‘Scrappy’ Mets cruise past Padres in opener

Colin Cowgill hit a grand slam to provide the final, 11-2, deficit. Credit: Getty Images
Colin Cowgill, center, hit a grand slam to provide the final, 11-2, deficit.
Credit: Getty Images

David Wright had to think when asked what attribute would best describe his team in a Sunday morning press conference.

After a moment, he settled on “scrappy.”

Roughly 29 hours later, the 2013 Mets began the process of living up to their captain’s appraisal.

There was nothing aesthetically pleasing about the Mets’ 11-2 Opening Day win over the Padres at Citi Field Monday afternoon. Instead, what the announced 41,053 in attendance witnessed was a three hour and 20 minute ode to fundamental baseball.

The Mets improved to an MLB-best 34-18 on Opening Day with an offensive attack that plated 11 runs on 13 hits. The Mets finished the afternoon 7-for-14 with runners in scoring position. Seven players recorded at least one RBI, and five others recorded at least one two-out RBI.

Colin Cowgill set a career high with four RBI, all coming in the seventh with his two-out grand slam. Cowgill’s first major-league grand slam increased the lead to 11-2. Wright went 1-for-4 with a walk, an RBI, a run scored and two stolen bases.

Marlon Byrd finished 2-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored. John Buck and Ruben Tejada each went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI.

Defensively, the Mets committed only one error, and Jon Niese threw 6 2/3 strong innings to earn the win in his first opening day start. He allowed what looks to be a bad Padres team only four hits and two runs. Niese also reached base in all three plate appearances with two singles and walk. He also drove in the second run of the season for the Mets.

Brandon Lyon, Scott Atchison and Scott Rice combined to throw a perfect 2 1/3 innings in relief of Niese.

It was as close to a perfect start as could be for a team whose manager has emphasized playing the game “the right way” throughout his tenure as manager.

Simply, the Mets were a Tom Emanski Instructional Video. What they weren’t was flashy.

That trait is characteristic of the reigning NL East champion Nationals.

Three hours and 59 minutes southwest of Citi Field, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg took turns dominating the moribund Marlins, in the Nationals’ 2-0 Opening Day win at Nationals Park.

Harper became the youngest player in MLB history to hit two home runs in his team’s first game of a season, while Strasburg limited the Marlins to three hits in seven innings. The win was the first of the season for a team many predict will win the World Series.

The Nationals win was marked by on-field award presentations and curtain calls. For Mets fans of a certain vintage, if you shut your eyes, your memory took you back to Queens in the late 1980s and the Davey Johnson-managed Mets.

He’s remembered fondly around these parts for being the on-field leader of a brash, brawling, star-laden squad to its second World Series championship. He is expected to lead a brash, star-laden squad to its first World Series championship in his last season as a manager.

The expectations in Queens this year are decidedly different than they are in our nation’s capital. The Nationals are expected to win while the Mets are setting the foundation for the future.

Yet on Opening Day, everyone’s a contender — even a scrappy team.

Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Breaking: Local

Judge rules Tsarnaev can view victim autopsy photos

Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev can view the autopsy photographs of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Local

Police warn of attempted assault on woman near…

Police in Cambridge issued an alert after a woman said she was the victim of an attempted sexual assault after leaving Porter Square early Wednesday.…

Local

Kevin Kayvon Edson: Finish line hoax suspect sent…

The man who allegedly left a backpack near the finish line on the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings was due in court on Wednesday.

Local

Wahlbergs expanding Wahlburgers fast food joint across North…

Wahlburgers, a fast casual burger restaurant founded by brothers Mark, Donnie, and Paul Wahlberg and subject of a new A&E Network’s original series, “Wahlburgers”, announced expansion plans in North America,…

Entertainment

Here's what to do in Boston this weekend

THEATER The Wholehearted Thursday through April 27 Paramount Center 559 Washington St., Boston $25-$49, 617-824-8400 www.artsemerson.org This conceptually rich show from Stein | Holum Projects,…

Books

Becoming friends with New York City's oldest known…

"The Life and Times of Richard Musto" tells the story, through a poem, of the oldest known homeless man in New York City.

Movies

Interview: Johnny Depp says he looks like himself,…

Johnny Depp talks about his new sci-fi thriller "Transcendence," not wearing gaudy makeup and wigs for a change and how he's a bit of a Luddite.

Movies

Review: 'Heaven is for Real' tries to be…

The mega-bestseller "Heaven is for Real" becomes a movie that tries to portray wrestling with faith — or at least it tries to try.

MLB

MLB video highlights: White Sox beat Red Sox…

Red Sox fall on walk-off error to White Sox

NBA

NBA Draft Lottery day is May 20: Celtics…

NBA Draft Lottery day is Tuesday, May 20: Celtics percentage odds for a top overall pick

MLB

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be…

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be dumped just yet

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready…

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready to erupt once again in playoffs

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.

Wellbeing

Cognitive skills begin to drop at age 24

But the news isn't all that bad.

Career

How to get a job at a startup:…

We talked to Tarek Pertew, one of the co-founders behind Uncubed, about how to get your dream job at a startup.

Parenting

The 'smartest' summer camps across the country

See a list of summer camps across the country that emphasis learning, while still being fun.