New York, New York

Monday, June 22, 2009 - Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ahh, another 'day' in the city! Jill had an MRI appointment at HSS, so we decided to make a day of it - imagine that! :-)

We headed out of Bingo around 10 or so in the morning, and drove to Newark. Parked the car in our usual spot (although they ripped us for parking this time around, so we'll be looking for a new option!). Took the PATH into the city, then to the 6 train at City Hall and up to the 68th Street stop. Walked over to HSS, stopped in a little store on the corner for a snack, and then onto the MRI.

Afterwards, we decided to grab something to eat. Thanks to the folks at Chowhound, Jill found a really cool organic pizza place for us to eat at! Slice was located at 1413 Second Avenue, and it had some good pizza! We each had a 'slice' of the Simpleton, I had an amber organic beer, and Jill had an organic Chardonnay to drink. Very good find!! We wandered about the Upper East Side for a bit, and then grabbed the 7 train to the game!!

Mets were able to pull this one out - very good game for them. We found Widmer Hefeweizen at the beer stand in center field (yeah!!), and grabbed dinner at the El Verano Taquería - chicken tacos YUM!! For this game, Jill found us some great seats on the first base side, lower deck. We actually got to see K-Rod pitch too! Bonus!!

Realizing that we were to tired to drive back to Binghamton after the game, Jill made ressies at the Fairfield Inn near the airport in Newark. So, not having to make the long trek home, we took the 7 back to Times Square, and went to the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. for a late night bite to eat, followed by an ice cream from the ice cream man on the street! Subway and PATH train back to Newark afterwards. Up on Tuesday morning, and we drove home, stopping in Scranton for 'lunch' at the Quaker Steak and Lube off of the Carbondale Highway.

Jerry Manuel's charges answered his call.

Moments after Carlos Beltran became the ninth player to join the Mets' phone-book sized disabled list yesterday afternoon, Manuel said it was time for those left behind to "step up to another level."

Boy, did they. Overlooked reliever Brian Stokes stepped higher than anyone, but Stokes was far from the only second-tier Met to take it up a notch in a tense 6-4 win over the Cardinals at Citi Field.

The Mets also shook off Beltran's trip to the DL and a no-injury car accident involving Jose Reyes with huge contributions from a host of unlikely characters, including Tim Redding, Omir Santos, Alex Cora, Daniel Murphy and Luis Castillo.

"We have to have people step up, no doubt about that," said Manuel, whose team snapped a two-game skid and moved within a 1½ games of the idle Phillies. "That's going to be key. People are going to be getting opportunities, and they need to take advantage of those opportunities."

While Redding pitched seven-plus strong innings against the first-place Cardinals' potent lineup, the quartet of Santos, Cora, Murphy and Castillo combined for 11 hits to power a 14-hit attack.

Stokes had the biggest moment of all, though, retiring major-league home run leader Albert Pujols in an eighth-inning showdown that showed the injury-ravaged Mets' moxie.

With the Amazin's clinging to a one-run lead after Brendan Ryan's leadoff homer in the eighth, Stokes was called in to face Pujols with one on and one out.

Talk about a nightmare matchup: Not only did Pujols have 26 home runs overall, but the slugger also had pounded eight homers in just his previous 10 games.

But Stokes, who had pitched just one inning in the previous four games, proceeded to induce a weak comebacker from Pujols on an 83 mph slider on a 2-2 count.

Stokes fielded it cleanly, then proceeded to start an inning-ending double play that sent the boisterous crowd of 38,488 into a frenzy and prompted a standing ovation for the right-hander.

"I try not to think about who I'm facing," Stokes said. "I just try to make quality pitches, and it just worked out for the best tonight. I knew who it was I was facing, but I wasn't going to give in. "

When Frankie Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth for his 19th save, all the Mets' injuries and the overworked bullpen's horrendous week against Tampa Bay and Baltimore seemed like distant afterthoughts.

"If you get good pitching, you have a chance every night to win a game," said Manuel, who also got a key out from back-of-the-bullpen lefty Jon Switzer in the eighth. "As long as we're getting that type of effort from the bullpen, we should be OK."

Redding and the four unlikely bats helped the Mets get to their re-energized bullpen and provided a key insurance run in the eighth inning to boot.

The much-maligned Redding picked up his first win as a Met by keeping the powerful Cardinals in check for seven-plus innings. He allowed four runs on five hits and just one walk while striking out four.

"I got here today and a lot of things were going on," said Redding, who improved to 1-2. "It was a whirlwind day all around, so I told myself that I need to get off to a good start and keep this team in the game."

A Mets lineup that began the night with just 16 homers combined compared to Pujols' 26 by himself then held up its end.

Santos rang a career-high four hits, Murphy homered, Castillo had three hits and a huge defensive play from his knees and Cora came through with two hits and a team-high two RBIs.

"No one's going to feel sorry for the Mets," said Cora, who basically has no backup at shortstop with Reyes on the DL. "If we feel sorry for ourselves, we're in big trouble. You show up every day, play your heart out and see what happens."

Total Mileage: 342 Miles

Total Miles Travelled:
132,256 Miles!

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