Jeff Francoeur has been struggling mightily lately at the plate, but it was a big night for him as he scored the tying run and hit a solo home run in the ninth off Billy Wagner for the go-ahead run. The Mets won a close game, 3-2, something they’ve had trouble with this season.
Francoeur said after the game that he worked with hitting coach Howard Johnson and Carlos Beltran before tonight’s start. It evidently worked as he was patient in the seventh inning and drew a walk. In a pinch-hitting assignment, Chris Carter drove him in to tie the game at 2-2.
In the ninth against a pitcher who is as good as Wagner, it was almost a miracle that he hit the home run, especially given that he hit it to right field. Left-handed batters had a batting average of .067 against Wagner coming into this game.
The Mets scored their first run in the third inning after the Braves scored their first run in the second inning. Luis Castillo hit a bunt single to reach first. R.A. Dickey sacrificed him over before Jose Reyes hit an RBI double.
Speaking of Dickey, he gave the Mets his usual quality start, pitching six innings and allowing five hits, four walks and two runs. The second run came in the sixth off an RBI triple.
Pedro Feliciano started the seventh and got into some trouble. Manny Acosta was called into the game and induced an inning-ending double play. Acosta also pitched the eighth and walked two, but got out of the inning.
Francisco Rodriguez finally got a save chance and made good on it as he retired the side in order for his 23rd save of the season.
So, the Mets avoid falling below .500 and are 6 1/2 games behind the Braves. Mike Pelfrey tries to build on some promising signs from his previous two outings as he takes the mound Wednesday.