Jordany Valdespin Makes His First Hit Count

Valdespin takes Jonathan Papelbon deep in the ninth

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, May 8, 2012  |  Updated 7:56 AM EDT
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Valdespin for the win.

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Omir Santos has some company.

Santos gained his one moment of Mets fame when he took Jonathan Papelbon deep to win a game at Fenway Park in 2009. It's the reason why many learned Santos' name and the reason why they still remember it now.

Jordany Valdespin may wind up making many more memories in a Mets uniform before his career comes to an end but, thanks to Monday night, he'll have some name recognition if he doesn't. With the score tied at two with two outs in the top of the ninth and Papelbon on the mound for the Phillies, Valdespin connected for a three-run, pinch hit home run to win the game.

It was the first hit of Valdespin's career and it came just a few hours after he was summoned from the minor leagues to replace Ruben Tejada on the roster. He couldn't have gotten the hit in more exciting fashion nor could he have hit it against a better combination of team and closer to make him a folk hero for years to come.

Valdespin's home run was just the final twist in a dramatic night for the Mets. They first had to stop Roy Halladay from dominating them -- a fate they avoided thanks to a two-run double by David Wright -- and then they had to replace yet another injured player.

They had to wriggle out of danger in the seventh when the Phillies loaded the bases with one out and it appeared that Hunter Pence beat out an attempted double play to give Philly the lead. Shane Victorino went out of the basepath to try to break it up, though, and the umpires called him out to bail out the Mets.

Catcher Josh Thole had to leave the game with dizziness after a collision at home plate with Ty Wigginton, but Thole's departure actually wound up working out for the Mets. Mike Nickeas doubled to extend the ninth inning long enough for Valdespin to play hero.

Admit it, deep down you thought the Mets were finished when the game came down to Nickeas and Valdespin. It's okay to harbor such doubts, but you're also free to use this better than expected start to the Mets season to start feeling like good things can happen with the franchise once again.

Your call, but the latter is going to be a lot more fun.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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