It seemed like the perfect ending to a weekend of imperfection. Travis Ishikawa slid home with the winning run of a ninth inning rally off of Francisco Rodriguez, wasting a brilliant start by Johan Santana and sealing a four-game sweep of the Mets by the Giants. And then, suddenly, luck smiled on the Mets.
Home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi, best known as the guy who mistook foul for fair during last year's Yankees-Twins playoff series, called Ishikawa out and Rodriguez escaped the inning. It was an awful call -- "He was safe all the way, so I don't know why," said Mets catcher Henry Blanco after the game -- but it was just about the sweetest bit of incompetence that the Mets have ever seen. Ike Davis drove in a run in the top of the tenth and Jerry Manuel, unconcerned about the coronary health of the fan base, sent K-Rod back out to nail down what laughably goes down as a win for him in the statisical record.
The fact that the Mets tossed their own complaints about Cuzzi into the ether after the game seems a bit ungracious. They weren't wrong, the man never misses a chance to show he's not fit for his job, it's just kinda like polishing off a free bowl of stew and then complaining that there weren't enough pearl onions.
Because the Mets were starving and Cuzzi threw them a feast. Another loss Sunday would have pushed them six games back of the Braves and allowed the Phillies to slip in front of them. With seven more games on this western swing, it's quite likely that there are going to be more losses coming down the pike and dropping a fourth straight would make it quite hard to salvage much of anything positive out of this trip.
Now, though, they've got a win and a reason to feel good about themselves. More than that, Jose Reyes should be back Monday to help jumpstart an offense that's useless without him setting the table. As with anything having to do with Reyes's health, we'll keep our fingers crossed until he's actually in the lineup and creating havoc for the opposition.
One good turn can beget another and so on and so on until the Mets are back within spitting distance of the Braves and fighting for a playoff spot. When and if that happens, no one is going to care that the Mets needed a gift-wrapped win to keep them from sinking right after the All-Star break.
It certainly doesn't hurt to have that kind of luck on your side, though.