It was not pretty, but the Mets found a way to get it done against the lowly Cincinnati Reds. The Mets left 12 men on base, were 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position, and Johan Santana labored through five and two-thirds; still, the Mets earned their first victory of the 2009 season, thanks to their bullpen.
Sean Green, J.J. Putz and Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez pitched three and a third perfect innings in relief of Santana, making it clear that the Mets bullpen blunders of the past are now definitely long in the past. Met fans did not have to sweat a drop in the final three innings, as the Mets cruised to the 2-1 win in the rain soaked affair.
With the game scoreless in the fifth, Daniel Murphy blasted his first home run of the season to the right field bleachers to give the Metropolitans a 1-0 lead. David Wright and Carlos Delgado followed with singles of their own. Carlos Beltran then singled to right, giving Wright the opportunity to score. However, Wright was tagged out at home plate on the relay throw, preventing the Mets from scoring again.
In the sixth, Luis Castillo doubled to center off of reliever Dan Herrera. Johan Santana and Jose Reyes both worked out walks to load the bases for Murphy. Murphy grounded to first, but Joey Votto made a nice stop and walked to the bag for the out. Still, Castillo came into score on the sacrifice to make it 2-0 Mets.
Santana was sharp at times, at one point he had retired seven straight Reds in the middle of the game, but for the most part he struggled with his control. Santana walked four batters in the game, but managed to strike out seven. In the bottom of the sixth, Darnell McDonald led things off with a single to center. Votto followed with a single of his own; McDonald advanced to third because of a throwing error by Carlos Beltran, as he failed to hit David Wright as the cut-off man.
Finally, Brandon Phillips got into one to left, but he got underneath the ball too much to power it out of the ball park; instead, he lifted the ball to the warning track for the sacrifice. Mets manager Jerry Manuel had to come and remove Santana, who was beginning to lose control of the game after just five and two-thirds.
Sean Green came in and retired Edwin Encarnacion on a sharp line drive to Murphy, who streaked into center field to make the catch. BOX SCORE.
This set up the stage for Putz and K-Rod. After walking the second batter to face him, Putz got Votto to strike out swinging and Phillips to ground out into an easy play at short stop to kill the Reds final threat of the day. K-Rod closed down the game in an easy ten pitch outing to earn his first save as a Met.