Davis' dugout catch extends legend
First baseman used long reach to grab popup in first inning
NEW YORK -- This is a long story about Ike Davis.
His arms are long enough for him to cover the plate, no question. And Citi Field learned Wednesday evening that they are long enough to reach halfway across the dugout. Davis made a daring and resourceful catch of a foul pop in the first inning, putting life and limb and livelihood in jeopardy. With his upper legs pressed against the fence atop the Mets' dugout, Davis leaned forward, extended his right arm into the dugout, caught the popup by Jeff Baker and initiated an unrehearsed cartwheel that put him in the dugout and in the memories of the folks who witnessed the play.
Two plays into the game, he had made the catch of the day.
Frankie frustrated by lack of opportunities
NEW YORK -- Francisco Rodriguez didn't snap or even utter a four-letter word Tuesday night as Fernando Tatis' fly ball headed for home run territory. Tatis' pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning would pad the Mets' lead -- 2-0 became 4-0 -- but it also would deny Rodriguez a save opportunity. Instead, he spoke a five-letter word. "Again."
The Mets' slow start had afforded him merely one save opportunity in 14 games -- Saturday in St. Louis, in the game that wouldn't end. And his failure to convert it was the reason the game extended to 20 innings. But there were the Mets on Tuesday night, leading by two runs and needing three outs for a second consecutive victory. Rodriguez was armed and eager. And then Tatis stuck his big fat home run in the way.
"You kiddin' me," was Frankie's immediate reaction. Denied again. He estimated that late runs had defused 10 save opportunities last season. "At least 10," he said. Tatis' home run constituted a 2010 first.
"And it won't be the last time," Rodriguez said.
For now, Mike Pelfrey leads the Mets in saves with one, closing out the 20-inning game. Before the Mets engaged the Cubs on Wednesday night, Pelfrey was responsible for half the team's six victories and its lone save. "And I hear it from him every day," Rodriguez said.
"I have to shut him down. I tell you what -- if I don't have a save by the end of the month, I'm going to shave my head. No save, no hair."
Transplant recipient throws first pitch
Before Wednesday night's game, Maryann Steinbock got the ultimate opportunity for a lifelong Mets fan -- the chance to throw out the first pitch.
The 59-year-old's big night came as a result of another big night, one that saved her life.
Steinbock didn't even know how close she was to liver failure due to cancer before she got a very special gift in February -- a new liver.
In the middle of a snowstorm on Feb. 26, Steinbock got a call from doctors, letting her know that after eight months of waiting, a liver was ready for her. The only challenge was getting from her Nassau County home to the Bronx hospital where doctors would perform the transplant amid the mounting inches of snow.
A Nassau County patrol car led a motorcade, including a helicopter escort, from Steinbock's home to Montefiore Medical Center. She was so nervous that she talked nonstop about the Mets to keep her calm.
The Mets had provided a stabilizing force in Steinbock's life before the transplant. She and her girlfriends attended 40 games last season, as a way to take her mind off her treatments.
"I really didn't know how sick I was," Steinbock said. "Denial is a beautiful place sometimes. The only thing that really kept me going was the Mets --- I schlepped up here all the time."
Thanks to her transplant's success, Steinbock was back at Citi Field for Opening Day. Flanked by the officers who transported her that night, she threw out the game's first pitch Wednesday. Steinbock could barely contain her excitement.
"I've been with the Mets since '62," she said. "I've been there for all the World Series. I have pictures from when Lenny Dykstra hit the home run to win the pennant. I'm so thankful for everybody at Montefiore and for the Mets."
-- Bailey Stephens
Worthy of note
Jeff Francoeur is now hitless in 22 at-bats, dating to Saturday. His longest hitless streak before this was 16 at-bats with the Braves in 2007. ... Rod Barajas' home run in the second inning was the Mets' ninth home run in nine games at Citi Field this season. It took them 14 games to get nine home runs at Citi last season. ... Wednesday's loss marked the first time a Mets starter took the loss since April 13, when John Maine was beaten. Even with Oliver Perez's performance Wednesday, the Mets' starters have produced a 2.06 ERA since Maine lost. ... David Wright drew his 19th walk in the third inning. He has the most in the big leagues. He also stole a base for the sixth time. ... Jason Bay threw out Geovany Soto at second base in the fourth inning. It was his first assist this season. Bay led the American League with 15 outfield assists last season.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.