10/20/06 1:00 AM ET
Mets Short Hops: Game 7
Perez keeps New York in it, but Series dream falls short
By Chris Girandola / MLB.com
The Mets' Oliver Perez matched the Cards' Jeff Suppan in a classic pitchers' duel, but New York came up short in the ninth. Frozen moment
Sixth inning, one out, game tied. Perez walks Jim Edmonds. The right-handed-hitting Scott Rolen comes to the plate. Manager Willie Randolph calls time and jogs out to talk to Perez. Perez tosses the first pitch to Rolen, who turns on it, sending it deep to left field. Endy Chavez races to the wall, and in one fluid motion, leaps, throws his glove up and over the edge of the wall and makes a spectacular snowcone catch. With 56,357 at Shea Stadium in delirium, Chavez hustles to get the ball back in to double up Edmonds at first. Frozen moment II
With the score tied in the top of the ninth, Aaron Heilman struck out Edmonds. Then, after battling Rolen through several foul balls on a 1-2 count, including one that Rolen barely tipped, Heilman allowed a single to the Cardinals third baseman. Yadier Molina then sent a 0-1 pitch deep over the left-field wall to give St. Louis a 3-1 lead. Big number
12 -- Chavez's scintillating catch came just over the 358-foot mark in left field. Molina's home run in the ninth traveled 12 feet longer. Game balls
Five balls -- Perez kept the Mets in the game long enough for them to have a chance to win. He created and got out of trouble often. In the third inning, with the score tied, 1-1, David Eckstein led off with a double. The left-hander then struck out Preston Wilson. With first base open, Perez intentionally walked Albert Pujols. Perez then forced Juan Encarnacion into a double play to end the threat.
Two innings later, Perez faced a similar situation. This time, with one out and men on first and second, Perez struck out Encarnacion and got Pujols to fly out to Jose Reyes to keep the game even. His performance in his second postseason game was more than the Mets could have expected.
Sense of October
After Chavez's catch, the Mets loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half of the sixth. But Jose Valentin struck out against Suppan, and Chavez then stepped to the plate. Chavez, though, first-pitch swinging, hit a soft flare to center which Edmonds easily caught to end the inning and the threat.
"All I was thinking was, 'There's no way I'm catching that on these wheels tonight.'" -- Cliff Floyd, who was limited for most of the playoffs due to a strained left Achilles tendon, on Chavez's catch
Lines of the Game
4 AB, 0 H, 0 R, 0 RBI
Comment: A night after igniting the crowd and the team with his first-inning homer, Reyes came up hitless in Game 7.
3 AB, 1 H, 0 R, 1 RBI
Comment: Wright broke out of a slump with an RBI single in the first.
6 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 2 BB (1 INT), 4 Ks
Comment: Perez put runners on base in all but one inning before leaving after a brilliant 88 pitches, including 61 strikes. Next Step
Pack up and prepare for the 2007 season.
Chris Girandola is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.