Still No White Flags Over Citi Field

Walk-off homer by Angel Pagan pushes Mets back above .500.

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It was a week ago that Sandy Alderson said that trading Francisco Rodriguez did not constitute the waving of a white flag on the 2011 season.

There were some moments in the intervening days that argued otherwise, but the Mets made it clear on Wednesday night that the team is still fighting. They came back against the Cardinals twice and capped things off with their first walk-off home run of the year for a 6-5 win that moved the team back above .500.

Angel Pagan did the honors in the bottom of the 10th, striking a shot deep into right field that ricocheted off the facing of the upper deck just below the spot the SNY broadcast team chose to sit in a bid to get a different view.

They might have wished they chose a slightly less humid night to sit among the plebes, but they couldn't have asked for a better view of the big hit.

Pagan would never have had a chance to play hero if it wasn't for a guy who might be playing in his final home games at Citi Field this week. Carlos Beltran followed up a big night Tuesday with a game-tying homer in the sixth inning on Wednesday.

The Mets fell behind 4-0, but had cut the score to 4-2 when Beltran connected on his 15th homer of the season. Some had to wonder if this was the last time they would ever see him circle the bases in a Mets uniform while all had to agree that he had taken a page from the George Costanza playbook of leaving on a high note

The Cardinals grabbed another lead in the top of the eighth on a nifty bunt single, but couldn't hold it against the newest father on the Mets. Josh Thole missed Tuesday's game to see his son being born and celebrated the happy day with two RBIs, including a single the other way to re-tie the game with two outs in the eighth.

When you toss in the revamped bullpen getting Albert Pujols out twice, there was much to feel good about on Wednesday night. Sadly, all the good feelings in the world aren't going to change the inevitable truths of this season.

The Braves lost on Wednesday, dropping them to 16 games over .500. The Mets, for all their thrills, are just one game over .500 and sit 7.5 games out of the Wild Card, or exactly where they were a week ago.

They need to be moving forward faster than that to change anyone's mind about the way the rest of the season will play out and that's going to take things out of their control. They would need an almost total collapse from Atlanta, something you can't count on and can't expect given the way the season's played out thus far.

That doesn't mean the ride can't be enjoyable, though. Enjoy the last days of Beltran without thinking about what his departure might mean and then find something else to enjoy about this surprising Mets season.

Unless things take a major turn for the worse, they'll be happy to provide you with options.

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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