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Walk This Way

What the fork did I just watch?

New York Mets v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Before tonight’s contest in Oakland even began, we learned that Gary Cohen and Ron Darling were broadcasting the game from a location other than the visitors’ booth because Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum’s resident possum had decided to wreak havoc in the booth. That tells you just about all you need to know about the vibes of the Mets’ 17-6 victory over the Athletics in the opening game of this West Coast roadtrip; the game was chaos personified.

A’s pitchers walked a staggering seventeen batters in the game and the Mets twice scored six runs in an inning with only one hit. The first of these frames was the second, in which A’s starter James Kaprielian walked the bases loaded, then walked two more batters to force in the first two runs of the game. Francisco Lindor then uncorked a grand slam to give the Mets a commanding 6-0 lead with just the one hit.

The A’s did claw back against Kodai Senga, who was not at his sharpest tonight. In the third inning, he issued a two-out walk to Ryan Noda and then Brent Rooker and Ramón Laureano dunked back-to-back singles into almost the exact same spot in shallow right field to get the A’s on the board. Senga then gave up a two-run homer to Shea Langeliers in the bottom of the fourth to cut the Mets’ lead to 6-3.

But luckily for Senga, the Mets would put up another six spot in the top of the fifth to give him yet another comfortable lead to work with. Much like Kaprielian before him, Hogan Harris—making his major league debut—walked the bases loaded and then forced in two runs via a hit by pitch and yet another walk. Lindor then strode to the plate again with the bases loaded and delivered yet again with a bases-clearing double to put the Mets up 11-3 and bring his RBI total on the night up to seven—a single game career-high for Lindor. Daniel Vogelbach added a run with an RBI groundout to make the fifth inning the second inning of the game in which the Mets scored six runs with only one hit—the first time that occurred in a game dating back to at least 1957. The top of the fifth inning lasted so long, in fact, that Kodai Senga was seen throwing in the bullpen to stay warm on this chilly evening in Oakland.

Perhaps because of the long breaks between innings and the cold temperatures or perhaps because it simply wasn’t his night, Senga could not make it through the bottom of the fifth inning to line himself up for the win. After recording the second out of the inning via the strikeout—his seventh of the night—he gave up a solo homer to Aledmys Díaz and then walked Conner Capel. With his pitch count climbing, Buck Showalter removed Senga from the game one out short of qualifying for the win in favor of Stephen Nogosek, who allowed a single, but then stranded his inherited runners via a strikeout of Tony Kemp to end the inning.

It was likely that Buck intended for Nogosek to finish out this lopsided affair or at least soak up multiple innings of work, but Nogosek was struck by a Jace Peterson line drive in the sixth that grazed his arm and then hit his back and was forced to leave the game. Dennis Santana came in to relieve him and allowed one run in 2 13 innings of work, getting credit for the win—his first as a Met. John Curtiss finished the game for the Mets with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Old friend Jeurys Familia added to the Athletics’ historic walk total in his second inning of work in the top of the ninth when he walked four straight batters to load the bases and force in yet another run to make the score 14-6. The A’s then brought in catcher Carlos Pérez to pitch, who surrendered a two-run double to Eduardo Escobar and an RBI single to Luis Guillorme, hanging an additional three runs on Familia’s ledger. Of course, the inning didn’t end before Pérez walked an additional batter to bring the walk total within one of the major league record.

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Win Probability Added

What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Starling Marte, +14.9% WPA
Big Mets loser: Jeff McNeil, -7.0% WPA
Mets pitchers: -1.1% WPA
Mets hitters: +51.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Francisco Lindor’s second-inning grand slam, +14.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Shea Langeliers’ two-run homer off Kodai Senga in the fourth, -8.9% WPA