The Mets entered their six-game road trip looking to extend their lead in the division against two of the worst teams in baseball. On Thursday, thanks to a Jayson Heyward pinch-hit walk-off single in the tenth, the Cubs beat the Mets 4-3, capping off a 2-4 cold-weather road trip that dropped them to a .500 winning percentage and puts them in a tie atop the division.
The Cubs opened the scoring with a Willson Contreras infield hit off Mets starter Joey Lucchesi’s arm with two outs in the third inning. Lucchesi started off the inning well with a strikeout and then walked two straight batters including the pitcher Trevor Williams to set up the Contreras RBI. Kris Bryant then followed with a two-out, two-run double to extend the lead to three runs.
Pitching in place of Jacob deGrom—who the Mets shifted in the rotation to begin the homestand against the Nationals—Lucchesi started the game by striking out five of his first seven batters, pitching a perfect first two innings with the benefit of diving plays from Luis Guillorme at third and Alonso at first. Despite the perfect start, Lucchesi only lasted three innings before Brandon Nimmo subbed in to pinch-hit for him in the fourth.
Dom Smith led off the fourth inning with a double to left-center field that crashed into the ivy a foot below the top of the wall. Alonso followed with a two-run homer that landed a few feet foot short from leaving the park entirely, and then Conforto hit the top of the Wrigley Field home run basket for the Mets’ third-consecutive extra-base hit to start the inning. The Mets couldn’t bring home the tying run, however, with a McCann strikeout, Pillar lineout, and Nimmo strikeout to end the inning.
Pitcher Sean Reid-Foley made his debut for the Mets relieving Lucchesi, pitching a perfect fourth, fifth, and sixth inning striking out four Cubs in the process. The Mets' surprisingly effective relief corps also shut down the Cubs in the seventh and eighth inning with a mix of Trevor May, Aaron Loup, and Miguel Castro, one night after both Castro and Loup pitched in their 12-run loss to the Cubs. Edwin Díaz overpowered the middle of the Cubs' order after giving up a leadoff single to Kris Bryant in the ninth, but couldn’t repeat his success in the game’s final inning.
Guillorme, Villar, and Kevin Pillar started in place of J.D. Davis, Jeff McNeil, and Nimmo. Guillorme immediately vindicated his start over Davis with a sparkling diving play on a ground ball to throw out J.A. Happ in the first inning, but Davis contributed the biggest hit of the night for the Mets by tying the game at three in the seventh inning on a pinch-hit RBI double that scored Villar from first base. Davis’s double off the wall was the third extra-base hit for the Mets that missed a home run by mere feet, to go along with the Smith and Conforto doubles in the fourth.
After Díaz evaded trouble in the ninth, the Mets found themselves with their best scoring opportunity of the night in the top of the tenth. The offense loaded the bases with one out after Cubs pitcher Dan Winkler walked Luis Guillorme and Francisco Lindor back-to-back, with Pillar advancing to third as the free runner to start the inning. Smith, who at that point was 2-4 on the night, grounded into an inning-ending double play, giving the Cubs the opportunity they needed to end the game in the bottom of the inning.
Working a rare second inning, Díaz hit Matt Duffy to start the tenth inning, putting two runners on with Javy Baez on second as the free runner. After a David Bote sac bunt moved up the runners to second and third base, the Mets intentionally walked Eric Sogard with one out to bring Heyward to the plate. With the count at 1-1, Heyward shot a single between Pete Alonso at first and Jeff McNeil at second to drive Baez home and secure the sweep.
The Mets play the Washington Nationals for the first time this season tonight at 7:10 ET, with Jacob deGrom set to start the first game of the series.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: J.D. Davis, +23.4% WPA
Big Mets loser: Dom Smith, -51.5% WPA
Mets pitchers: +25.8% WPA
Mets hitters: -75.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Davis’s game-tying double in the seventh, +23.4% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Smith’s inning-ending double-play in the tenth, -52.3% WPA