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July 06, 2005

Pitchers' duel

The Mets have come to town for a series against the Nationals. Last night, my son and I went to see the game. It seems that everyone here has shares in season tickets, but I couldn't find anyone to part with seats for this series, at least for the games I could possibly go to. So good old eBay came through. I bought a pair of nice field-level seats at below face value (at least until shipping was added in), and we sat about 15 rows behind the Nationals' dugout at the third-base end.

My son, wearing his Mets cap and a 2000 National League Champs shirt, tried to get an autograph from the Nationals players before the game. (I advised him to remove the cap.) He handed a freebie Post sports section to one player, who signed it for him. When he got back to our seats, we noticed that it was Ryan Church who had signed it. By coincidence, Church's photo was on the front page of the sports section, so Church had signed his own photo.

Estaban Loaiza pitched a great game for the Nationals, and Pedro Martinez for the Mets. One amusing exchange occurred in the middle of the game, when Loaiza struck out Martinez on three straight fast balls, making Martinez look bad (which I admit is not difficult). The first batter up in the bottom of the inning was Loaiza, and Martinez must have figured he'd get Loaiza back. One fast ball, then two really slow off-speed pitches, which Loaiza lunged for, and Loaiza was gone.

The game was 1-0, Nationals, until they scored two more runs in the seventh off Pedro, who was taken out at the end of the inning. The Mets tried to come back in the top of the ninth, scoring two after Loaiza was removed, and placing the tying run, David Wright, at third base. I was a little surprised that with the third baseman, Vinnie Castilla, playing about a mile away from the base, Wright didn't at least fake a dash home to try to cause relief pitcher Chad Cordero to balk him in. Anyway, Cordero retired the last batter, and the Mets failed.

The game was great fun. Lots of Mets fans all over the stadium. Great to have baseball back in Washington.