Today was the second day in a row that a Mets’ starter held the Giants to just one run. But this time, the bullpen didn’t let it get away. The Mets beat the Giants 2-1 in the eleventh inning to match Steven Matz’s career-high eleven strikeouts. Matz traded zeros with Derek Holland through the first three innings, with each pitcher putting a 1-2-3 inning on his ledger, Matz striking out the side in the second.
The Giants broke through first when Evan Longoria launched a solo home run off Matz in the top of the fourth to lead off the inning. The home run ball has been a problem for Matz this year, particularly against right-handed batters. But Matz didn’t let it rattle him. He struck out three consecutive batters after the home run and would go on to retire seven Giants in a row before his next baserunner.
Meanwhile, the Mets remained stifled by Holland, managing just two hits off him until the top of the fifth. Brandon Nimmo worked a one-out walk and then was driven in by Tomas Nido, getting just his second start since getting called up. Nido drove a double into right-center field that was catchable, but the inexperienced right fielder Austin Slater took a bad route to the ball and allowed it to sail over his head to even the score.
The score remained knotted at one, sending the game into extras. Holland lasted six innings, with the Mets helping him out of trouble in the sixth when Todd Frazier committed a crucial base running blunder. Frazier worked a ten-pitch walk with two outs and stole second to advance into scoring position. Michael Conforto then hit a slow grounder to short that seemed destined to be an infield hit, putting runners at the corners. The shortstop Alen Hanson realized he had no play at first, so instead whipped it to third base where Todd Frazier had overrun the bag and was easily tagged out to bail out Holland and waste the Mets’ best opportunity to score in regulation.
Steven Matz, having been very economical with his pitch count, outlasted Holland, going seven innings and striking out three batters in the seventh—working around a fielding error by Amed Rosario that allowed Hunter Pence to reach base—to reach the career-high eleven total strikeouts for the game.
The Mets ultimately came out on top in the battle of the bullpens. Sam Dyson pitched a scoreless top of the seventh for the Giants, working around a two-out single by Nido. Seth Lugo retired six batters in order in the eighth and ninth innings for the Mets, looking very sharp with his curveball working. Mark Melancon also worked around a two-out single—this one from Jay Bruce—to give the Giants a scoreless eighth. Will Smith tossed a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out two batters. Reyes Moronta and Jerry Blevins each struck out two batters en route to a scoreless top and bottom of the tenth, respectively. Blevins was able to work around a walk and stolen base by Hunter Pence.
The Giant’s bullpen finally cracked first in the eleventh. Wilmer Flores led off the inning with a double down the left field line off Hunter Strickland. Bruce then grounded out to second, moving Flores to third. Frazier then redeemed his base running miscue by driving a fly ball deep enough to score Flores on the sacrifice fly, putting the Mets up 2-1. Strickland held them to the one run, striking out Michael Conforto to end the inning.
Robert Gsellman—after having a bad night last night in his first outing returning from a battle with strep throat—also redeemed himself today, making the skinny lead stand up for the Mets. He got Gregor Blacno to ground out to second. Then, he came back from 3-0 down against Gorkys Hernandez to strike him out looking. It was the sixteenth strikeout by Mets pitching on the day. Austin Slater then blooped Gsellman’s first pitch into shallow right, but Brandon Nimmo made an fantastic diving grab to end the game and give Gsellman the save.
Noah Syndergaard will take on Chris Stratton in tomorrow’s rubber game, as he looks to be the first Mets’ starter to reach 10 wins this season.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Steven Matz, +28.7% WPA, Seth Lugo, +23.6% WPA, Robert Gsellman, +19.1% WPA, Jerry Blevins, +13.2% WPA, Tomas Nido, +10.8% WPA
Big losers: None
Teh aw3s0mest play: Wilmer Flores’ leadoff double in the eleventh, +17.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Evan Longoria’s fourth inning solo homer, -13.3% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +84.6% WPA
Total batter WPA: -34.6% WPA
GWRBI!: Todd Frazier