No one really thought that the Tigers, who have the fourth worst record in baseball, would give the Mets a tense, back and forth series, but here we are. After dropping Friday night’s slugfest and winning last night’s slog, the Mets took the series in a third straight one-run game, winning 4-3 on a gorgeous Queens afternoon.
Nicholas Castellanos was the bad guy early in the game, hitting a solo home run in the bottom of the first, and then driving in two more in the third. After Castellanos reached in the third, Mets’ starter Zack Wheeler did not allow another baserunner until JaCoby Jones led off the eighth inning with a single.
The Mets were quiet against Tigers’ starter Spencer Turnbull for the first three innings of the game. Aside from a Dominic Smith walk and a Wheeler single, the Mets were held off the basepaths early on.
It was Smith, in the bottom of the fourth inning, who began the rally for the Mets. Smith led off with a double to left center which hung up enough that it probably should’ve been caught. A Wilson Ramos single put runners on the corners with one out. Todd Frazier then took advantage of the extreme shift, which also saw Tigers first baseman Brandon Dixon holding on Ramos, and pushed a bunt to the second base hole, scoring Smith and sending Ramos to third.
The next batter was Aideny Hechavarria, who sent a belt-high, outside pitch over the right field wall for a three-run home run, putting the Mets up 4-3. As mentioned on the broadcast, in 30 career home runs, that was Hechavarria’s eighth three-run or grand slam home run, and his second three-run home run of the series.
Aside from Castellanos, Wheeler was in total control for most of his outing today. Over his seven and a third innings, he gave up five hits, striking out eight, and walking just one, his final batter of the game. His penultimate batter, however, was a pinch-hitting Miguel Cabrera, who was retired on three straight fastballs in a very impressive display of his fastball dominance.
When Jeurys Familia came into the game with two on in the top of the eighth, his first pitch was a borderline pitch, called a ball by the home plate umpire. Both Gary Cohen and Dawel Lugo, the batter, thought it was a strike, which led Lugo to start to walk back to the dugout after swinging at what was actually strike two. It was a mess, but Familia got him to actually strike out two pitches later. Familia then struck out Castellanos to end the inning. It was the best Familia has looked all season.
Edwin Diaz entered for the save, and began with a four-pitch walk to Christin Stewart. Josh Harrison pinch ran for him and stole second. He was moved over to third by Dixon’s single to left. With men on the corners and one out, Diaz struck out John Hicks after a nine-pitch nailbiter of an at bat.
That would seem like nothing compared to what Jones did in the final at-bat of the game. A ten-pitch at bat that ended with a full-count borderline strike, framed beautifully by WIlson Ramos, for the final out of the game.
Michael Conforto returned today, going 0-3 with a hit by pitch, but it was good to see Scooter back without incident. Thursday’s hero, Carlos Gomez, made an incredible catch in the top of the sixth to rob Lugo of a single.
The Mets have climbed back to .500 on the back of a 6-1 home stand, and are about to leg it to the west coast for a four game series with the first-place Dodgers. The marquee matchup happens on Monday night, with Jacob deGrom taking on Clayton Kershaw.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Aideny Hechavarria, +32.5% WPA, Jeurys Familia, +20.7%, Edwin Diaz, +14.4% WPA
Big losers: Amed Rosario, -10.7% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +30.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: +19.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Aideny Hechavarria’s three run bomb, +38.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Nicholas Castellanos’s two-run single, -17.6% WPA