In an afternoon game filled with lead changes and dramatic home runs, the Mets came out on top in a 6-5 game. The bullpen didn’t have a banner day, but Edwin Diaz showed why he’s one of the best closers in baseball after the offense did enough to cover up the sins of his fellow relievers. Pete Alonso got his first Citi Field hit and his first Citi Field home run in the win, as did Robinson Cano and J.D. Davis.
Matz had a bumpy but ultimately successful outing. He threw a whopping 51 pitches in the first two innings, walking three but also striking out five as he danced around the traffic on the basepaths. Despite the inflated pitch count, Matz managed to grind through another three scoreless. Nationals hitters couldn’t seem to square him up, as Matz struck out eight over his brief outing while walking four and allowing only two hits. It was a gritty start on a day when Matz’s control was clearly not sharp.
Moreover, Matz left the game with a lead, thanks to J.D. Davis. Davis, who came into the game 3-for-20 on the season, took Patrick Corbin’s first pitch of the fourth inning just over the right-center field wall for his first home run of the year. It was an absolute laser from Davis, who also hit what looked like a home run off of Corbin in Washington earlier this season before the wind knocked it down. The homer gave the Mets a 1-0 lead and left Matz in line for the win.
Instead, the Met bullpen struck again. Robert Gsellman took over for the sixth and promptly coughed up the lead, allowing a leadoff double to Anthony Rendon and two ground outs that knotted things up at one. But the Mets responded immediately in the bottom half; first, Davis stuck again with an absolute blast to left-center. Two batters later, Michael Conforto followed with his own mammoth home run to right, giving the Mets a 3-1 lead. Davis became the first player in the Statcast era with two homers of 110 MPH or more, while the Mets became the first team to ever hit three home runs off of Corbin.
Weirdness, more bullpen struggles, and some managerial ineptitude conspired to make that lead evaporate in a hurry. Justin Wilson entered for the seventh and got the first two outs a walk and a bunt put two men on. Mickey Callaway, under the impression that Wilson is a LOOGY (he isn’t) and that every reliever should pitch multiple innings (they shouldn’t) opted to double switch Jeurys Familia into the game (replacing Amed Rosario with Luis Guillorme). A wild pitch trickled behind Wilson Ramos, the umpire blocked his view, and Victor Robles sped around to score from second on a two-base passed ball. Familia escaped the inning, but the Met lead was cut to 3-2.
In the eighth, Anthony Rendon struck again, leading off with an opposite field bomb off of Familia to tie the game. Three batters later, light-hitting Wilmer Difo yanked a two-run home run of his own, giving the Nationals a 5-3 lead. It was the first time in 49 regular season appearances that Familia had allowed a home run at Citi Field, the first home runs at Citi Field he’d allowed since the 2016 Wild Card game, and the first time he’s ever given up multiple home runs in the same game. Almost as if he shouldn’t be pitching multiple innings.
This wasn’t a game the Mets were willing to lose, however. And they once again responded. Pete Alonso hit a laser beam home run to center leading off the bottom of the eighth, and Robinson Cano followed up with a gargantuan blast out towards the Shea Bridge. In two batters, the game was tied again at five. Three batters later, Michael Conforto ripped a two out double, then scored two batters after that on a single from Keon Broxton. In total, the Mets scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth and jumped back out to a 6-5 lead.
With Edwin Diaz on the team, the win might as well have been automatic. Despite not walking out to Narco (a big disappointment, given how great it was with the Mariners). Diaz made short work of the Nationals to seal the win. It was Diaz’s fourth save of the season, and the victory improves the Mets’ record to 6-2.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: J.D. Davis, +43.0% WPA; Keon Broxton, +32.4% WPA; Robinson Cano, +26.8% WPA; Steven Matz, +26.5% WPA; Edwin Diaz, +14.4% WPA; Michael Conforto, +13.9% WPA; Pete Alonso, +11.6% WPA
Big losers: Jeurys Familia, -74.2% WPA; Wilson Ramos, -21.2% WPA; Robert Gsellman, -11.2% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -44.5% WPA
Total batter WPA: 94.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Robinson Cano homers to tie the game in the eighth, +32.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Wilmer Difo homers to give the Nats a 5-3 lead, -39.1% WPA