Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Captain Kirk Is out of This World

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Captain Kirk Is out of This World

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- The setting was inappropriate for the occasion. Instead of a misty rain, the Mets should have been treated to July- like sunshine.

It was that kind of a day for the Amazin's.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis' two-out game-winning single capped a two-run ninth inning rally that had to be seen to be believed Thursday. The perfect ending was a 3-2 victory that completed a three-game sweep of the Miami Marlins. And for the first time in 41 years, the Mets fielded a starting lineup of nine players who are products of their farm system.

Or as manager Terry Collins reminded COO Jeff Wilpon after the game, there were 10 farm-system grads on the field for the first pitch, considering Jose Reyes was the Marlins' leadoff hitter.

"That was pretty cool," said Nieuwenhuis, who's turned a lot of heads since being recalled from Class AAA Buffalo. "It's a lot of fun to get one like that."

There are no chapters on rallies like this in any how-to-succeed- in-baseball books. Nieuwenhuis' liner over right fielder Giancarlo Stanton's head was the only hit of the inning. Marlins closer Heath Bell supplied most of the Mets' ammunition, walking four of the first five batters he faced in his 46-pitch nightmare.

"You don't see guys at this level walk that many," Collins said.

Bell did. His undoing was a 13-pitch battle with pinch-hitter Justin Turner that produced the game-tying walk. After Scott Hairston forced a runner at home with a tap to first base, Nieuwenhuis, who tripled and scored the Mets' first-inning run, delivered the hit that sent the fans who braved the elements (about half of the announced crowd of 20,660) home happy.

"I was just looking for a good pitch to hit," Nieuwenhuis said of a Bell fastball that caught too much of the plate.

Turner was looking for a good pitch as well. After falling behind, 0-2, Turner fouled off four 3-2 pitches before walking. …

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