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(Mis)Play of the Game - Mets Edition

New York Mets' Daniel Murphy, right, is tagged

New York Mets' Daniel Murphy, right, is tagged out by Washington Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa as Murphy attempts to return to first base on a double play during the third inning. (July 31, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

Jason Bay shrugged off the booing and hit a home run. Lucas Duda hit a tying two-run shot with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning. And still, the Mets lost. Why? Because Mike Stanton had a round-tripper of his own. Here’s how the pivotal slam came about:

What they did:

- Pitcher Jason Isringhausen, whom Sandy Alderson had earlier talked about not trading, comes into a tie game in the top of the 10th. Isringhausen promptly gets Omar Infante to ground out.
- Isringhausen falls behind 2-0 on Gaby Sanchez, who ends up hitting an 89-mph cutter to center for a single. Have we mentioned Gaby Sanchez kills the Mets?
- Hanley Ramirez singles on the first pitch he sees, an 88-mph cutter, advancing Sanchez to second.
- Dewayne Wise singles on a 1-0 88-mph cutter to right field. All runners advance and for a moment it seems as if Sanchez might try to score. Lucas Duda makes a strong throw from right field to the cutoff man, Daniel Murphy. Sanchez holds up. Wise, however, does not. Seemingly thinking the throw is going to the plate he takes a too-wide turn around first, despite the fact that Ramirez hasn’t moved off the second base bag. Wise looks dead in the water.
- Instead of throwing to Justin Turner immediately, Murphy tries to initiate a rundown while also attempting to hold the runner at third. With Murphy distracted, Wise slides into first. Murphy flips to Turner but it’s too late. The bases are loaded.
- Isringhausen falls behind Mike Stanton 2-0 before bringing the count full. On the sixth pitch of the at-bat, Stanton drives an 88-mph cutter over the left field wall for the second grand slam of his career.

What it meant:

Some things to remember: (1) Had Wise been called out, there would have been two outs and a base open. Terry Collins indicated they would have intentionally walked Stanton and pitched to the far less imposing Bryan Petersen. (2) Isringhausen, despite blowing the game, was pretty stand-up after the fact. He was seated by his locker—hadn’t even stopped to clean up first—waiting for reporters after Collins’ press conference. (3) Collins intimated Murphy’s play might have had something to do with playing him all over the diamond this year and a missed season in 2010. Murphy said absolutely not. The botched play had nothing to do with inexperience.

What they said:

Terry Collins: “One thing about Dan, he listens and listens and listens and he wants to learn and he wants to get better. We often forget he didn’t play any last year. We forget that. Two years ago he played outfield, he played first. This year he’s played three different positions. And all’s he does is give his best effort. He’s made some mistakes, but he’s not the only guy out there doing it. It was explained to him and he understood and said, ‘Yup,’ and I’ll betcha it never happens again.”

Jason Isringhausen: “It’s not going to change going 2-0 on him. That’s what I didn’t like….It’s just one of those nights where, you do it long enough, you’re going to have these nights…I wanted to just get (the pitch) away.”

Daniel Murphy: “It’s a tough loss. (Tenth) inning had a chance to be real different. I got to get rid of the ball right there and give it to Justin. I was trying to make sure the run didn’t score, got caught in no-man’s land.”

“Once I flipped it to Turner I knew it was too late. I was hoping I got it to him quick enough. I didn’t.”

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