Cubs 10, Mets 6(11)

The Chicago Cubs really made manager Mike Quade sweat out their
first series win in Queens in more than five years.

Carlos Pena hit a go-ahead single in Chicago’s six-run 11th
inning, and the Cubs beat New York 10-6 on Sunday night in a game
that ended nearly five hours after the Mets held a touching
ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of
Sept. 11.

”We don’t do things the easy way, that’s for sure,” Quade
said. ”They kept playing, they kept battling.”

The Cubs scored late in each of the three games, losing the
opener Friday after taking a lead in the ninth, but winning the
last two after wasting advantages to take their first series in New
York since 2006.

The Mets’ disappointing finish came with nearly all of the
33,502 fans – several thousand first responders and their families
receiving free tickets – long gone from a game that started at 8:20
p.m. There was a 24-minute pregame tribute to victims of the
attacks, their families and many of the first responders that
worked tirelessly at the World Trade Center site in 2001.

Making just his sixth big league appearance, Josh Stinson (0-1),
the Mets’ seventh of nine pitchers, walked Marlon Byrd to start the
11th and gave up a single to Bryan LaHair. Pena singled for the
lead.

Pinch-hitter Alfonso Soriano and Darwin Barney each hit two-run
doubles off Ryota Igarashi before the first out, and Geovany Soto
added a sacrifice fly.

”You keep grinding and grinding,” Pena said. ”It’s not
easy.”

New York trailed 4-1 after five innings but scored twice in the
sixth off Matt Garza. The Mets tied it with an unearned run when
reliever Jeff Samardzjia made a bad throw on Justin Turner’s
infield single.

The Mets loaded the bases in the first, ninth and 10th innings
but came up empty each time. Ramon Ortiz (1-2) got David Wright to
pop out to end the 10th before the Cubs went ahead in the 11th,
eliciting mocking calls from the few remaining to bring in an
experienced pitcher when Stinson gave up the go-ahead hit to
Pena.

”As we went through the ballgame, we had the guys at home plate
we wanted to have at home plate several times,” Mets manager Terry
Collins said. ”But we didn’t get it done.”

The mood was much different before the game. With the stadium
lights dimmed and fans holding electronic candles in one hand and
many using the other to take photos with their phones, the Mets
held a dignified ceremony that included members of the 2001 team
that played in the first professional sporting event in New York,
10 days after the World Trade center collapsed.

Players from the Cubs and Mets escorted members of ”Tuesday’s
Children,” a charity for families affected by the attacks, onto
the field, where they lined up among the uniformed
emergency-service workers on the first- and third-base lines. A
100-by-300 foot flag was held by 225 first responders and victims’
family members from ”Tuesday’s Children.”

”It was really, really well done,” Collins said. ”Even Mike
Piazza, standing next to me, said, ‘Boy, isn’t this beautiful out
here. What a nice tribute.’ I think he’s absolutely right.”

Marc Anthony sang the national anthem, as he did on Sept. 21,
2001. Piazza, who hit a rousing two-run homer in the eighth inning
to help the Mets beat the Atlanta Braves that night, caught a
ceremonial first pitch from John Franco, a teammate on the 2001
squad.

There was no uplifting ending this time for New York, but Jason
Bay didn’t mind.

”It was a little bit different today. Obviously, you could tell
the atmosphere was a little bit different. But I think most of us
have played in emotional games or seesaw games before,” Bay said.
”It was actually fun because it was different. Obviously, not fun
losing. We had chances but it was pretty special to be a part
of.”

Between innings, the Mets played videos on the main scoreboard
that paid tribute to the recovery efforts. They also thanked the
2001 squad’s manager Bobby Valentine, who wasn’t able to
participate in the pregame ceremony because he was part of the ESPN
broadcast team for the game.

American Idol contestant Pia Toscano sang ”God Bless America”
during the seventh-inning stretch, standing with several uniformed
first responders around Major League Baseball’s red, white and blue
logo that was painted on the grass in front of the Mets dugout.

Mets starter Miguel Batista was with the World Series champion
Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001, and made two appearances in the
stirring series against the New York Yankees that inspired the
city.

On Sunday, the 40-year-old journeyman, making his third start
for the Mets, struggled with his command. He walked three in five
innings, hit two batters in the third and gave up four runs and
five hits.

Garza gave up three runs and seven hits in seven innings. He
walked three and struck out four.

”I feel bad for Garza,” Quade said. ”He’s done a lot this
year and he threw the ball well.”

Notes: Mets reliever Bobby Parnell said his dad, a fire chief in
Salsbury, N.C., recently received a piece of steel from the World
Trade Center site that will be used in a memorial. … Quade, who
was a coach with the Oakland Athletics when they played the Yankees
in the 2001 playoffs, deliberately didn’t visit the site on this
trip. ”I did not want to get angry again,” he said.