Jose Reyes returned to Citi Field today. By 3:35 p.m., there were some 30 members of the media waiting in a clumsy semicircle around an empty spot in the visitors’ dugout left vacant for Reyes. By 3:50 when Reyes emerged, there were probably 50, armed with voice recorders and video cameras and microphones of various sizes.
“He’s innocent!” Someone shouted as Reyes took his seat.
“You want to interview somebody?” Reyes said, and everyone laughed, and then Reyes answered a bunch of questions and said a bunch more things that you’ve probably already read by now and freaked out about. And then a few hours later the Mets and Marlins played a baseball game good enough to remind everyone that the things baseball players say are generally far less interesting than the things baseball players do on baseball fields, since those are the reasons we care so much about them in the first place.
Which is to say: In the top of the first inning, Reyes torched a flyball to center field that Kirk Nieuwenhuis ran down and Emilio Bonificaio lined a single past Ruben Tejada, then Johan Santana didn’t allow another ball out of the infield until the sixth inning. He struck out 11 batters in 6 2/3 innings, hitting spots with his fastball and flummoxing rubes with his changeup and slider.
Say what you will and already have about the Mets’ injury woes. Jason Bay, Mike Pelfrey and Andres Torres are hurt, sure. But a man who’s practically a medical miracle took the mound for the Mets today and struck out 11 Marlins. Remember that part of it too.
This baseball game also featured:
– Josh Johnson nearly equaling Santana.
– Two plays at the plate — one for each team. Daniel Murphy was caught trying to score on a close play on a pitch that got away from John Buck. In Santana’s last inning, Giancarlo Stanton singled then Gaby Sanchez lined a double off the wall in left and giant awesome Giancarlo Stanton came charging home. Mike Baxter bobbled the ball, then his throw pulled Tejada toward second base. Tejada spun and fired home in plenty of time to get Stanton, but the ball short-hopped Josh Thole and went through his legs.
– With two outs in the seventh, four different Marlins pitchers (Johnson, Randy Choate, Steve Cishek and Mike Dunn) combining to walk four consecutive Mets to force home the tying run. Ozzie Guillen looked like he was endeavoring some sort of performance-art meta-criticism of Terry Collins’ managing. It was great.
– A running, diving catch from the aforementioned Stanton.
– A Lucas Duda line drive that both put the Mets ahead for good and felled pitcher Edward Mujica, prompting parts of the crowd to start chanting, “DU-DA! DU-DA!”, which, given the sight of Mujica splayed in front of the mound, seemed pretty merciless and made the whole scene seem like something out of Gladiator.
– Did I mention Johan Santana struck out 11 guys in 6 2/3? He looks sad here but he shouldn’t be: