There was a lot of leaping from the shadows Monday night at Citi Field. Long-suffering Ike Davis' fourth-inning RBI single that had the Mets winning until the ninth inning. The unsettling two-run rally at the end that gave the division-leading Atlanta Braves a 2-1 victory.
But, for a long time, it appeared that Mets righthander Dillon Gee was going to supply the really suspenseful surprise. Through six full innings, Gee -- the man who started the season by losing six of his first eight decisions -- was throwing a no-hitter.
And when Mets shortstop Omar Quintanilla ranged far to his right to backhand Justin Upton's sharp, two-out ground ball, throwing from near third base and still able to put out Upton by inches, it hinted at possible magic.
"No, I really didn't think that," Gee said. "It was a great play to get us out of the inning. But for me to get a no-hitter, it would be an extremely, extremely lucky day."
Yet the very definition of Quintanilla's play was fortuitous. Gee, to that point, had allowed just three baserunners, all on walks. After needing 12 pitches to retire the game's very first batter, Andrelton Simmons, Gee began to routinely mow down Atlanta's hitters.
In the sixth, David Wright's nifty short-hop of pitcher Julio Teheran's hot grounder led to the first out and, after a routine grounder by Simmons and a walk to Hason Heyward, Quintanilla snuffed out Upton.
Could it be?
"We've had quite a few of those during the course of the year," catcher John Buck said of his pitchers' early-game dominance. This is, after all, the Summer of Matt.
"We get around the sixth or seventh," Buck said, "and I keep myself from thinking that , because we've had guys get to that .
"But it seems like, as soon as I think that, we end up giving up a hit or whatever. Whether it's because of my mind-set or not, thinking about it or not, I've kind of trained myself not to think it. I'm not a big superstitions guy. But I don't want to toy with that."
In a way, Gee was more satisfied by his ability to wriggle out of a one-out, bases-loaded situation in the seventh, before he was lifted for reliever LaTroy Hawkins. After two Atlanta singles and a hit batsman, Gee induced Chris Johnson to hit into a force play at the plate and struck out pinch hitter Joey Terdoslavich.
"Instead of having it blow up on me," Gee said, "it was nice to get out of a jam for once."
It blew up after he was gone.