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deGrom keeps fighting, Cano keeps hitting

The Mets’ ace was off his game, but the offense and bullpen picked him up.

New York Mets v Miami Marlins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

In a rare Sunday game where they weren’t the ones making sloppy defensive plays left and right, the Mets topped the Marlins 6-2. Jacob deGrom fought through five innings without his best stuff and got ample run support for a change, with a first inning home run from Jeff McNeil setting the tone and more followup throughout the rest of the game led by Robinson Cano. The bullpen was good enough to hold on to a five run lead in order to secure the series win.

Jeff McNeil wasted no time putting a run on the board, launching Sandy Alcantara’s first pitch of the game over the right field wall for a leadoff home run. Robinson Cano started the second inning loudly as well, ripping a double into the right field corner. That opportunity was wasted, however, as the Mets managed only an infield single and left runners on the corners.

deGrom, meanwhile, was clearly without his best stuff. He still struck out two in the first to strand one Marlin on base, but Miami was able to equalize in the bottom of the second. Starlin Castro led off with a single and Curtis Granderson followed with a walk. Another walk sandwiched between a pair of strikeouts loaded the bases for Miguel Rojas, who lined a single into right. Jeff McNeil came up firing and threw Granderson out at home, but the game was tied at one.

After both pitchers worked around traffic in the third, the Mets re-took the lead in the fourth. Cano led off with a single, and a walk and infield hit loaded the bases with no outs. Miguel Rojas then misplayed a ground ball that should have been a double play off the bat of Adeiny Hechavarria, and a run scored on a fielders choice. deGrom walked to reload the bases, and after Jeff McNeil grounded out, Michael Conforto nubbed an infield hit of his own into the shift to put the Mets up 3-1.

That lead would be enough for deGrom, but not without some drama. The Mets’ ace worked around another baserunner in the fourth, then had to navigate around first and second with no outs in the fifth. A strikeout and a double play erased that threat, but deGrom was at 94 pitches. Mickey Callaway made what was the correct choice and pulled him, ending his day with one run, six hits, and three walks allowed over five innings to go with six strikeouts, but that would leave a two run lead in the hands of the Mets’ bullpen.

Thankfully, the offense was able to add-on during the latter part of the game. Two singles and an error produced a run in the sixth, Cano homered in the seventh, and a double followed by a pair of fly outs pushed home another run in the eighth. For the most part, the Mets’ bullpen didn’t need that insurance; Justin Wilson was solid in the sixth, and while Jeurys Familia almost imploded in the seventh, loading the bases while recording only one out, Seth Lugo escaped the jam unscathed.

Robert Gsellman took the ball for the final two innings and got the first five outs he needed with no real issue. A Garrett Cooper home run and a Brian Anderson double with two outs in the ninth got Edwin Diaz up in the bullpen, but Gsellman induced a ground out from Starlin Castro to close out the win. It’s the Mets’ first series win since beating the Rockies in early June.

The win improves the Mets to 42-51 on the season, still well out of the playoff picture. Still, it was a better display than we’ve seen for much of the past two months, so hopefully some second half improvements can make the on field product more entertaining as various parts are sold off. Zack Wheeler will take the mound on Tuesday against Michael Pineda and the Twins.

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Win Probability Added

What’s WPA?

Big winners: Jacob deGrom, +14.3% WPA; Robinson Cano, +13.5% WPA; Seth Lugo, +12.2% WPA
Big losers: None
Total pitcher WPA: +23.4% WPA
Total batter WPA: +26.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Brian Anderson grounds into a double play in the fifth, +12.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Neil Walker singles in the bottom of the fifth, -8.7% WPA