The Mets turned their fortunes around in Baltimore to the tune of a 14-1 rout of the Orioles, earning the series split at Camden Yards. The Mets faced off against old friend Matt Harvey for the second time in 2021. And for the second time they had his number.
This night’s contest began with an absolutely spectacular catch by Cedric Mullins on a ball off the bat of former Oriole Jonathan Villar that was destined for the gap in left-center. But after a good at-bat from Francisco Lindor resulted in a one-out walk, Pete Alonso hit a blast off Harvey to left-center that would not be caught by Mullins—a two-run homer and his third home run in two nights—to put the Mets on the board early. After retiring Dominic Smith (one of only two Mets in the starting lineup to take an 0-fer on the night) on a groundout, James McCann hit a bloop double that snuck under the glove of a diving Anthony Santander. But Harvey then got Billy McKinney to ground out to first to end the inning.
The Orioles scraped a rally together in the bottom of the first and the scene was starting to look eerily similar to the night before, when Pete Alonso handed his starting pitcher an early lead with a first-inning two run homer, only to have David Peterson give it all back and then some. But Taijuan Walker buckled down and limited the damage. Hits machine Cedric Mullins led off the bottom of the first with an opposite field single against the shift. Trey Mancini then hit a fly ball down the line to shallow right field that Billy McKinney misplayed in an attempt to make a running grab, resulting in runners on first and second with nobody out. Walker retired the next two batters, but then surrendered an RBI single to Ryan Mountcastle to allow the Orioles to pull within a run. But Walker struck out DJ Stewart to kill the rally and put the inning to bed.
That was the only run the Orioles would score the rest of the night, as Walker settled in, giving up just two more hits over seven total innings of work. He needed just 93 pitches to cruise his way to his fifth win of the year, striking out nine batters and walking one. He even helped himself with a defensive gem of his own to cap off his night in the seventh, knocking down a line drive hit back to him and throwing out DJ Stewart at first base from a sitting position. Walker’s ERA stands at 2.07, the fifth-best mark in the National League.
Meanwhile, the Mets unloaded against Matt Harvey in the third inning. Villar started things off with a double that Mullins could not reach this time. Lindor then struck out swinging, but Alonso then flared a single off the fists over the first baseman Mancini to put runners at the corners with one out. Dominic Smith then popped out to second, but James McCann and Billy McKinney laced back-to-back singles to score Villar and Alonso and open up a 4-1 lead. Kevin Pillar then dealt the big blow—a three-run homer that put the Mets up 7-1. Harvey retired Mason Williams on a popup to short to end the inning, but for the second time this season, he yielded seven runs to the Mets in an abbreviated outing.
The Mets then piled on against the Orioles bullpen. Billy McKinney launched a solo homer off Adam Plutko in the fifth in his second inning of work to stretch the Mets’ lead to 8-1. Dillon Tate and Cesar Valdez each logged a scoreless inning before the Mets pounded rookie Mac Sceroler over his two innings of work. Sceroler made his major league debut in April and went on the injured list with shoulder tendinitis after just two outings. The Mets greeted him rudely in his first outing since being activated on Tuesday. Kevin Pillar and Mason Williams hit back-to-back solo homers off Sceroler in the eighth to bring the Mets’ run total up to double-digits.
Not wanting to burn another pitcher in a lopsided game, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde put Sceroler back out there for a second inning in the ninth and the Mets padded their lead further. Villar led off the inning with a bloop double that was placed perfectly beyond the reach of the third baseman and too shallow for the left fielder. Lindor then grounded out, advancing Villar to third base. Alonso then smacked a ringing double off the wall to drive in yet another run—his third RBI of the night on his third hit of the night. Dominic Smith then popped out to second, but James McCann drew a walk and with two men on, Billy McKinney hit his second home run of the night in the direction of Eutaw Street to make the score 14-1. The Mets had not had a player hit two home runs in a single night until the night before when Alonso did it; in this game they had two players accomplish the feat.
Jeurys Familia and Seth Lugo each worked a 1-2-3 inning in relief of Taijuan Walker to secure the easy victory for the Mets. Thanks to today’s off day, that should leave the bullpen nice and rested as the Mets return home to face the Padres once again in a weekend series at Citi Field. With a third of the 2021 season now in the books, the Mets are 30-24 and maintain their 3.5 game lead in the NL East.
*illar of the game
Kevin Pillar: 3-for-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Pete Alonso, +21.0% WPA
Big Mets loser: Dominic Smith, -8.1% WPA
Mets pitchers: +7.6% WPA
Mets hitters: +42.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso’s two-run homer in the first inning, +16.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Ryan Mountcastle’s RBI single in the bottom of the first, -9.6% WPA