After a weekend spent kicking the ball around Yankee Stadium, the Mets defense at the start of Tuesday's game didn't fill anyone with confidence.
Rays hitters flipped ball after harmless ball into the air, but the Mets turned them into hits instead of outs. It is easy to blame the affront to the game that is the roof of the Rays' stadium for the difficulties, assuming you ignore the fact that members of just about every team catch routine fly balls during their stays in Tampa.
The added runners weren't coming around to score, but Chris Young's surgically-repaired shoulder is a ticking clock and the Mets were only going to get so far before they had to turn to the squad of amateur arsonists masquerading as their bullpen. The score was just 2-1 Rays in those early innings, but every Mets out made it feel like 12-1.
So the Mets decided to stop making outs. Jordany Valdespin singled home two runs during a two-out rally in the fifth to put the Mets in front, giving a very game Young a chance at his first win of the season and setting the stage for an unexpected offensive explosion.
Rays starter Alex Cobb got the first two outs of the seventh, but a walk and Valdespin double extended the Mets lead. The Rays went to a lefty, J.P. Howell, to face lefties Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis and wound up on the wrong end of a blowout.
Duda singled, Murphy singled and, for the first time since May 11, Davis hit a home run that put the game out of reach. The final would wind up 11-2 and Valdespin would drive in four runs, but Davis was unquestionably the man on everyone's mind at the end of the evening.
Thanks to a bunt single to beat a defensive shift earlier in the game, Davis had his first multi-hit game since May 9. It's incredible how awful Davis has been for the last month of the season, bad enough that he probably should have been sent to Buffalo a while ago, but there have been a few signs of life.
Davis had a key double in the ninth inning on Sunday and he's on a 5-for-15 jag with three extra-base hits in that period. Modest totals, to be sure, but Rome wasn't built in a day and Davis isn't going to be rebuilt in a day.
Whether this was a blip or a sign that Davis might be making his way back up the mountain remains to be seem. What's certain is that everything feels a lot easier after the Mets score 11 runs and have the rare stress-free final few innings to enjoy baseball again.
There wasn't much of that last week, but that's why they make next weeks.