Mets sink Cubs on walk-off walk
Delgado waits out 10 pitches before taking winning free pass
NEW YORK -- Jose Reyes has an uncanny knack for chaos.
It can strike at any time, his electrically-charged game injecting danger into even the safest of situations. And it can work in so many ways, that energy, igniting a team and a crowd while unsettling anyone who dares oppose it.
So it was on Monday, when Reyes sparked a game-winning rally out of nowhere, tossing lightning bolts of action into a night that seemed destined for the dull and mundane. And what Reyes started, Carlos Delgado finished, drawing a bases-loaded walk to give the Mets a dramatic 5-4 walkoff victory.
"As a kid, you want to be in that position all the time," Delgado said. "I saw ball four go by, and that's the best feeling, to win the game."
Delgado's 10-pitch at-bat was the apex of a four-batter rally that never really seemed as if it would bloom. It's hard to believe such a raucous rally could form with an empty diamond and two outs in the ninth -- but then again, it's hard to believe much of Reyes' freakish game-changing ability.
The shortstop once again proved why he's the single most disruptive player in the league when his two-out single jarred back visions of extra innings. The single -- harmless by normal standards -- quickly became Cubs pitcher Michael Wuertz's undoing.
Wuertz watched as Reyes danced around first base, toying with an idea that many around the league have resigned to inevitability. A bad jump, a perfect throw and an even better tag -- all coupled with the fact that the entire stadium knew Reyes would bolt -- might have made for a close play.
But Wuertz wisely wanted even more of an edge against Reyes, as futile as that may seem. So he threw to first. Then again. And again. It was a comical game of cat and mouse, more frustrating than functional, as it did nothing to halt the shortstop's intentions. Finally Wuertz threw home on a pitchout, and Reyes was gone.
And anyone who's seen these Mets knows the result.
"I didn't even know it was a pitchout," Reyes said. "I just put my head down and go like crazy to second base."
Which was enough to make Wuertz go crazy himself. Reyes' steal jolted all 34,033 in attendance, tossing a small crowd into bedlam. With enough noise for a group twice their size, the fans began to impose their will upon a visibly-rattled Wuertz.
First it was four balls to Endy Chavez, who's no stranger to late-inning heroics. Then, after three straight balls to Carlos Beltran, Wuertz tossed the fourth intentionally, loading the bases for Delgado.
The crowd, long since having reached a frenzy, threatened to topple over Shea's concrete walls. And with each pitch, the fans only grew louder.
It took 10 of them for Delgado to finally earn the win, fouling off four in the process. The ninth offering was a bit high in the zone, but Delgado swung anyway and drilled it straight back. But the 10th wasn't even close, whizzing past a pair of eager eyes.
"I'll take the walk because that's what happened," Delgado said laughing. "Maybe tomorrow we'll get the same situation and I'll hit a home run."
The walk saved the game from heading to extra innings, after it had seemed destined to do just that moments earlier. It had been quite some time since starter Tom Glavine had walked off the mound trailing, 4-2, wrapping up six frustrating innings with win No. 295 out of reach.
Glavine had been the victim of some bad luck early, with lazy pops finding holes just out of the reach of the Mets' defense. Glavine battled back, but couldn't find his trademark control, with a leadoff walk leading to a run in the second, and three more free passes loading the bases in the fifth.
The lefty emerged from that jam unscathed, and in doing so, deftly avoided his second loss. The Mets had already limped halfway back on a David Wright two-run homer in the fourth, and they added the tying pair in the sixth on a momentum-changing Paul Lo Duca double and a Damion Easley sacrifice fly.
But from that point on, the action stopped, the Mets and Cubs alternatively threatening against a carousel of relievers.
Each of those threats appeared more ominous than the one that surfaced in the ninth -- until Reyes single-handedly stirred in his own brand of turmoil. And in doing so, he gave his team a chance, and launched the Mets on a roll -- it's now been five wins in six tries, along with a reclamation of first place.
And Delgado, after a frustratingly slow start to the season, also earned his moment in the sun. It was a strong display of discipline -- and one that the first baseman doesn't take lightly.
"It was over my head," Delgado laughed of the game-ending pitch. "I've been known to swing at those."
Anthony DiComo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.