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Todd Frazier hits two home runs, bullpen strong again in yet another win

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It was a nail-biter at Citi Field and the Mets came out on top for their ninth straight to keep the winning streak alive.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at New York Mets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

This particular Friday the 13th did not start out so great for the Mets. In the same day we learned that Travis d’Arnaud has elected to have Tommy John surgery, it was revealed that an MRI showed Kevin Plawecki’s hand is indeed broken and he will be sidelined for at least a few weeks. Cue Jose Lobaton immediately hopping on a flight to New York and arriving in time to be the starting catcher for tonight’s game, hitting eighth in the lineup. Brandon Nimmo, too, was called up from a very short stint Triple-A Las Vegas to rejoin the Mets for tonight’s game.

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The Mets struck immediately in the first inning against Zach Davies. Michael Conforto narrowly missed a double down the line that was initially called fair, but the call was reversed without the assistance of replay review. Conforto ultimately struck out swinging, but the red-hot Asdrubal Cabrera smacked a double to right field to get things started for the Mets. Yoenis Cespedes then singled to drive in Cabrera and put the Mets on the board.

The Mets tacked on another run in the second inning on a solo home run to dead central by Todd Frazier, his first home run as a Met. After Amed Rosario was retired following the home run, Jose Lobaton strode to the plate for his first at-bat as a New York Met and had the most improbable result imaginable: a hustle triple past the sliding Ryan Braun in left field. Unfortunately, in a rather anticlimactic fashion, Lobaton was stranded on third base.

All told, Steven Matz had a perfectly fine outing that kept the Mets in the ballgame and earned him his first win of the season. He did not look as sharp as he did in his last start; he seemed to be trying to nibble a bit too much and employing a strange pitch selection, not utilizing his changeup very much. His mechanics also seemed a bit off kilter. But he was able to get the job done. In fact, Matz did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the fourth inning, partially thanks to Yoenis Cespedes’ excellent jumping grab on a ball hit in the gap by Jesus Aguilar in the second inning—the first of a few defensive gems by Cespedes in tonight’s game. Aguilar would have his revenge in the fourth, however. He smoked a double, which was followed in short order by a Hernan Perez two-run homer that tied the game at two.

As has been their modus operandi, the Mets answered back immediately, this time in the form of Todd Frazier’s second home run of the game—a blast to left field that put the Mets back on top 3-2. Steven Matz then threw a 1-2-3 top of the fifth inning, the only inning in which he would retire the Brewers in order, recording two strikeouts.

The Mets’ biggest inning came in the fifth. Conforto led off the inning with a walk after working a very nice at-bat. Asdrubal Cabrera then singled, advancing Conforto to second base. Yoenis Cespedes was rung up on a check swing strike three, which was the end of Zach Davies’ night. But unfortunately for Davies, it was not the end of his pitching line, as Dan Jennings allowed both of his inherited runners to score. Jay Bruce laced an RBI double, scoring Conforto. Adrian Gonzalez then followed with a sacrifice fly, on which there appeared to be a miscommunication between Lorenzo Cain and Domingo Santana, resulting in the two outfielders colliding as the catch was made by Cain. Fortunately, both men seemed fine and remained in the game. Jay Bruce advanced to third on the fly ball and then scored on a wild pitch from Dan Jennings, putting the Mets on top 6-2. Amed Rosario then hit a bullet, but fortunately for Jennings, it hung up for Lorenzo Cain, who came rushing in to snag it to end the inning.

The sixth inning opened with a defensive miscue by Jay Bruce, who misplayed a fly ball by Santana, who wound up on second as a result of the play. Ryan Braun then smacked a two-run homer to cut the Mets’ lead to 6-4. Steven Matz was able to strike out Travis Shaw—his fifth strikeout—to end his night on a high note after five and a third innings pitched. He was replaced by Seth Lugo, who was the victim of some bad luck when Aguilar and Perez each reached base on successive infield hits. However, Lugo also induced a ground ball from Orlando Arcia, this time resulting in an inning-ending double play.

The Brewers’ bullpen kept the Mets in check for the rest of the night, with Oliver Drake and Jacob Barnes combining to pitch three scoreless innings.

The Mets’ defense showed up for Lugo in his second inning of work. Frazier made a nice diving stop on a ball hit by Lorenzo Cain. Cain wound up on first base as a result of Adrian Gonzalez being unable to dig out the throw from Frazier, but Frazier’s diving grab saved a double and ultimately a run. Cain then committed the grave error of trying to run on Yoenis Cespedes, digging for third on a single by Domingo Santana. Cespedes gunned him down at third to end the inning.

The eighth inning required a committee of Mets relievers and another display of Cespedes’ arm strength to escape. After Seth Lugo retired Braun on a flyout to center field, Mickey Callaway left Lugo in to face the lefty Travis Shaw, who clubbed a solo home run to bring the Brewers within one run. Aguilar then smacked a ball over the head of Cespedes in left field, who played the carom off the wall perfectly to hold Aguilar to a single. A.J. Ramos then got Hernan Perez to fly out to center field, before he was promptly removed for Jerry Blevins after the lefty Eric Sogard was announced as a pinch hitter for Arcia—a rather strange choice with Eric Thames available on the bench for Milwaukee. Blevins failed to get his man, missing badly with two curveballs to get behind in the count before allowing a single to Sogard. Robert Gsellman was then brought in to get the final out of the inning and get the Mets out of the jam still in the lead. He succeeded, jamming Jett Bandy on one of his nasty patented two-seam sinkers, inducing a slow roller back to the mound.

Jeurys Familia then came in with a chance to earn a league-leading seventh save. Unlike some of his other outings so far this season, this one was uneventful and Familia really looked like his old self, throwing some of the nastiest stuff we’ve seen from him so far this season and once again featuring his splitter, which he had previously abandoned. After retiring the pinch hitter Eric Thames and Lorenzo Cain on groundouts, Familia struck out Domingo Santana on two absolutely filthy sliders to secure the save and the victory for the Mets.

The Mets look to extend their winning streak to double digits, as Matt Harvey faces off against Chase Anderson tomorrow night in the second game of this three game series.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Todd Frazier, +25.1% WPA, Jay Bruce, +15.9% WPA, Jeurys Familia, +15.5% WPA
Big losers: None
Teh aw3s0mest play: Todd Frazier’s second home run, +13.4% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Steven Matz gives up a two-run homer to Hernan Perez, -21.5% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +18.2% WPA
Total batter WPA: +31.8% WPA
GWRBI!: Dan Jennings, for throwing the wild pitch that resulted in the Mets’ sixth run