Jenrry Mejia‘s (0-3) 1st major league start for the New York Mets this afternoon was not exactly a rip-roarin’ success. In fact, he lost to the enigmatic Carlos Zambrano (7-6) and the Chicago Cubs. He threw 97 pitches over just 5 innings, allowing 8 hits, 2 walks and 4 runs, all earned, while striking out 2. The 1st of his 2 strikeouts was, hopefully, a sign of things to come from Mejia. With 1 strike on Marlon Byrd with 2 outs in the bottom of the 1st inning, Mejia threw a dazzling curve that began in the lower outside portion of the strike zone then danced even lower and away from a lunging Byrd for a swing and a miss. The next pitch was a 95mph fastball with movement also placed perfectly on the outside corner that Byrd swung through for the final out of the inning. But from my perspective that was the high point.
It was a scoreless tie in the bottom of the 2nd. Xavier Nady was on 2nd base with 2 outs when Geovany Soto doubled to left scoring Nady for a 1-0 Cubs lead. The following inning a Nady sacrifice fly plated Byrd and Chicago had a 2-0 lead. In the top of the 4th the Mets cut that lead in half in an exciting way. Luis Castillo led off with a walk then Carlos Beltran singled putting runners on the corners with none out. David Wright flew out bringing rookie Lucas Duda to the plate. As Duda struck out swinging for out number 2 Beltran attempted to steal 2nd base and the Cubs catcher Soto threw to 2nd. When he did so Castillo took off from 3rd and scored on his steal of home as a nifty Beltran slide eluded the tag at 2nd for what would have been the 3rd out of the inning. You’ll tell your grandchildren where you were when Castillo stole home. 2-1 Cubs after 3 1/2.
A Byrd RBI double in the 5th plated rookie sensation Starlin Castro to make it 3-1 Cubs then with Byrd on 3rd base Mejia struck out Tyler Colvin swinging for the 3rd out of the inning but in the process threw a wild pitch that went 5-hole on Mets catcher Mike Nickeas who was making his 1st major league appearance. Colvin arrived safely at 1st base and Byrd trotted home with the Cubs 4th run while Nickeas retrieved the ball. After 5 innings it was 4-1 Cubs. That would be Mejia’s last inning of work. Fast forward to the top of the 7th when Ike Davis hit his 1st home run since July 29th, the 16th of his rookie season, cutting the Cubs lead to 4-2. But the Cubs answered back in the bottom of the inning when reliever Elmer Dessens gave up a solo blast to Aramis Ramirez that made it 5-2 Cubs. The Beltran-Castillo combo worked again in the 8th off of Chicago reliever Andrew Cashner. With 2 outs Castillo walked and Beltran laced a double to deep center driving him in with what proved to be the final run of the game. Carlos Marmol closed it out by striking out 3 batters, all looking, in the 9th for his 27th save. Final score Chicago 5, New York 3.