Terry Collins is a man of his word.
One day after a magnificent tirade about his bumbling club, the Mets manager made good on his promise to do everything he could to turn around their fortunes. Collins made a series of moves during a wild bottom of the eighth inning that joined with some Metsian play from the Pirates to force ahead the go-ahead runs in a 9-8 win over the Pirates.
After Ronny Paulino singled to start the frame, Collins went to the bench to replace him on the base paths and replace Jason Isringhausen as the hitter. To the surprise of many, he opted to use Willie Harris as the runner and last night's starting pitcher Chirs Capuano as the hitter.
Capuano didn't get a bunt down on the first two pitches and that's when the Pirates took over in the baseball follies. Jose Veras balked Harris to second, Collins pinch hit Josh Thole for Capuano, Veras threw a wild pitch, Thole walked and, finally, Ruben Tejada lofted a sacrifice fly into center.
The Pirates didn't cut off the throw to the plate on that fly out so Thole went to second and Clint Hurdle decided to intentionally walk Daniel Murphy to get to Jose Reyes. Veras then walked Reyes to load the bases, got an out and walked Carlos Beltran to force in another run.
If it feels bizarre to read about such an inning, imagine watching it unfold in real time. And then sit down because all the madness came after the Mets rallied from being down 7-0 to tie the game.
That's right, the team that coughed up leads in each of the first two games of the series stormed back after Mike Pelfrey spotted the Buccos a seven-spot. That would be the very same team that struggles to score more than a thimbleful of runs on any given day coming alive for seven runs with a lineup that still looks one used in Buffalo during a rehab stint by big league regulars.
We were poking some fun at Collins for his, shall we say, unique approach in the eighth but the comeback certainly feels like the residue of the attitude he's put into place since taking over. His rant on Wednesday probably helped drive the point home that there's no excuse for not competing whether you're down seven runs or down a few of your best players.
Just contrast that with Jerry Manuel's hands-off approach of the last two seasons and it is obvious the Mets are in better hands right now regardless of whether their record winds up showing much improvement. That's not a World Series, but it is a start.