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.