was Julio Franco’s two-run pinch homer that put the Mets ahead, 3-2. The play Randolph said “kick-started” the Mets was a double play to end the seventh.
The Padres were on the verge of blowing the game open when they loaded the bases against Trachsel and Chad Bradford with no outs on bookend singles by Khalil Greene and Ben Johnson around a walk to Vinny Castilla.
Pedro Feliciano replaced Bradford and got pinch-hitter Geoff Blum on a foul pop to first. Enter Duaner Sanchez to face pinch-hitter Eric Young.
Young ripped a hard grounder seemingly ticketed through the shortstop hole, but David Wright snagged it with a dive and went to second for the start of a 5-4-3 double play made possible because Matsui hung in against the sliding base runner.
“That’s been the way we’ve been playing this year,” Cliff Floyd said. “After stuff like that we tend to take off.”
Xavier Nady led off the eighth with a double to left and pinch-hitter Franco became the oldest player in history at 47 to hit a home run when he dropped the fourth pinch-hit homer of his career into the section of seats in right field that jut into the playing area.
The onslaught continued when Jose Reyes singled, stole second and eventually scored on Endy Chavez’s bunt. Carlos Delgado followed with a two-run homer and Floyd added a RBI single.
“The double play changed everything,” Trachsel said. “It got us going.”
And perhaps, after consecutive losses in which they scored one run on three hits, maybe it got them back on track.
Beltran still hurting …
Carlos Beltran started in center field but left in the fifth inning when he felt continued tightness in his right hamstring. Beltran will undergo a MRI Friday.
“I told Willie I couldn’t continue,” Beltran said. “I didn’t want to re-injure it.”
Beltran doesn’t know if he’ll be available Friday.
Around the Horn: Floyd returned to the line-up for the first time since Monday when he strained his left rib cage muscle. … Jorge Julio threw a scoreless ninth inning and said he feels as if he’s getting in a groove. … Delgado’s homer was his sixth. … The Hall of Fame wants either the ball or the bat Franco used in becoming the oldest player at 47 to homer in a major league game.