The Mets never seem to play their best baseball in Miami, and while last night’s series opener seemed to be heading in that direction, one big inning and one big blast changed their fortunes and resulted in a 7-3 win.
Steven Matz and the Mets got down early when the Marlins held a 2-0 lead after the first. Miguel Rojas reached on a passed ball on a strike three, and Starlin Castro brought him home with an absolute bomb with two outs to give the Marlins an early lead.
The defense was again an issue in the sixth when J.D. Davis did not have his best inning in the field. In the second, he threw a soft toss to Robinson Cano on a double play ball that the Mets ended up barely turning. It was deja vu all over again in the sixth when he repeated the throw, but this time Cano could not turn the double play. Matz still had a chance to get out of the inning when Juan Lagares attempted to throw out a runner at third, but Davis dropped the ball. Castro again gave the Marlins a lead when he singled home the run—past Davis—and ended Matz’s night.
Matz deserved better, but his final line was 5.1 innings, three runs, one earned, and three strikeouts. Tim Peterson relieved him and ended the inning with a double play and kept the Marlins scoreless in the seventh. Jeurys Familia pitched a clean eighth to keep the game tied.
Up to that point, the Mets’ offense was mostly held in check by Marlins’ starter Caleb Smith and the Miami bullpen. They struck out sixteen New York hitters and limited the offense to a RBI double by Jeff McNeil, a wild pitch that scored J.D. Davis, and a solo home run by Juan Lagares.
With the game tied at three, the top of the ninth inning started with a single by Dominic Smith that squeezed through the infield. Next up was Lagares, who attempted to bunt Smith over. Even with two strikes he tried to bunt, but a pitch hit him on the hand. Even after Don Mattingly called for a replay review to see if the ball hit the bat, the umpires determined that Lagares should be awarded first.
That brought up the top of the lineup, who had been struggling all night long. The strikeouts were piling up for the offense as a whole, and Amed Rosario and Pete Alonso combined for five of them. With one out, Rosario gave the Mets their first lead when he singled home a hustling Dominic Smith. A one-run lead in the ninth is good, but a four-run lead is even better, and Pete Alonso obliged. He crushed a 444-foot bomb to center field for his first major league home run, much to the delight of the dugout.
Edwin Diaz came in the bottom of the inning despite it not being a save situation. He loaded the bases with nobody out, but three straight strikeouts put an end to the madness, and the Mets were victorious in the series opener against the Marlins.
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Win Probability Added
Big winners: Amed Rosario +22.6% WPA, Juan Lagares +21.7% WPA, J.D. Davis +19.2%, WPA Tim Peterson +18.7% WPA, Jeff McNeil +10.2% WPA
Big losers: Steven Matz -22.3% WPA, Brandon Nimmo -15.4% WPA, Wilson Ramos -12.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +7.6% WPA
Total batter WPA: +42.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Amed Rosario singles in the ninth to give the Mets the lead, +31.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Starlin Castro hits a two-run home run in the first, -20.4% WPA