Mets go to 4-0 on Murphy's game-winning RBI - New York Daily News

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Mets go to 4-0 on Murphy's game-winning RBI - New York Daily News
Apr 10th 2012, 02:45

New York Mets center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis #9 two-run home run during the fourth inning ties the game when the New York Mets played the Washington Nationals Monday, April 9, 2012 at Citi Field in Queens, New York. (Robert Sabo/New York Daily News)

Robert Sabo/New York Daily News

New York Mets center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis rounds third after his first Major-League home run.


Good teams always seem to make their own breaks and right now there's no better team than the Mets.

They are undefeated in four games after snaring a 4-3 win from the Nationals Monday night at Citi Field. They pushed the winning run across in the last of the ninth on Daniel Murphy's flare single into shallow right field, but it was a gutsy call for Ruben Tejada to lay down a two-strike sacrifice bunt and pitcher Henry Rodriguez' throwing error after fielding it in front of the mound that set the table for it.

The Mets are 4-0 for the first time since 2007. It was Murphy's first walk-off hit since Aug. 16, 2009, and the second of his career.

Pinch-hitter Mike Baxter started the game-winning rally by drawing a leadoff walk. Tejada bunted a 2-and-2 pitch back to Rodriguez. His throw to first was low and rolled into foul territory. Baxter might have scored on it and was halfway down the line when he stopped and slid to the ground at the holler of third base coach Tim Teufel, who'd originally waved him in. Baxter scrambled back to third, diving in ahead of a throw.

Murphy followed with the single to win it. The players mobbed him at first base afterward.

The Nationals threatened to break the 3-3 tie in the seventh when Miguel Batista issued a pair of walks to start the inning. Ramon Ramirez came out of the bullpen to get them off the hook by getting Adam LaRoche to fly out and Jayson Werth to hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

The Mets made a threat of their own in the eighth with Josh Thole's two-out ground rule double to left. Manager Terry Collins sent righthanded hitting Scott Hairston to the plate as a pinch hitter against southpaw Tom Gorzelanny for lefthanded hitting Kirk Nieuwenhuis, whose two-run homer in the fourth tied the score. Washington manager Davey Johnson countered with righty reliever Henry Rodriguez, who struck out Hairston swinging to snuff the threat.

The Mets defense was at it again in the top of the ninth after reliever Jon Rauch issued a leadoff walk. First baseman Ike Davis turned Ian Desmond's sacrifice attempt into a force out at second base for the first out and Daniel Murphy made a diving stop on Ryan Zimmerman's grounder up the midde and converted it into a force at second for the final out.

Mets starter Mike Pelfrey allowed three runs on 10 hits and came out with two on and two out in the sixth inning for Miguel Batista, who fanned Ian Desmond to escape the jam. Pelfrey struck out eight, tying a career high last reached at San Diego June 1, 2010.

Pelfrey allowed three runs through the first four innings and gave up some long hits including a deep run-scoring double to Ryan Zimmerman in Washington's two-run third as the Mets fell into a 3-1 hole. To that point he'd been more of a help with his bat, doubling to start the Mets' third and scoring their only run on David Wright's two-out single to left.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis pulled the Mets even with his first big league home run with two gone in the fourth. Josh Thole reached base with a four-pitch walk off Edwin Jackson to bring the 2008 third-round draft pick to the plate. He took a 2-and-2 slider to left that ricocheted off the Modell's sign, tied the game 3-3 and gave provided his first two Major League RBI.

Nieuwenhuis opened the season at Triple-A Buffalo, but was called up after starting center fielder strained his calf on Opening Day and landed on the 15-day disabled list. He was called up and manager Terry Collins established a straight platoon between him and Scott Hairston in center, where Nieuwenhuis would get all the starts against righthanded pitchers.

The 24-year-old Nieuwenhuis has always shown some power at the plate, though his 2011 season was sidetracked by a shoulder injury. He hit 17 home runs in 131 minor league games in 2009 and 18 between Double-A Binghamton and Buffalo in 2010. He hit six in 53 games at Buffalo a year ago before suffering a shoulder strain June 9 on a swing that ultimately led to July 11 surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

Nieuwenhuis was part of a lineup unlike one the Mets had sent out in 22 seasons. In included eight players cultivated in the club's minor league system. It marked the first time since 1990 that the Mets had eight of nine organizational products in their lineup -- excluding September games that often include several minor-league call-ups.

"The Mets should be pretty proud of this lineup tonight," manager Terry Collins said before the game. "I think it's great. I think it's a tribute to the scouting system and the player development system to get homegrown players to the big leagues.

"This organization was ridiculed for not having a very good minor-league system. Well, we're going to run a pretty good lineup out there tonight. And they're all Mets."

Seven of the eight were drafted under former GM Omar Minaya and Wright, a 2001 first-round pick, was chosen under former GM Steve Phillips.

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