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Mets top Dodgers in back-and-forth affair

Baty, a balk and the bullpen help the Mets overcome two Freddie Freeman home runs to beat the Dodgers.

MLB: New York Mets at Los Angeles Dodgers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The opening game of the Mets’ series with the Dodgers did not get off to an auspicious start for New York, as Dustin May looked strong in setting the side down in the top of the first, while Freddie Freeman got the Dodgers off to an early lead in the bottom of the frame with his first of two home runs off of David Peterson.

This was just the start of what quickly turned into a back-and-forth affair that would feature five lead changes thereafter. The Mets answered right back in the top of the second against Dustin May, as Daniel Vogelbach followed a two out Mark Canha single with his first home run of the year. Peterson would give the lead right back in the bottom of the frame on a two out, two-run double by recently recalled Will Smith replacement Andrew Wynns.

It was the Mets’ turn to jump back ahead in the top of the fourth with a three-run frame, capped by a clutch RBI single lined to right by the newly-recalled Brett Baty, putting New York back ahead 5-3. Peterson briefly settled in, retiring nine in a row at one point—but just when it almost seemed safe to breathe, Mookie Betts ground a single up the middle with two out in the bottom of the fifth, and Freeman followed with his second of the game to tie it up.

The following inning Peterson surrendered his third home run to a left handed batter on the night, as Max Muncy put the Dodgers back in front 6-5 with an absolute bomb to right center, as the lights went out in Dodger Stadium in celebration.

The Mets would respond yet again in the top of the seventh, this time against the Dodgers bullpen. After starting the inning with three straight singles, the Mets tied the game on—of all things—a Phil Bickford balk, then took an 8-6 lead on a Francisco Lindor RBI groundout followed by a Pete Alonso RBI single.

This put Peterson in line for a win of sheer endurance, which the bullpen brought home, with Brooks Raley, Drew Smith and Adam Ottavino shutting down the Dodgers the rest of the way. The Dodgers got runners on second and third with one out against Raley in the eighth, but he induced a Max Muncy pop out before Smith came on for a huge strikeout of Miguel Vargas to end the threat. Ottavino pitched a perfect ninth, with Brandon Nimmo punctuating the victory with yet another spectacular ninth inning grab to rob David Peralta of an extra base hit as the Mets took an exciting opener in Los Angeles for their fifth straight victory.

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Win Probability Added

What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Daniel Vogelbach, +22.4% WPA
Big Mets loser: David Peterson, -50.2% WPA
Mets pitchers: -25.6% WPA
Mets hitters: +75.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Daniel Vogelbach two-run home run in the top of the second, +21.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Freddie Freeman two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth, -27.6% WPA