The Mets snapped a five-game losing streak with an 8-1 victory over the Marlins. Rafael Montero had another strong outing, and the Met offense exploded for a seven run rally. The bullpen added three scoreless innings of relief to close out the game, extending the streak to 12.1 of scoreless work over the last three games. The Mets also turned five double plays, tying a club record, and nearly turned a sixth to set a new record.
Rafael Montero’s night didn’t get off to a smooth start. After Dee Gordon grounded out, Montero was understandably cautious against Giancarlo Stanton, who walked. The next two Marlins both hit rockets, with Christian Yelich lining out to left and Marcell Ozuna singling on a hard ground ball that Wilmer Flores made a diving stop on but couldn’t complete the play. Montero escaped without allowing any runs, but needed 25 pitches to do so.
Those struggles disappeared for the next four innings. Though he allowed a walk and three hits, Montero also induced four double plays to stymie the Marlins and keep his pitch count at a much more reasonable level than he usually does. He supplemented that pitch-to-contact to success with three strikeouts, appearing to be in complete control.
Of course, the baseball gods are fickle, and the karma of getting that many double plays came back to bite Montero in the sixth. Vance Worley lead off with a bloop hit to center, and Dee Gordon almost followed with a bloop hit of his own. Thankfully, Worley forced out at second, leaving a runner at first with one out. Giancarlo Stanton followed with his second walk of the inning, leaving Montero in a bit of a pickle.
However, very much like his last start in Yankee stadium, Montero avoided the tendency to nibble with runners on base that has dogged him early in his career. Though he gave up an RBI single to Marcell Ozuna, he sandwiched that with two strikeouts to limit the damage and hold the Marlins to a 1-0 lead.
That would be all for Montero, who departed after six innings of one run ball, striking out five and walking three. There was certainly a bit of good fortune involved in terms of the sequencing of the four double plays the Mets turned, but Montero’s performance continued to impress. He’ll never be an ace (probably), but his performance since being recalled in the middle of June has been strong enough to consider Montero a decent option for the back of the Mets rotation or the bullpen next season.
With their starter out of the game, the Mets had one last chance to get Montero in line for the win. The offense came through in a big way, sending eleven men to the plate and scoring seven runs, with the help of three Miami errors. Here’s the full sequence, in bullet point form as to be more digestible:
- Matt Reynolds walks on a questionable ball four call
- Brandon Nimmo singles, putting runners on first and third with nobody out.
- Asdrubal Cabrera lofts a sacrifice fly to right, tying the game at one
- Yoenis Cespedes singles on a ground ball to left.
- Reliever Drew Streckenrider throws a wild pitch, moving runners to second and third.
- Michael Conforto hits a hard ground ball that Miguel Rojas can’t handle. The error scores two runs to give the Mets a 3-1 lead.
- Wilmer Flores homers to left, giving the Mets a 5-1 lead.
- Dominic Smith reaches on a second fielding error by Miguel Rojas.
- Amed Rosario strikes out.
- Kevin Plawecki launches his first homer of the year to give the Mets a 7-1 lead.
- Matt Reynolds reaches on a fielding error by Derek Dietrich.
- Brandon Nimmo lines out to left field to end the inning.
After the Mets’ big inning, Hansel Robles entered in relief of Montero. Robles walked the first man to face him, but induced another double play, the Mets’ fifth of the night, to erase the baserunner. He followed that up with a clean eighth inning, sending the game to the bottom of the eighth with the Mets still up 7-1.
Dom Smith added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth with his first Citi Field home run (second of his career). It was an impressive bit of hitting for the young first baseman, as he took a ball up around his shoulders out to right-center field. Chasen Bradford entered for the ninth and narrowly missed fielding a ball that could have been a new club record for double plays turned in a game at six. Instead, the Mets settled for tying the club record at five, and Bradford finished out a scoreless inning to seal the 8-1 victory.
The win improves the Mets to 54-67, holding them at seventh in the reverse standings. It’s also Rafael Montero’s first win at Citi Field, snapping the longest losing decision streak at home by a Met pitcher since 1993. Jacob deGrom takes the mound tomorrow against Adam Conley in the series finale.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Rafael Montero, +14.6% WPA; Brandon Nimmo, +21.0% WPA; Michael Conforto, +12.1% WPA
Big losers: None
Teh aw3s0mest play: Brandon Nimmo singles on a line drive to right in the bottom of the sixth, +16.6% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Rafael Montero grounds an RBI single to left in the sixth, -17.6% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +16.0% WPA
Total batter WPA: +34.0% WPA
GWRBI!: Michael Conforto