Willie Harris repeatedly beat the Mets in the ninth inning, albeit with his glove, while an NL East opponent.
Now with the Amazin’s and in position to help continue the team’s six-game winning streak Thursday, Harris came up short. Former teammate Drew Storen struck out Harris to strand pinch-runner Chin-lung Hu at second base in the ninth inning as the Mets lost to the Nationals, 4-3, in Washington.
“I was seeing 97 [mph] and a good slider. The guy’s got good stuff. I was up there trying to battle, trying to drive the run in. Unfortunately I didn’t come through,” Harris said. “It hurts to lose this game. They had the lead the entire game, but we felt like the entire time we had a chance. And we had a chance and I couldn’t get the hit. I wish I could have got the hit. It’d tied the game up. And who knows what happens after that? But I’ve got to tip my hat to Storen. He did a really good job, and he deserves his credit.”
Harris went 0-for-4 as his average sagged to .237. That came a day after Scott Hairston went 0-for-2 and his average dropped to .167.
Terry Collins said he plans to go back to regularly using Jason Pridie as the starting center fielder on Friday in Philly until Angel Pagan returns. The manager said he gave Hairston and Harris a start apiece in D.C. just so they could be sharp against the Phillies for pinch-hitting.
As for Harris making the final out Thursday, Storen said: "I haven't really faced a teammate before, just being new to the big leagues. I knew that he knew what I was trying to do there, so that kind of added to it. I was just trying to make a quality pitch, because I knew if I made a mistake I'd pay for it. … With the base open, I don't want to give Willie something to hit there. If I throw a fastball there and I leave it up, he'll make me pay for it. So I wanted to make sure I made a quality pitch, and I felt the slider was the one I wanted to go with."
Harris, for his part, said the past week’s winning streak made him confident something good was going to happen.
Said Harris: “We’re coming to the ballpark like, ‘We’re going to win.’ When you don’t win, it hurts really bad and it puts a bad taste in your mouth, especially when you have opportunities to win. It’s different when you just get beat by six or seven runs.”