Author Richard Bach once said, “Every problem has a gift for you in its hands,” and after yesterday’s game, the New York Mets will testify that no saying rings truer. Just one day after All-Star catcher Paul Lo Duca went down with a pulled hamstring—seemingly a disaster with fellow All-Star Carlos Beltran suffering from a stomach muscle strain and six other players already on the Disabled List—backup catcher Ramon Castro (pictured) carried the Mets to victory over the Washington Nationals. Castro, who went 2-for-2 with a home run, a double and two RBIs in the rain-shortened 5-0 win, has now hit safely in his last 11 starts and is 17-for-38 in those games. Despite just 101 at-bats, he is tied for fourth on the team with seven home runs. “They don’t give me the chance I want, but I know what I have to do,” Castro said, following the game. Thanks to Lo Duca’s injury, now he has that chance.
Unlike Castro’s surprise contribution, starting pitcher John Maine gave New York Mets exactly what they anticipated. Maine—the Mets ace all season—tossed five shutout innings of one-hit ball, retiring the last 14 batters he faced after giving up a leadoff single to start the game. The umpires stopped play with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning—just 10 minutes after Maine recorded the out that made the game official—and play never resumed, as a steady downpour of rain, thunder and lightning wreaked havoc on Shea Stadium.
The win helped the Mets split the four-game weekend series with the lowly Nationals, but their schedule gets awfully tough starting tomorrow. In their next three series, New York plays at NL-Central leading Milwaukee, at Chicago against the surging Cubs and then they return home to face Atlanta.