CHICAGO -- Under a gray sky, amidst a swirling wind and increasing rain, things looked appropriately bleak for the Mets in the first inning Wednesday. Their starting pitcher, Dillon Gee, was misfiring, shoving the Mets into a three-run deficit. It was yet another uncomfortable position in a week chock full of them.
Flash forward three hours and the Mets were lounging as best they could -- as best anyone can -- in Wrigley Field's cramped visiting clubhouse. Their opponents and the weather had just helped them along to a rain-shortened 7-4 victory over the Cubs, their first in four games.
They'll take it. For a team that has already endured four rainouts and a season's worth of delays, Wednesday's victory was a welcome sight.
"We have had to fight wind, rain, sleet," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "You name it, we've fought through it. I salute the club for hanging in there, because the inclement weather has been incredible."
Though Josh Thole's RBI single and Carlos Beltran's two-run double helped spark New York's winning rally in the second inning, it was not until starter Casey Coleman departed that the Cubs truly began unraveling. In relief of Coleman, Justin Berg walked the next three batters on 12 pitches, forcing in two additional runs.
The Cubs never recovered.
Asked how much facing a wild pitcher helped jumpstart an offense that scored 14 runs over its previous seven games, Collins donned a mischievous look.
"It helps a lot," he said.
It certainly helped Gee, who transformed into a different pitcher after the Mets broke through for their early offense. In the first inning, the Cubs rapped out four runs on three hits against Gee. In the ensuing five innings, they mustered no runs and one hit. By the time umpires called the game due to heavy rain in the top of the seventh, Gee was well on his way to his fourth victory in six starts.
"The command was outstanding from that point on," Thole said. "He pounded the zone after that."
It had been a misfortunate beginning to the week for the Mets, who spent most of their time in Chicago discussing owner Fred Wilpon's published comments about the team, its finances and its individual players. A blowout loss on Tuesday did nothing to deflect criticism from the Mets, who were busy making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
If they were looking for a reprieve on Wednesday, Gee -- for a time -- did not appear capable of providing it, further sullying the team with his early performance.
Back-to-back doubles by Reed Johnson and Alfonso Soriano in the first inning led to four runs for the Cubs, who seemed intent on knocking Gee out of the game without much delay. But after the Mets rallied for five runs in the top of the second, Gee began buzzing through Chicago's lineup with ease.
He ripped through the bottom of the second inning on seven pitches. He retired the side on three groundouts in the third. Gaining steam, he struck out his first batter of the night on a 91-mph fastball in the fourth, then fanned two more Cubs -- one on a fastball, one on a changeup -- in the sixth. Through it all, he gave up one single and plunked one batter.
That was it.
"I'm just really happy I was able to bounce back for the guys," Gee said. "For them to bounce back like that and get us right out of it really motivated me to want to do better for them."
With a steady rain pounding down onto the field, crew chief Dale Scott finally called for the tarp with two outs in the top of the seventh. More rain was forecast in the area throughout the night and into Thursday, prompting umpires to end the game quickly after calling for a delay -- much to the chagrin of Cubs manager Mike Quade, who exchanged words with Scott prior to the delay.
"He was probably more cognizant of the weather than me," Collins said. "He knew if that tarp went on, this game was probably over."
Quade was right. The tarp came on and 41 minutes later, the game ended, and the Mets won for the first time in four games -- this one through wind and rain and cold.
They'll take it, of course.