Mets Win on Walk-Off, Pinch Hit Grand Slam Home Run by Ike Davis

Howard Goldin

Flushing, NY---One day after Lucas Duda, the newly designated first baseman for the Mets, was the home run hero in the first 2014 victory for the club, Ike Davis, the deposed first sacker for the club, was the hero of the team’s second winwith a walk-off, pinch hit, grand slam home run.

In the two games, every run scored by the Mets and all but one run for the Cincinnati Reds was driven in by a home run. Despite the proliferation of homers both starting pitchers, Dillon Gee of the Mets and Johnny Cueto of the Reds, pitched effectively late into the game, yet neither was involved in the decision. Each of the two was the starting pitcher on the Opening Day of his club.

Neither hurler gave up more than one hit in any inning except for the three frames in which runs were scored.

Gee retired the first seven batters he faced before yielding the first major league hit recorded by rookie catcher Taylor Barnhart. The neophyte recorded his second hit two innings later.

Outfielder Ryan Ludwick scored the first run of the contest with a lead-off homer in the top of the fifth.

Pinch hitter Chris Heisy led-off the top of the eighth with a double to right. Two batters later, second sacker Brandon Phillips planted a 1-0 pitch into the leftfield seats to give the visitors a 3-2 advantage. The first four bagger of the season for Phillips extended his hitting streak versus the Mets on the road to 28 games. He has compiled an extremely impressive batting average of .345 (39-113) in the 28 games he has played against the Mets in New York.

Gee was removed after surrendering the homer and the two Met relievers, Scott Rice and Carlos Torres, held the Reds scoreless.

The Mets first hit off Cueto, a double by Ruben Tejada, did not come until 4.1 innings had elapsed. After the contest, Mets skipper Terry Collins remarked, “I wasn’t sure we would get a hit off Cueto. His stuff was moving,”

The only runs given up by Cueto came in the sixth. Daniel Murphy singled to begin the inning. The base hit extended Murphy’s hitting streak that began in 2013 to 14 games. After one batter was retired, Curtis Granderson blasted a 3-2 pitch into the seats in right for his first National League home run.

With New York trailing, 3-2, the events of the ninth inning were crucial yet strange. Jose Lagares drew a base on balls to begin the frame. Catcher Anthony Recker grounded into what was judged by the umpire as a force out at second. After the game, Recker looked back on the play, “I thought he was safe at second base by a lot. As soon as he [umpire] called him out, I thought we should challenge.”

Collins challenged the call and after 2 minutes and 14 seconds, the original decision was reversed. New playing rules in 2014 allow managers to challenge certain decisions of the umpires. The next batter, Tejada, walked to load the bases.

Ike Davis was sent to the plate to pinch hit. A home run to right cleared the bases, gave the Mets a victory and added respect from the fans to a very popular player among his teammates.

Both Collins and Gee spoke of the feelings of the Mets players toward Davis. The manager stated, “That was a tremendous win, especially for Ike, who’s going through what he’s going through.He’s a great teammate; big in the clubhouse. Our guys root for him endlessly.”

The starter, Gee, used very similar words to describe the importance of Davis to his teammates, “Ike is huge in the clubhouse; he’s a great teammate; everybody roots for him.”

Davis said, “I had a good day today, that’s for sure. Basically, this is going to be my role. I just have to help the team win from the bench.” Collins said that on Sunday Davis will be at first base in the starting lineup.

On Sunday afternoon, lefty Jonathon Niese will start in hopes of gaining a Mets sweep. Alfredo Simon will start for the Reds.

Howardg53@yahoo.com