In another typical game when Johan Santana starts, the Mets could not provide any run support despite seven scoreless innings. Santana had trouble with his command early in the game but was scrappy and pitched a season-high 124 pitches.
The Mets’ only run against the Padres came off a Jeff Francoeur RBI in the fourth inning. They had only six hits the entire game, three of which came from Jason Bay. But it was enough for the Mets to win as the game got into the eighth inning and Francisco Rodriguez was called in to make a four-out save.
In the ninth, Rodriguez allowed a leadoff single but struck out the next two. With two strikes on his now nemesis, David Eckstein, he hung a breaking ball. Eckstein shot it up the middle, driving in the tying run and blowing K-Rod’s third save.
K-Rod would get the next out and even pitch the next inning. After more than 40 pitches, he was able to keep the Padres off the board.
Once again, the Mets were unable to do anything offensively in the top of the 11th inning. In the bottom of the 11th, Jerry Manuel made one of the stupidest moves of his managing tenure. He called in Raul Valdes to pitch, the same Valdes who got plastered in his first game of the series. You just knew the game was over.
Two days after Valdes allowed four runs to the Padres without retiring a batter, Manuel decided to bring him into the game in a high-pressure situation.
Valdes allowed a leadoff double, but that was erased when he actually made a good play throwing the runner out at third on a bunt attempt. He gave up a single and then hit Eckstein, loading the bases. Instead of taking him out, Manuel decided to stick with him to face Adrian Gonzalez, the Padres’ most potent hitter. What happens next? Boom! Grand slam. Game over. The Mets once again fail to win a series on the road.
So, here the Mets fall back to .500 again. Is the team a better-than-.500 team? Certainly not now. They now have an off day to lick their wounds and head back to the warm confines of Citi Field where they’ll start a series against the Marlins on Friday. They can’t get out of San Diego fast enough.