The Mets had just suffered their first three game losing streak of the year, and Chris Bassitt found himself out just hours before he was supposed to pitch on the COVID IL. So David Peterson, who had been on paternity watch for the last few weeks, was called upon to make the start. The Mets offense had been struggling for the past few games, but facing the Rangers rookie pitcher Glenn Otto, who had not been spectacular at any point up to the start, could’ve been seen as a harbinger of good fortune ahead.
Peterson had a quick top of the first, getting the top of the Rangers lineup out in order, including a strikeout to Marcus Semien. The Mets had something brewing already in the bottom of the inning against rookie pitcher Otto. Lindor walked, reached second on an Alonso single, then stole third, putting runners on the corners with two outs for McNeil. But McNeil struck out, with one of the strikes being a questionable called strike by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, and the inning ended before anyone could reach home.
The second inning was once again smooth sailing for Peterson, who came out unscathed with just a soft infield single by Mitch Garver, and two strikeouts added to Peterson’s ledger. Alonso made a nice diving stop at first to turn a potential hit into an easy out at first. Mark Canha, leading off in the bottom of the inning, was hit in the arm for the Mets 52nd hit-by-pitch this season. But he was quickly erased by a Luis Guillorme double play and Eduardo Escobar flew out to end the inning.
The third inning went not as smoothly for Peterson. After a strikeout and groundout to Lindor, Peterson gave up a solo home run to Semien to give the Rangers the first lead of the game. He got Corey Seager to fly out to Nimmo in center to end the inning. The Mets bottom half of the inning went as quietly as the ones before it. James McCann led off with a walk, then a looooong Brandon Nimmo fly out and a Starling Marte double play ended things before they could even begin.
Peterson had another good fourth inning. He sent the Rangers down in order, tallying two more strikeouts, and pitching with the urgency of a man who could become a father at any second. The Mets got something brewing in the bottom half of the inning, with a Lindor single and a McNeil walk sandwiching an Alonso pop out to put runners on first and second with one out. Canha then hit a ball over the third base bag for a double off the sidewall, driving in Lindor, tying the game, and putting runners at second and third with just one out. After a Guillorme groundout to Nathaniel Lowe at first base, Escobar hit an absolute bomb to the Coca-Cola corner to put the Mets ahead of the Rangers 4-1. McCann grounded out to end the inning but the tenor of the game had changed already.
The top of the fifth Peterson was back with a newly minted three run lead, but he gave some of that back with a Nathaniel Lowe solo home run to cut the Mets lead to two runs. But other than the home run, Peterson shut down the Rangers, with three strikeouts to establish his new season high of nine strikeouts in a game. The Mets had a quiet bottom of the inning, going down in order and not adding anything to their slimming lead.
In the sixth, Peterson was still in and ran into some trouble. Semien singled, and was moved over to second by a Seager ground out. Then Peterson, in an attempt to pick Semien off at second, threw the ball into center field allowing Semien to reach third with one out. Adolis Adolis García grounded out but the ground out was soft enough to allow Semien to score easily. After a Jonah Heim single, Peterson locked it down with a strikeout of Kole Calhoun to bring himself to an even ten strikeouts in the box score. With the exception of a Pete Alonso lead off single, the Mets’ bottom half of the sixth was quiet, with no runs scored but maintaining a one run lead.
In the top of the seventh, Lugo came out in relief, and he had a pretty good showing. He had a clean inning with two strikeouts, getting the Mets a half-inning closer to a win. In the bottom half the Mets also went down in order, with no hits against the Rangers reliever Garrett Richards. Adam Ottavino came out to pitch the eighth and with the exception of a single to Josh H. Smith was able to shut down the Rangers, keeping the Mets in front and putting them one inning away from a win. In the bottom of the inning, Marte led off with a ground ball to third that ate up Smith, allowing him to reach base safely. He stole a base after a Lindor strikeout then took third on a wild pitch during Alonso’s at-bat, putting a runner at third with one out for Alonso. Alonso eventually walked, putting runners at the corners with one out for McNeil popped out to Seager for the second out, and Canha struck out looking, stranding the runners and keeping the Mets margin at a slim run for Edwin Díaz to try and make stick.
Díaz started the inning with a ground ball to Lindor, who threw the ball high but Dom Smith, in for Alonso at first, pulled it out of the air for the first out. He then struck out Heim for the second out. Then, Kole Calhoun, the last hope of the Rangers, after drawing a full count, struck out to end the game and give the Mets a win, ending their losing streak at three.
The Mets got themselves back on track after the Astros series, and they started their series against the Rangers with a win. Eduardo Escobar broke a slump with his home run, and Peterson looked as good as he has all year, with a quality start and double digit strikeouts. With Saturday’s starter a question mark, and the rest of the series staring down some less-than-optimal weather, this win was a good start and hopefully a sign of the last few games being a blip and not a slump.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Eduardo Escobar, +26.4% WPA
Big Mets loser: Luis Guillorme, -19.3% WPA
Mets pitchers: +33.5% WPA
Mets hitters: +16.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Eduardo Escobar’s three run home run in the fourth, +29.1 WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Marcus Semien’s home run in the third inning, -13.1% WPA