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Mets vs. Marlins recap: Cespedes the bestpedes

Yoenis Cespedes hit a walk-off home run to cap a dramatic Mets victory.

MLB: Miami Marlins at New York Mets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Yoenis Cespedes has been around for just a little over a year, and he’s already a contender for the top spot on my list of all-time favorite Mets. On Monday night, he capped an edge-of-your-seat game between the Mets and Marlins with a no-doubt solo home run in the bottom of the tenth that ended the game. And as a result, the Mets won a game that began with Rafael Montero starting for them opposite Jose Fernandez.

Montero was a walk machine, with six walks in five innings, but managed to work around that issue and finished the night with five scoreless innings. He struck out three and allowed just two hits, which mitigated the walk problem. Those walks cost him pitches, though, as he needed 100 to get through that relatively short start. But with all of that said, it was a pretty encouraging outing for him. In the Mets’ biggest game of the year to date, Montero—an afterthought by the end of the 2015 season—filled in for Jacob deGrom admirably.

Jose Fernandez wasn’t quite on top of his game in terms of control, either. He walked four Mets in six innings, striking out six along the way. Like Montero, he didn’t allow any runs, but it was great for the Mets that they got him out of the game on the early side.

The game remained scoreless through seven innings, with Sean Gilmartin and Kyle Barraclough matching each other with zeroes in the seventh. The excellent Addison Reed, who like Cespedes has been at his very best since joining the Mets, allowed a rare run when he gave up back-to-back doubles to Ichiro Suzuki and Marlins first baseman Xavier Scruggs.

The Mets answered that run, though, in the bottom of the inning. Jose Reyes led off with a double and moved to third on a long fly ball out to the warning track in left field off the bat of Alejandro De Aza. A wild pitch brought Reyes home, in crashing-but-uninjured fashion, to tie the game.

That was it for the eighth, and both bullpens kept the game tied at one in the ninth. Jeurys Familia pitched that inning for the Mets, but he was pinch hit for by Rene Rivera—officially—and Jay Bruce, the latter of whom entered the game after Don Mattingly made a questionable pitching change. As he has often done since joining the Mets, Bruce made an out, and the game went to the tenth.

The left-handed Josh Smoker took over from there, and he struck out Christian Yelich, got Marcell Ozuna to ground out, and struck out J.T. Realmuto for a perfect inning. Whether or not he’ll flourish in the big leagues in the long run remains to be seen, but the former Nationals first-round pick has made some major league hitters look foolish in his first few games at baseball’s highest level.

And that set things up for Cespedes in the bottom of the inning. Jose Reyes lined out to begin the inning. Alejandro De Aza struck out looking on a borderline call—on a night that featured a not-too-great strike zone all around. But Marlins reliever Nick Wittgren served up a pitch on a silver platter, and Cespedes didn’t miss it. It was clearly gone as soon as it came off his bat.

On top of the pitching matchup coming into the game, the Mets won a very big game despite not having Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera available because of nagging injuries. That they did so in dramatic fashion was a bonus, and they’ve caught the Marlins in the standings. There continues to be more work for the team to do, but right now, they are very much still alive.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Yoenis Cespedes, +43.7% WPA, Rafael Montero, +26.0% WPA, Jose Reyes, +20.3% WPA, Jeurys Familia, +12.0% WPA, Josh Smoker, +12.0% WPA
Big losers: Addison Reed, -23.2% WPA, James Loney, -17.4% WPA, Travis d’Arnaud, -14.3% WPA, Kelly Johnson, -10.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Yoenis Cespedes hits a walk-off home run in the tenth, +47.0% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Xavier Scruggs doubles in a run in the eighth, -28.4% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +41.6% WPA
Total batter WPA: +8.4% WPA
GWRBI!: Yoenis Cespedes