After yet another rainout on Thursday night, the Mets’ final series before the All-Star break got underway with a 13-4 win against the Pirates that had dingers, debuts, and yes, even more rain.
After Tropical Storm Elsa moved through earlier in the day, it was a hot, muggy start to the game and the Mets were just as sluggish. Taijuan Walker started off well in the first but then was clearly not himself in the second. He lost command of his pitches and loaded the bases with nobody out. He then hit Michael Perez with a pitch to force in the first run of the game. But then pitching like the All-Star he is, he managed to get out of it giving up just the one run.
He got into trouble again in the fifth when he gave up a double and then walked the pitcher JT Brubaker. Adam Frazier, who is not from Toms River but who the Mets do have interest in, singled home Jared Oliva to tie up the game at 2-2. Walker got through the fifth and that was it since he was clearly laboring and without his best stuff. Perhaps he got lucky that he was facing an offensively challenged team but he limited the damage to just the two runs.
The offense also had trouble getting going. Brubaker shut them down until the third inning when they were able to break through for two runs. Jonathan Villar was the first to get them on the board with his first home run on the night and then Brandon Nimmo did what Brandon Nimmo does and drove in the second run with a double.
After the Pirates tied it up in the fifth, the Mets’ offense really went to work the next inning. Nimmo got it started with a single and eventually came home on Dominic Smith’s single. Pete Alonso then brought everyone home with just his second home run at Citi Field this season. It was a three-run shot that knocked Brubaker out of the game.
Pittsburgh then turned to Sam Howard who could not throw strikes. After Jeff McNeil singled, he walked both Michael Conforto and James McCann. Jonathan Villar struck out in between the two but it was on a pitch that very easily could have been ball four. So with the bases loaded, Howard hit pinch-hitter Jose Perzaza with a pitch and then walked Brandon Nimmo to force in yet another run. After all of that, Howard’s night was finally done but the damage was not. Francisco Lindor sent a ball to the left field fence that just squeaked over the wall for a grand slam. It was the first grand slam the Mets have hit all season.
After the Pirates got one back against Nick Tropeano, who was making his Mets debut, Villar hit a mammoth blast from the other side of the plate which a Mets player had not done since 2018.
This being the Mets in 2021, the rains came yet again with one out in the bottom of the eighth but the game did resume 41 minutes later. In the ninth the Mets of course turned to Diaz, but it was Yennsy on the mound and not Edwin. He had a bit of trouble putting the game to bed and gave up a run, but he eventually ended the night to give the Mets the win in the series opener.
After an eventful first half of the season, the Mets need to take advantage against a last place team to end the first half on a positive note. The team managed to do that in the series opener despite the weather trying to get in the way yet again.
*illar of the game
Hitting home runs from both sides of the plate certainly gets Jonathan the win.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Brandon Nimmo, +17.8% WPA
Big Mets loser: Jeff McNeil, -2.5% WPA
Mets pitchers: 5.9% WPA
Mets hitters: 44.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Dominic Smith RBI single in 6th
Teh sux0rest play: John Nogowski double in second