Mets Topped by Ryan Vogelsong’s Two Hit Complete Game

Howard Goldin

When a pitchers’ duel is spoken of, one should use the game between the Mets and Giants on Friday night at Citi Field as a very descriptive example. After the contest concluded, Bruce Bochy, the manager of the Giants remarked, “Both guys [Ryan Vogelsong and jonathon Niese]did a great job of pounding the strike zone.” The words were spoken with the emotions of respect and awe.

There was very little expectation for Vogelsong to pitch a complete game and give up only two hits. The 37 year old has had his share of ups and downs since first reaching the majors in September 2000. Drafted by the Giants, he was traded to the Pirates and spent several years with Pittsburgh.

Without a suitable spot on a major league roster, the right-hander played in NPB (Japanese League) for three seasons. He then returned to the club that drafted him, the Giants. He had sufficient success to be chosen for the National League All-Star Team in 2011.

Vogelsong entered Friday’s game with a five game losing streak. The losses probably made him feel justified to sue the batters in each of the contests for non-support as they did not score a run during his innings on the mound in five of his last six games. In four, they were shut-out. His average of 3.34 run support in 2014 is the fifth lowest in the National League.

The confluence of five Giant runs and his superlative pitching ended with a 5-1 victory, the first for Vogelsong since June 21. It was also the first nine inning complete game in his MLB career. He joked, “Man, I get to shake hands with the guys on the field after I pitched. I don’t think I’ve seen the ninth inning, even in the minor leagues.” Bochy told reporters, “He wanted to finish in the worst way.”

He did pitch a rain-shortened six inning complete game in 2011.

Both the veteran pitcher, “I made some good pitches in the last inning” and his catcher, Buster Posey, “He threw the ball well in the ninth” were pleased with how Vogelsong completed the game.

The Giant starter did not allow a man on base until the fourth and did not give up a hit until the first batter in the sixth, Juan Lagares. Vogelsong philosophically responded, “It would have been nice, but it just wasn’t in the cards.”

He gave up only one run, a lead-off home run by Lucas Duda in the eighth. The pitcher gave credit to Duda, “He put a good swing on it.” Vogelsong, who was on first after being hit by a pitch in the seventh scored on a triple by Hunter Pence. Thus, Posey commented, “Scoring from first took a lot out of him [Vogelsong]”.

The story should not end without mentioning the auspicious MLB debut of Matt Duffy at second base for the Giants. The 23 year old and his teammate Jarrett Parker were called up from AA Richmond on the day of the game. Duffy was inserted into the starting lineup.

The manager said, “I’m sure he was surprised to be called up from AA, but he was doing that well.” Duffy admitted, “I was very surprised. I didn’t say a word after I was told as I was speechless.” The native of Long Beach, California was supported in the ballpark by his parents, a sister, an uncle and one of his coaches. Of them, Duffy surmised, “I think they’re more excited than I am.”

In five trips to the plate, Duffy was hit by a pitch in the fifth and drove in a run with a single in the seventh. Of that latter at bat, Duffy recalled, “Bochy said I would get my first hit and first run batted in that at bat.”

Bochy expressed pleasure of the youngster’s first game, “He looked comfortable. He had poise on his swings. He looked like he was having fun out there. It’s a good debut.”

Although Mets fans were surly disappointed by the outcome of the contest, everyone in the park should have been impressed that a baseball game can be played in two hours and six innings. It was the second fastest nine inning game of the year and the fastest in which each team made 27 outs. Some older folks can remember when a game that lasted little more than two hours was the norm