It was hard not to feel a tad optimistic going into Monday’s game, as the Mets arrived in Arizona to face a team that just ended a 13 game losing streak with three reinforcements activated from the injured list and The Best Pitcher in The World healthy and ready to toe the rubber. And that optimism would prove well-founded, as Jacob deGrom was his typically brilliant self, while the returning Pete Alonso would drive in four runs to help the Mets kick off a nine game road trip with a 6-2 victory.
Both teams went quietly in the first two innings, with both pitchers facing the minimum—Diamondbacks starter Merrill Kelly walked Jonathan Villar to start the game, but promptly erased him on a pickoff. The Mets offense would get going in the top of the third, as Jose Peraza would lead off with a single, and Mason Williams would make his debut by lining a single the other way to put runners on first and second. deGrom struck out trying to bunt, and Villar would strike out looking to follow, but Francisco Lindor lined a single to right—too sharp to score Peraza—but Alonso would come up clutch with a two-run single to left to stake deGrom to an early 2-0 lead.
The Diamondbacks would gift the Mets a third run the following inning. With two outs, Peraza loved a fly to left center that both David Peralta and Ketel Marte called for, before pulling up and watching it drop between them for a double. Arizona would intentionally walked Mason Williams to get to deGrom, who clearly took that personally, and promptly lashed an RBI single to right to extend the lead to 3-0.
At that point in the game, the remaining drama seemed to be if deGrom had a shot at history, as he had set down the first twelve Diamondbacks in order easily, striking out five and not seeing a ball leave the infield. Alas, while deGrom started the fifth by getting Peralta to ground to shortstop, Carson Kelly would line a single to right center to end the budding bid at perfection. With two outs, Josh Reddick would drop a single in front to Billy McKinney in right to put runners on first and third, but deGrom would respond by striking out Domingo Leyba to end the only threat he would face. deGrom would throw in a perfect sixth—and his first curveball of the season to boot—before leaving after only 70 pitches.
Alonso seemed to salt the game away in the top of the seventh with a 442 foot bomb to left to extend the lead to 5-0, but the Diamondbacks quickly found hitting off of non-deGrom pitchers much easier in the bottom of the frame. Trevor May’s recent struggles continued, as he surrendered a home run to the first batter he faced in Eduardo Escobar, then with two outs surrendered another run thanks to a a pair of singles and a wild pitch. With the score 5-2 and one man on base, Miguel Castro came on to face Leyba, who launched a drive to the warning track in center that Williams made an excellent catch on to end the Arizona threat.
Billy McKinney led off the top of the eighth with his second home run in as many games to extend the lead back to 6-2. With two outs in the frame, Kevin Pillar came to the plate—to an ovation that would have made you think it was a Mets home game—and promptly celebrated his return from a scary beaning incident with a sharp single to left. From there, Castro pitched a clean eighth and Jeurys Familia a clean ninth to secure a win for the Mets’ ace—and a successful start to the road trip.
*illar of the Game
Kevin Pillar: For enabling us to bring back the *illar of the game a mere two weeks after getting drilled in the face. Going 1-1 in your first plate appearance thereafter, earning a lengthy standing ovation and sporting 1 bad-ass mask doesn’t hurt, either.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Jacob deGrom, +31.3% WPA
Big Mets loser: Jonathan Villar, -8.7% WPA
Mets pitchers: +32.7% WPA
Mets hitters: +17.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso two-run single in the second, +18.4%%
Teh sux0rest play: Jonathan Villar picked off first base in the first, -5.8%