WASHINGTON (AP) — Jose Reyes was so steamed at what he was sure was a bad call on the basepaths, he still was shaking his head and pacing in the dugout when Daniel Murphy stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning.
Murphy promptly delivered a game-tying homer.
A little while later, the Mets trailed again. Murphy came through again, this time hitting a two-run double after Reyes was walked intentionally, helping the Mets beat the Washington Nationals 6-3 for their sixth consecutive victory.
It was the first time in more than 19 months the Mets trailed on the road in the ninth and rallied to win, according to STATS LLC. The previous time was Sept. 25, 2009, when they scored twice in the ninth to win 6-5 at Florida.
“This so far is the biggest win we’ve had this year. I don’t think there’s any doubt,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “I know there’s fight in this team. We talked all spring training long: You can’t keep getting kicked around for two years and not have some anger. Hopefully days like tonight bring that up and show we’re not going to give up.”
In a seesaw game delayed 45 minutes at the start by rain, and seen by an announced crowd of 13,568, the Mets led 1-0, trailed 2-1, tied it at 2 in the eighth, fell behind 3-2 later that inning, then produced a four-run rally in the ninth against closer Sean Burnett (0-1).
That allowed Pedro Beato (1-0) to record his first major league win despite giving up fellow rookie Wilson Ramos’ sacrifice fly in the eighth that momentarily put Washington ahead by a run.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth to earn his sixth save in seven chances.
“Anytime you’re down and you fight back in it, it’s good for morale,” said Mets starter R.A. Dickey, who gave up two runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings.
With one out in the eighth and his team trailing 2-1, Reyes tried to take the extra base, hoping to stretch a double into a triple. Slow-motion TV replays appeared to show that Reyes’ right fingers stayed on the bag even as he slid through the tag made by third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. from center fielder Rick Ankiel’s throw.
Third-base umpire Marvin Hudson called Reyes out. Reyes popped up and yanked off his helmet, then threw it to the ground while yelling at the umpire. As he continued arguing, his dreadlocks flying this way and that, third-base coach Chip Hale intervened, pushing the player away.
“I went a little off there. A little crazy,” Reyes said. “I apologize if I overreacted, but in that situation, in the game, we’re losing in the eighth inning, 2-1. If I get a triple there with one out, we’ve got a good chance to score a run.”
Collins came out to argue with Hudson, too, but the call stood.
“I think he may have come off for a split-second,” Hairston Jr. said. “I just wanted to make sure I held the tag. And they called him out.”
Reyes thought Hudson might have had some help on the call.
“The third baseman, he said, ‘He came off the base.’ I don’t think (Hudson) ever got a good shot to see my hand there,” Reyes said. “He listened to the third baseman and he called me out, but my hand never came off the base.”
The next batter was Murphy, hitting for Justin Turner. With the count full, Murphy hammered a solo shot to right, making it 2-2.
After falling behind again, the Mets loaded the bases with none out in the ninth thanks to three straight singles, and pinch-hitter Chin-lung Hu’s sac fly made it 3-all, meaning Burnett blew his second save in five chances. Josh Thole followed with an RBI groundout to make it 4-3.
After Reyes was walked intentionally, Murphy doubled to extend the Mets’ lead to 6-3.
“It’s a tough one to live with,” Burnett said.
When Reyes slid across home plate, he bounced up and threw his arms wide apart in an exaggerated “safe” motion, then pointed in the direction of third-base umpire Hudson.
“One of the things I like, and it may came back to bite us — (Reyes’) passion to play, his energy. I think it’s contagious. He’s an excitable guy, and I think that’s why fans love him,” Collins said. “He plays the game with fun but with a great passion, and I think the rest of the guys bought into it tonight.”
NOTES: Washington’s Tom Gorzelanny went 6 1-3 innings, giving up one run and four hits. The Nationals are the only team in the majors whose starting pitcher has lasted at least five innings in each game this season. … The Mets’ winning streak is their longest since an eight-game run June 10-17, 2010. … Mets RHP Mike Pelfrey says he lost 11 pounds in recent days while sick but wants to make his next scheduled start Friday against the Phillies. Pelfrey threw a bullpen session Wednesday and said he “felt fine.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)