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The description of Monday night's Mets-Nationals game sounds an awful lot like the kind of game that the Mets have made a habit of losing over the last few years.
Someone jumped out to an early lead and then watched it evaporate thanks in large part to a home run off of an unlikely bat. The difference this time is that the bat belonged to Kirk Nieuwenhuis, the rookie who has done nothing but hit since coming up to replace injured center fielder Andres Torres.
His homer tied the score at three, something that stood up until ninth inning follies led a team to a painful 4-3 loss that will eat away at them. The difference this time is that it was the Nationals who melted down and handed over a victory to the suddenly unbeatable Mets.
Nats reliever Henry Rodriguez walked Mike Baxter to lead off the inning, which is bad but not nearly as bad as what happened when he fielded a bunt by Ruben Tejada. Rodriguez threw the ball away, allowing Baxter to make his way to third and, for a brief moment, home.
Third base coach Tim Teufel noticed a beat too late that the Nationals had actually recovered the ball so he threw up a stop sign so Baxter wouldn't get gunned down at the plate. Baxter decided the best way to stop was by throwing his face to the ground and then crawling back to third, something he did just before the ball arrived in Ryan Zimmerman's glove.
In past years, this would have been the crushing moment when Baxter would cut to the core of Mets fans everywhere by making an out and blowing the chance to win the game. In 2012, though, you can't even be mad at him because he was safe and Daniel Murphy singled in the next at-bat to win the game and send the Mets to a fourth straight win to open up the season.
This defying expectations stuff is a lot of fun, even if you need to include the required lots of baseball yet to be played caveat. The Mets are 4-0, something not even they expected, and that means you can laugh and smile and ignore every care in the world.
Mike Pelfrey looks exactly like the mediocre pitcher you thought he was? No matter, because the three runs and 10 hits he gave up didn't end up mattering and, by the way, did you notice that shutdown bullpen?
Ike Davis still doesn't have a hit this year? Imagine what it will be like when he finally starts stroking the ball!
Jason Bay remains Jason Bay? Well, you can't win 'em all, but how about the way that Tejada picks the ball at short?
All is well in Flushing for one more day because the Mets just cannot lose.