Looking to build upon their 13-4 win from the previous night, the offense wilted instead, as the Mets dropped the first game of the doubleheader to the Pirates 6-2 Saturday afternoon in Queens.
Brandon Nimmo kept the game scoreless in the top of the first inning with a couple of exemplary plays, running down an Adam Frazier line drive for the first out of the inning and finishing the inning by robbing Bryan Reynolds of a home run. Nimmo patiently timed the Reynolds fly ball and leaped in front of the Delta ad in right-center field to turn a run into an out, before leaping one more time to celebrate with a relieved Marcus Stroman.
Nimmo followed up his spectacular play with a leadoff single in the bottom of the inning. He then advanced to third on a Dom Smith single to center, eventually scoring on a two-out RBI single from Kevin Pillar and giving the Mets the first run of the game.
Stroman, who has struggled in his last two appearances, left the Pirates lineup scoreless and hitless through the first three innings, notching three strikeouts along the way. He got into trouble in the top of the fourth, however, giving up singles to Frazier and Reynolds before a two-out RBI double by John Nogowski gave the Pirates the lead.
Picking up where he left off the previous night night, Jonathan Villar tied the game with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth, his third in two games. The Pirates responded from the unlikeliest of places, however, with starting pitcher Tyler Anderson sending a pitch over the right field wall to give himself a 3-2 lead. Stroman backed Anderson into a corner with two strikes and two outs, but the pitcher shocked the entire stadium with his go-ahead home run.
Reynolds got his revenge for the robbed home run in the top of the sixth inning, homering to right-center field off Trevor May with Ke’Bryan Hayes on base, giving the Pirates a 5-2 lead. May struggled through the sixth inning, allowing three hard-hit balls and two walks, but escaped with the two-run home run as his only blemish. Hayes drove in the Pirates sixth run in the top of the seventh inning with a one-out double off of Drew Smith, scoring Jared Oliva. Pirates closer Richard Rodriguez finished the game with a 1-2-3 seventh inning, as the Mets offense once again failed to come up with much.
*illar of the game
Both—Pillar and Villar drove in the only two Mets runs of the game.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Jonathan Villar, +14% WPA
Big Mets loser: Marcus Stroman, -29% WPA
Mets pitchers: -47% WPA
Mets hitters: -3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jonathan Villar home run in the fourth, +20.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: John Nogowski double in the fourth, -33.6% WPA
SB Nation GameThreads
The Mets lost the first game, but with the second game they had to focus on splitting on the doubleheader to have a shot at winning the series. Rookie Tylor Megill was getting the start, and as long as he could keep them in it, the Mets would have a good shot at a win.
Megill got through the first inning without allowing a single base runner, getting the first two batters to strike out and Brian Reynolds to pop out to Jeff McNeil, although two of the at-bats were 8+ pitches each. In the bottom of the inning, the Mets faced rookie Pirates starter Max Kranick in his second start in the major leagues. The Mets greeted him with two runs, courtesy of a Francisco Lindor single, Dominic Smith walk, and a McNeil RBI double. When the first inning ended, the Mets were up 2-0.
Megill worked around some trouble with two walks in the second inning by getting two strikeouts and a ground out, keeping the Pirates off the board despite having two baserunners. After their eventful first inning the Mets batters had a more subdued bottom of the second, going down in order with a pop out, a strikeout, and a ground out.
After Kranick made a quick groundout for the first out in the top of the third, Kevin Newman laid down a bunt that was perfectly executed so Megill had a one-out baserunner to worry about. Ke’Bryan Hayes then hit a single through the hole between Alonso and McNeil, moving Newman from first to third. Reynolds then hit a single that drove in Newman and moved Hayes to second, with still only one out. Megill got Ben Gamel to pop out and John Nogowski to strike out to limit the damage to one run.
In the bottom of the inning, after Lindor and Smith struck out, the Mets earned back the run given up by Megill on an Alonso solo home run. McNeil then smacked a first-pitch single into right-center field, followed by a Michael Conforto walk (his second of the evening), but a Jonathan Villar pop out into foul ground ended the inning before they could do any further damage.
In the fourth, Megill got two outs and was very close to getting a clean inning for the first time since the first inning, but he then walked Jared Oliva, once again causing himself some static on the basepaths. He then gave up a single to Wilmer Difo that just got past the outstretched glove of Villar, and that was the end of the line for Megill. Jeurys Familia came in to pitch, needing only one out to get out of the inning. And all Familia needed was two pitches to get that out, getting Newman to hit a ground ball to Lindor, who tossed it to McNeil for the force out at second base.
The Pirates brought out former Met Chasen Shreve to pitch in the bottom of the fourth. He immediately gave up a single to James McCann, who was almost out when Gamel dove for the ball, but the ball ended up underneath Gamel and McCann safe at first. Pinch hitter Kevin Pillar then hit a ball back to Shreve, who threw to second to get McCann out but Pillar was safe at first. After a Brandon Nimmo walk and a Lindor ground out that moved the runners up to second and third, Smith worked an 8 pitch at-bat culminating in a line out to end the inning without a run scoring.
Seth Lugo came in to pitch in the top of the fifth, and he had a mostly easy go of it. Except for a two out walk, Lugo induced three ground outs, and needed only 13 pitches to get through the four batters he faced. Shreve came back out for the bottom of the inning for a second inning of work. Despite a two out walk to Michael Conforto, Shreve got through the inning unscathed.
With how short his first inning was, Lugo came back out for the top of the sixth, and after a quick first pitch out, he gave up a solo home run to Jacob Stallings, cutting the Mets lead to a slim one run. Lugo recovered and got two more outs, to bring the Mets within three outs of winning the game. In the bottom of the inning, the Pirates brought in Clay Holmes to pitch, and despite getting two outs, his two walks (one intentional to Lindor) came back to haunt him with a Billy McKinney pinch-hit RBI single. Alonso grounded out to end the inning, but the Mets got their insurance run.
In the top of the seventh, Edwin Díaz came in to secure the three out save, and secure it he did. It took only 10 pitches for Díaz to get three outs, all strikeouts, and the Mets split yet another doubleheader. The Mets have one last home game against the Pirates tomorrow, and they could get the series win (and their third straight series win) with a win tomorrow, as well as creating some really good momentum heading into the All-Star Break and moving towards the Trade Deadline. No one knows what will happen in the coming weeks, but one thing is for certain right now—the Mets keep finding ways to win and they are becoming the force they were predicted to be.
*illar of the game
Neither—Villar and Pillar combined for zero hits in six plate appearance and seven runners left on base, so neither are worthy of the *illar crown.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Jeff McNeil, +22.5% WPA
Big Mets loser: Jonathan Villar, -6.2% WPA
Mets pitchers: +23.8% WPA
Mets hitters: +26.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: McNeil’s RBI double in the first, +22.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Stallings home run in the sixth, -9.7% WPA