Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Defeat Is Extra Tough

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Defeat Is Extra Tough

Article excerpt

PITTSBURGH - His teammates were weary. His manager was desperate. And as the Mets waded deeper into their 12th extra-inning game of the season, manager Terry Collins was left with little choice but to hand Gonzalez Germen the ball.

Until Friday night, Germen was a luxury item, a break-glass-if- necessary piece of the Mets' 25-man roster. Until Friday night, he had never thrown a pitch in a major league game.

The baptism by fire did not go well. Jordy Miller singled off Germen in the bottom of the 11th inning, as the Mets fell, 3-2, in front of a sellout crowd of 39,036 on Friday night at PNC Park.

In that dreaded 11th, Germen walked Andrew McCutchen on five pitches. He picked up a pair of swinging strikeouts, but needed one more out to end the inning.

He never got that final out. Miller singled up the middle to bring home McCutchen and end the Mets' four-game winning streak.

The loss spoiled another terrific outing from starter Jeremy Hefner. Hefner allowed just two runs and three hits over seven innings, but left with a no-decision.

Hefner was looking to pad his fairy-tale run, a 14-start string during which his ERA was a microscopic 2.79. As mesmerizing as Matt Harvey has been over the past few months, Hefner has been equally unflappable.

This time his ERA absorbed an early puncture wound. Hefner retired two of the first three hitters he faced when Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez stepped in against him.

Alvarez had already hit 23 home runs heading into this at-bat. A few days ago, when Mets captain David Wright had to make his selections for the All-Star Home Run Derby, he left Alvarez off the list.

With one snap of his wrists, Alvarez sent this Pittsburgh crowd into a tizzy. Alvarez popped home run No. 24 over the center field wall to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead.

The score would remain that way for the four innings that followed. Hefner steadied. After the Alvarez homer, he set down the next 14 hitters he faced. He did not allow a run over the next five innings. …

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