The Mets forced a seventh and deciding game for the National League pennant with a 4-2 win over the Cardinals at Shea Stadium. Jose Reyes hit a first inning homer and John Maine pitched 5 1/3 solid innings, allowing just two hits. Paul LoDuca had a clutch two-out two run single to ice the game late, and setup a winner-take-all seventh game on Thursday night at Shea.
But naturally, Billy Wagner had to make it interesting, allowing two runs on three hits in the ninth. He went to his slider way too much in that inning, and the Cardinals hit him hard, as they did in Game 2. He should stick with his trademark, the blazing fastball, more in those clutch situations. For instance, he was blowing it by Scott Rolen for two strikes, but went back to the slider and Rolen doubled to left.
All Mets fans everywhere are praying that Wagner won't be needed for Game 7.
I guess a few lit candles and novenas couldn't hurt right now.
Willie Randolph said after Game 6 that Oliver Perez will get the ball for Game 7, going up against ex-Red Sox pitcher Jeff Suppan. This choice of Perez made me think of the amazing 2004 Red Sox ALCS comeback. Like Perez, Derek Lowe pitched Game 4, and both were unexpected starters. Both Perez and Lowe did admirable work in those games, and their teams both won critical games.
And like Lowe, Perez will get the ball for the deciding Game 7, and also like Lowe, on short rest (Lowe's was actually shorter, only two days to Perez' three). You will remember that D-Lowe was virtually unhittable that night against the Yankees, allowing just one run and one hit in six incredible innings. The Mets will hope to get five good innings out of Perez, and turn it over to the bullpen. Everyone except John Maine will be available.
Let's hope Perez will make Derek Lowe proud.