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Escape from AT&T

By Steve Gattine

It was an escape worthy of that big Rock out in San Francisco Bay. Now whether the Mets escaped the Giants or their own closer is up for debate.
Francisco Rodriguez did nearly everything possible Sunday to secure the type of loss that sends teams into a prolonged tailspin:
Blow a two-run ninth-inning lead built on a sterling pitching performance from your ace and a gutsy effort from your All-Star third baseman. Check.
Throw a mini-tantrum that, by the laws of the game, should have gotten you tossed. Got it.
Get out of the ninth only because of a blown call at the plate. Yes, sir.
And for good measure, nearly throw it away all over again in the 10th after your rookie first-baseman bailed you out in the top of the inning. Thanks for playin’, Frankie.
It wasn’t pretty, but Sunday’s win was absolutely necessary. With Jerry Manuel waffling on Jose Reyes’ status, just as he did when they flew off to San Francisco in May 2009, the road trip was quickly turning into a nightmare.
Not that the Mets should be thrilled with 1-3 split, but a four-game sweep by a fellow potential wild-card challenger would have been difficult to swallow.
There are positives to be taken from this series. The starting pitching, with the glaring exception of Hisanori Takahashi, was fantastic. R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese and Johan Santana combined to give up just 3 earned runs in 22 innings.
While they were shut down by two even better pitching performances in the first two games, the Mets’ offense finally got the note that the All-Star break was over. Ike Davis had five hits and drove in five runs in the last two games. And yes, even I will begrudgingly admit that Carlos Beltran’s return may be for the best. Four hits in his first three games of 2010 is a decent return, even if he looked outmatched Friday against Brian Wilson. Hey, at least he swung.
Now it’s off to Arizona for three games and the scheduled comeback of Ollie Perez. Maybe they should have brought him back earlier so he could get a side-session at Alcatraz?

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