By Michael Mandelkern
Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies’ grand slam against the Mets on August 28 seemed too overwhelming to overcome. After all, the Mets’ collectively scored eight runs throughout its six-game losing streak from August 19 to 24. And they only scored three runs and two runs, respectively, in their two wins on the 25th and 26th.
The Mets’ day off on the 27th could not have come at a better time: their 14-hit onslaught would have submerged two grand slams. They chipped away to tie the game in the top of the fifth inning 4-4, but a solo homer in the bottom from Chase Utley nudged the Phillies ahead. Mets starter Chris Young was lit up for five runs in 4 1/3 innings, but the bullpen stopped the bleeding in the fifth and put up zeroes in every subsequent frame.
But even with the aid of a spectacular bullpen the Mets still had to at least tie the game for extra innings. And they did, hanging by a thread in the top of the eighth inning. Catcher Kelly Shoppach launched a double to far left field with two outs and a 3-2 count, scoring David Wright from first base.
Mets reliever Bobby Parnell silenced pinch-hitter Ty Wiggington and the top two of their lineup in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Mets a chance to take the lead in the top of the tenth. David Wright’s single ignited an explosion. Ike Davis found a gap in center field to double Wright home, Lucas Duda followed with an RBI single and Shoppach smacked a two-run homer to left field. The third through sixth spot hitters combined for a commanding four runs of distance from Philadelphia.
The Phillies crowd emptied out and its lineup couldn’t get a runner past first base in the bottom of the 10th inning, ending the ball game 9-5. The Mets came from behind and created enough distance in the 10th inning to squeeze all life out of the top of the Phillies lineup. August 2 was the last time the Mets scored that many runs. The surge of offense was all the more satisfying after an excruciatingly long drought.