It was another pitcher from Long Island on the mound for the Mets on Saturday night, and early on it looked like it would be a similar outcome from the previous night.
Marcus Stroman took to the mound for the first time in a Mets uniform and did not record an out until five batters into the game. He was erratic and falling behind batters, but where Steven Matz could not stop the bleeding in the series opener, Stroman was able to limit the damage. He made a fantastic play coming off the mound to nail a runner at home, and after facing eight batters, only two had come around to score by the time the inning was over.
The Mets had given him a slim lead in the top of the first after they loaded the bases against Chris Archer. They scored only one run, however, when Wilson Ramos singled. Ramos’s night was just getting started, but the rest of the offense fell flat for the rest of the night. They seemed destined for a repeat performance from the previous night, one in which they routinely failed to come up with the big hit. Pete Alonso and J.D. Davis were the two main culprits, leaving a combined eleven men on base. Alonso did hit a double but continued to look lost and ended his night with three more strikeouts.
Luckily for him, Ramos bailed him and the entire team out. After Jeff McNeil moved them closer with a pinch-hit home run in the seventh, the big catcher followed an inning later with a blast of his own, this one a two-run shot that gave them the lead. In the ninth, it was Ramos who again came up with the big hit. This one was good for three runs when he hit a double with the bases loaded and two outs.
The late-inning heroics were only possible because the Mets’ pitching settled down somewhat after the shaky start. Stroman left with one out in the fourth, and with the bases loaded, Luis Avilan hit a batter to force in the final run charged to Stroman. Jacob Rhame got the final out of the inning and pitched pretty well after getting recalled from Syracuse.
Justin Wilson got into some trouble in the seventh after the Mets had pulled to within one on McNeil’s home run. Wilson gave up a walk, a single, and a stolen base which set up first and third with one out. Melky Cabrera came up to the plate as a pinch hitter and grounded into a nicely-turned double play by the Mets’ infield to keep the deficit at one run.
After Ramos went to work and handed them the lead, newly-minted Natioal League Reliever of the Month Seth Lugo came in for the eighth and showed off his award-worthy stuff. He easily handled the bottom of the Pittsburgh lineup and handed things off the Edwin Diaz for the ninth. Diaz had a large lead to work with, and despite giving up a bloop hit and a blast to Starling Marte, he struck out three batters to end the game.
It was a good bounce-back win for this Mets team that can ill afford to let losses pile up, especially against struggling teams. They will look to take the final game of the series with Noah Syndergaard on the mound to close out their road trip.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Wilson Ramos +58.1%, Amed Rosario +17.6%, Robinson Cano +15.5%, Jeff McNeil +13.7%, Seth Lugo +13.5%
Big losers: Pete Alonso -20.6%, JD Davis -16.0%, Todd Frazier -14.0%, Marcus Stroman -11%
Total pitcher WPA: +9.4%
Total batter WPA: +40.6%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Wilson Ramos home run in eighth
Teh sux0rest play: Kevin Newman hit by pitch in fifth