The night Lucas Duda beat Mariano Rivera

night-lucas-duda-beat-mariano-rivera
Lucas Duda hits Mariano Rivera's cutter. (MLB.com)
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Though manager Terry Collins said all the right things about building on Tuesday night's 2-1 victory over the Yankees at Citi Field, team, fans (and owners, naturally) realize there probably won't be too many bright spots this season.

This may well top the list.

In a ninth-inning rally as surprising as it was inspiring to those fans who stuck through a 91-minute rain delay, consecutive hits from Daniel Murphy, David Wright and Lucas Duda ended Mariano Rivera's night with a blown save, and no recorded outs. That's the first time in Rivera's career that ever happened, by the way. And it took his opponents 1,072 tries to get there.

The Mets didn't exactly crush Rivera's pitches. Murphy's double was of the bloop variety, settling just on the fair side of the left field line. Wright's line drive was the hardest-hit ball of the inning, scoring Murphy. But Wright only got to second base on the throw when center fielder Brett Gardner threw over the cutoff man, putting the winning run in scoring position for Duda.

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As Duda put it, "I took a swing and shattered my bat into 50 pieces. Luckily, it just went over the second baseman’s head."

Duda hit a cutter, Rivera's trademark pitch. And he hit it, as he said, "just enough."

Terry Collins, whose flirtation with laissez-faire management has apparently given way to doing things like batting Ike Davis eighth, he explained the Mets' strategy this way: "You can't figure it out. There's no words to explain it."

The game over, Yankee fans took to Twitter to explain to Mets fans how terrible their team is, as if anyone is more aware of that than Mets fans themselves. But the Mets have won three in a row, not thanks to an offense that has scored five runs or fewer in 22 straight games, but because of three solid-or-better pitching performances, the best of them Tuesday night from Matt Harvey.

It's hard to know precisely how to illustrate Harvey's greatness in a single moment. Is it the eight innings without a walk, but ten strikeouts? Is it reaching 98 miles per hour with his fastball on his 106th pitch? Is it the slider he threw to Robinson Cano with two on in the third that dropped a foot? 

It's all of this. And the one run he gave up came thanks to an outfield misplay by Marlon Byrd that allowed Brett Gardner to take second after a single.

Harvey's greatness, then, is clear to everyone. As for the meaning of the win itself, Mets fans have no illusions. This Mets' offense proved it's too potent for Mariano Rivera just like Matt Franco proved, back in 1999, that no pitcher could get him out when it mattered, or Omir Santos proved in 2009 that he was the heir apparent to Mike Piazza.

David Robertson gave up the lead Monday night, proving the best setup man in baseball can have a bad night. And Rivera, on a night he was honored by the Mets for an iconic career, proved even the best closer there's ever been can occasionally give up the game.

The gloating Yankee fans are missing the point. The Mets and their fans, especially through this dark half-decade, are well aware that there will be no meaningful baseball in Flushing for a while. The Yankees are better, sure, and Rivera's the very best.

For once, though, Lucas Duda was too much for them to handle.

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