Silver lining for Mets: Ike gets clutch hit in 9th
With lefthander Andy Pettitte throwing for the Yankees, Mets manager Terry Collins decided the time was right to replace lefthanded-hitting Ike Davis with righthanded-hitting utilityman Vinny Rottino at first base Sunday. Of course, the .162 batting average Davis brought into the game argued in favor of that move, even though he was 1-for-2 with two walks the previous night.
It paid off when Rottino delivered an RBI single in the second inning. But when he failed to come up with a throw in the dirt from third baseman David Wright on a two-out grounder in the seventh, it was hard not to wonder if the surehanded Davis might have made that play for the third out. Sure enough, Russell Martin followed with a home run that cut the Mets' lead to 3-2.
Collins inserted Davis in the lineup in the next inning and was rewarded in the ninth. After Lucas Duda led off with a double to center off Rafael Soriano, Davis followed with a double to right-center to tie the score at 4, his first RBI since May 29.
That was the feel-good moment for the Mets, who lost, 5-4, on Martin's walk-off homer in the ninth inning.
Davis said his big hit "felt great. It gave us a chance to keep playing and have a chance to maybe score and take the lead. But it didn't work out today."
Omar Quintanilla was the next batter after Davis, and with shortstop Jayson Nix breaking toward third on the wheel play to defend against the bunt, Quintanilla sent a slow bouncer to the left of second base. Davis put his head down and charged toward third, sliding face-first. But when Nix saw Quintanilla wasn't bunting, he stopped moving toward third, fielded the grounder and fired a strike to Alex Rodriguez, who television replays showed applied the tag inches before Davis touched the base.
"I saw the shortstop kind of go toward third, and then he pulled it back when it was hit up the middle," Davis said. "I thought he wouldn't be able to get back there. I don't know if it was a bad read or not. I went with a gut feeling, and I guess I was wrong. I wanted to be safe mentally, but I was out."
Davis didn't argue the call, and he didn't argue with Collins' decision to keep him on the bench against Pettitte. "Whatever [Collins] says is what I'm going to do," Davis said. "Vinny came up with a huge hit today. Pettitte looked pretty nasty against the lefties that were in the lineup."
As for whether he might have scooped Wright's throw, Davis said: "I don't know. I feel like I'm pretty good picking balls, but I miss them, too."
If there was a positive for the Mets, it was Davis getting a big hit in a clutch spot.
"That's awesome," Duda said. "Ike's a great hitter. This whole series, he's been hitting the ball well and taking his walks. I think at any moment, he's going to bust out."