The game started off quietly enough, with the Mets and Cubs tied at 1 after three innings. It didn’t stay that way, though: the Mets exploded for 15 runs between the fourth and sixth innings in routing the Cubs 17-1 on Wednesday.
David Wright, Ike Davis, Scott Hairston and Daniel Murphy combined to drive in all of the runs for the Mets, with Wright knocking in five and the other three plating four apiece. The Mets were the first team since the 2007 Rangers and just the fourth since 1918 to have four players each with four RBI in a game.
Those 2007 Rangers did it in the memorable 30-3 win over the Orioles in the first game of a doubleheader on Aug. 22. Marlon Byrd, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ramon Vazquez and Travis Metcalf all had four RBI in that one, with Salty and Vazquez knocking in seven runs apiece. Metcalf did it one swing, delivering a grand slam in his lone at-bat off the bench.
The Mets also got a grand slam today, that from Hairston. Murphy got three of his four RBI on his first two homers of the season. Davis homered and doubled twice to raise his average above .200 for the first time all year. Wright knocked in five runs with a sac fly, a double and a single and then got the final three innings off, costing him two at-bats.
The other teams with four four-RBI players: the 1953 Braves (Johnny Logan, Eddie Mathews, Jim Pendleton and Jack Dittmer in a 19-4 win over the Pirates) and the 1979 Phillies (Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Garry Maddox and Bob Boone in a 23-22 win over the Cubs).
The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.
Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.
Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.
James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.
The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.