Wilson Ramos hit two home runs, drove in four runs in all, and picked off a baserunner. Then, his replacement — backup catcher Tomas Nido — hit a walk-off solo home run in the 13th inning to give the New York Mets a 5-4 win over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.
For the second day in a row, the Tigers grabbed a lead before their starting pitcher even took the mound. Niko Goodrum and Dawel Lugo hit singles to lead off the game, and Nicholas Castellanos scored Goodrum with a sacrifice fly to right. Unfortunately, that’s all they would get, as Miguel Cabrera grounded into the first of two inning-ending double plays he would have on the day.
The Tigers threatened to score again in the second, but came away empty. Christin Stewart led off the inning with a walk, and advanced to second on a two-out single from JaCoby Jones. Unfortunately, National League baseball rules are weird, and both runners were left stranded when Ryan Carpenter struck out to end the inning. Carpenter promptly hung a fastball to Wilson Ramos to start the bottom of the second, and Ramos deposited it into the left-center field seats to tie the score at 1.
The fourth inning brought on more of the same. Stewart singled off Mets starter Jason Vargas, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a groundout moved Stewart to third, JaCoby Jones was intentionally walked with two outs. Jones stole second to put two runners in scoring position for Carpenter, but the overmatched lefty was once again retired to leave a pair of runners stranded. Carpenter gave up another run via an error, two balks on consecutive pitches — because umpires need to feel important, I guess — and an RBI single from Ramos.
The Tigers briefly took the lead in the sixth inning. Grayson Greiner drew a one-out walk, and scored when Brandon Dixon — an actual hitter trained to be a hitter and paid to hit the ball — hit a two-run pinch hit homer to put the Tigers up 3-2.
Yeah, and imagine if he were allowed to hit three more times in this game https://t.co/6HmN0NJHAA— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) May 25, 2019
Lefthander Nick Ramirez, who has otherwise been reliable in his short stint in the majors thus far, walked the first hitter he faced in the bottom of the sixth. He looked like he would escape trouble after recording a pair of outs, but Wilson Ramos (who else?) hit a two-run opposite field home run to give the Mets a 4-3 lead. The homer was Ramos’ second of the day and third of the series — while normally a power threat, he only had two home runs on the season prior to this weekend.
The Tigers tied the score in the bottom of the eighth. Josh Harrison hit a hustle double to left with one out, then moved to third on a weak groundout from Grayson Greiner. JaCoby Jones poked a single to right off Mets closer Edwin Diaz to score Harrison, knotting the score at 4 all. Jones moved into scoring position with his second steal of the day, but was stranded once again when Ronny Rodriguez struck out to end the inning.
Then, as tends to happen from time to time, both offenses went quiet. The game went into extra innings, and continued after a quiet 10th. Gordon Beckham singled in the 11th, but was picked off of first base by Ramos after a bunt attempt by Niko Goodrum. Lugo singled with two outs, but a Castellanos fly out ended the top half of the inning. Daniel Stumpf narrowly avoided disaster when he wiggled out of a bases loaded, one-out jam to keep the game tied.
The Tigers put together another rally in the top of the 12th, but came away empty again. Josh Harrison flubbed a bunt attempt with two on, gifting the Mets their first out of the inning. After Grayson Greiner walked to load the bases, Hector Santiago retired Jones and pinch hitter John Hicks to retire the side.
Joe Jimenez worked a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom half of the frame, and the Tigers went quietly in the top of the 13th before Nido led off the bottom half of the inning with a walk-off home run to center field to win it for New York.
Let’s talk about the balk thing
In the process of coming set with a runner on base, Carpenter would bring his hands down into a ready position, then take a deep breath in, which caused his hands to move a second time. By the letter of the law, this is a balk. However, with how rarely the balk rule is actually enforced to its intended purpose — instead to point out meaningless infractions like this — it was unfortunate to see this slight motion have such a huge impact on the game.
We’re going streaking!
The Tigers still do not have a sacrifice bunt on the year, which is now 50 games old. This streak is tied for the second longest to open a season, and just one behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the all-time record. Special thanks to Gordon Beckham and Josh Harrison for their efforts to keep this streak alive on Saturday.