As the 50th anniversary of the Summer Of Love swirled through the streets of San Francisco, the Giants were snubbed in a three-game sweep by a Mets team that’s been dealing with a heap of heartbreak of their own.
Mets starter Rafael Montero had a lot of lady luck in Las Vegas this season, but as a pitcher in the Big Leagues his dominance in Triple-A turned into major disappointment with a bloated 10.80 ERA in two starts.
Sunday Montero showered manager Terry Collins with a series of signature change ups and sliders, fending off San Francisco for 5.2 innings with one run on five hits, striking out seven.
“That’s exactly what we were hoping to see,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “I hope this is what we’re going to see from now on because his stuff’s good enough. His stuff plays. He’s got a good arm. I’m hoping that he’s grown up now and knows how to use it.”
After his up and down elevator ride back and forth to Nevada, this latest outing may have given Montero a little more rope to remain on the roster, possibly in the bullpen, with Zack Wheeler’s imminent return to the rotation on Friday.
What was encouraging about Montero’s performance on Sunday was his ability to keep his composure in compromising situations.
Staked to a three-run lead he loaded the bases in the third on a pair of singles and a walk. The stage was set for his routine unraveling, but he limited Buster Posey to a sac fly to right. With runners on the corners and two outs, he got a little help from Rene Rivera who nabbed Hunter Pence trying to steal second with Brandon Belt clinging to a 3-2 count.
Rivera also had his righty’s back at the plate by slugging a pair of home runs to give NY the only runs they needed. Montero cruised the rest of the way, including striking out the side in the fourth, for his first win in three years.
It’s moments like these that you start to question whether or not the Mets can make some magic out of the mess they’ve gotten themselves into. They lost two prior series to two formidable teams then managed to sweep a mediocre ball club.
We’ve seen them do it in the past, that’s why we want to believe. If their pitching takes a miraculous turn, like we witnessed on Sunday with Montero, and the offense keeps clocking the ball – who knows? Stranger things have happened.