The Mets must hate Willie Harris. Well, maybe not hate. They just didn’t like him for all of one minute in the sixth inning on Tuesday night when he broke up Dillon Gee’s no-hitter with a lead-off solo shot to the centerfield bleachers.
What was supposed to be a duel between two young pitchers debuting on the same night turned out to be a one-sided show. Gee, 24, wasn’t a head-turner per se, but the Mets lineup made him look way better than the Nats’ Yunesky Maya for the first two innings.
One day after a 13-3 offensive pounding of New York must have left the Nationals tired. Poor Maya. The sleepy bats in this 4-1 loss couldn’t wake from their sweet slumber.
The Cuban born Maya, 29, achieved a career dream of pitching in the Major League’s at an American ballpark on Tuesday. Then, four batters into the game, Mets first baseman Ike Davis tags a ball to clear the bases. It was a three-run homer. Poor Maya.
A little run support could have been the answer for a shaky first and second where Maya wasn’t fooling any one in the Mets lineup with his fastball, but that didn’t happen.
What did work for Maya was his ability to get out of what he started on his own. After walking Davis in the third, he went on to retire nine out of the ten final batters he faced in five innings.
“He kind of pitched as advertised,” manager Jim Riggleman said. “He got better as he went along, though. I think if he had been that sharp … out of the get-go, maybe he [only] gives up a run or two.”
It’s interesting to note the pitch counts between Gee and Maya. Gee threw 86 pitches, 53 for strikes over seven innings. Maya threw 87 pitches, 58 for strikes over five innings. Both got better as the night progressed. The difference is: If Gee had first game jitters, he didn’t show them as much as Maya did.
“It’s the first game. I was a little bit nervous,” Maya said to teammate Wil Nieves, who translated for him. “I gained a lot of experience from this game, and hopefully it’s going to be the first one of many. … Hopefully it’s going to be one of many games I’m going to be pitching with this team, so I can help them this year and next year, too.”
Today: Mets RHP R.A. Dickey (9-6, 2.91) faces RHP Livan Hernandez (9-10, 3.81) at 12:35 p.m.