Three days ago, the Mets were three games under .500 and spiraling. Three days later, the Mets have beaten the best team in baseball two games out of three, and completed two of the most dramatic wins they’ve had in years.
What a funny sport.
Whereas on Wednesday night it was three homers by three sluggers, tonight was more of an entire team effort by the offense in a way we haven’t seen much this year. But it didn’t start that way. The game started in a way that felt very familiar this season.
The biggest kryptonite for the Mets over the last few weeks seems to be poor offenses. Against the light-hitting Tigers, Rockies, Reds, and Nationals, all some of the weakest offenses in baseball, the Mets pitching struggled mightily, making them look like lineups filled with All-Stars. That has left the offense has tasked with coming from behind basically every night.
The Guardians came in to this game as one of the worst offenses in the American League, so, of course, the Mets pitching struggled tonight. Carlos Carrasco was not what the Mets needed in his return from the injured list. In a rotation badly needing stability, Cookie did not provide any. He was roughed up in the first inning on a three-run bomb by Josh Naylor. They were the 39th, 40th, and 41st runs the Mets have given up in the first inning this year, and they put the Mets in another early hole.
Carrasco settled down after that, but surrendered another run in the second and one more in the fifth, and then gave way to the bullpen after that. All in all, he gave up five earned runs on five hits and two walks. It was not a very successful return for Carrasco on the whole, but he did have a stretch where he retired seven hitters in a row, stretching from the second to the start of the fifth inning, and his fastball and changeup looked much better than it has at other points this season.
But by the time Carrasco left, the Mets were down 5-0. The offense, fighting from behind for the 13th straight game, did not get much going early against Cal Quantrill, but they started to pick things up in the bottom of the fifth. Francisco Álvarez hit a moonshot for his fifth home run of the year, and then an RBI single from Jeff McNeil later in the inning drove home Francisco Lindor to get the Mets a little closer at 5-2.
After Dominic Leone escaped the sixth inning with a double play, Brett Baty added another run in the bottom half on his fourth homer of the year to make it 5-3. Now down only two, Buck Showalter opted to keep Leone in the game instead of going to a higher leverage reliever in the seventh inning, and it cost them dearly. Leone promptly allowed two hits and a walk to load the bases with nobody out.
With the game on the line in a big spot, Buck Showalter opted to go with Stephen Nogosek, once again bypassing his better relievers for an inferior option. Nogosek got a gift double play on a line drive to center by Amed Rosario, in which the runner at third stopped running halfway and got thrown out in a rundown, but Nogosek couldn’t steady the ship after that.
A walk to José Ramirez re-loaded the bases, and a base hit by Naylor scored two more runs for the Guardians, and increased their cushion to 7-3.
Showalter had to pull Nogosek after he walked Josh Bell, and Tommy Hunter was able to get out of the inning.
The Mets offense, now once against tasked with overcoming a big lead, went back to work in the bottom half. A walk to Brandon Nimmo, a base hit by Lindor, and a walk to Jeff McNeil loaded the bases for Pete Alonso. In a week where Alonso had the biggest hit of the season for the Mets, he was the guy they wanted up here.
And he delivered again. A game-tying, opposite field grand slam tied the game at seven. Alonso jumped up and down as he ran the bases, Citi Field was rocking, the dugout was going crazy, and the Mets had done it again. It was another signature Citi Field moment.
The game settled down from there. Adam Ottavino and David Robertson—who were available after all and were not used earlier—handled the eighth and ninth, respectively, without issue. Enyel Del Los Santos and Trevor Stephan did the same for the Guardians to send it to extras.
Drew Smith took over in the tenth tasked with keeping the game tied and preventing the free runner from scoring. He got a big pop out to start the inning, but then Gabriel Arias—who had a 63 wRC+ coming into the game and three career homers—took him out to the opposite field to put Cleveland ahead 9-7, and once again knock the Mets down.
They had a chance to pick themselves up again in the bottom half if the inning with the free runner of their own, but they had to do it against one of the best closers in baseball, Emmanuel Clase. To put it in perspective, Clase’s ERA in 2022 was only 5 points higher than Edwin Díaz’s
Starling Marte flew out to start the inning, but that moved Baty, the free runner, over to third. Mark Vientos followed and grounded a clean single up the middle to score Baty and cash in the free runner, but the Mets were still down 9-8.
Eduardo Escobar pinch ran for Vientos, and came up with a big stolen base to get himself into scoring position. It was Escobar’s first stolen base since 2021, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Daniel Vogelbach struck out, pushing the Mets at the brink once again. And as fate would have it, the man who saved them from the brink on Wednesday, Álvarez, came up with a chance to tie it down to their last out.
Down 0-2 in the count, Álvarez took a down and in slider and bounced it through the 5-6 hole for a hit. Eduardo Escobar scored from second, and amazingly, impossibly, the Mets had done it again. It was 9-9.
And they weren’t done yet. Nimmo followed with an infield single, setting it up for Lindor against his former team. Lindor was one of the tentpoles of the Cleveland franchise in the mid-2010s and arguably the face of that team for years. They chose to trade him to the Mets in 2021 instead of extending him, and now he will be a New York Met until 2032.
Lindor didn’t even wait. He lined the first pitch, poetically, past a diving Andrés Gimènez. Álvarez came in to score, and the Mets had done it again. They won 10-9.
It’s their second wild walk-off in three days. Gary Cohen aptly called it “Never Say Die Week.” The Mets were pushed to the brink not just in both games, but overall. They were in danger of falling to four games under .500 on Wednesday, and even though there’s more than enough time to overcome a deficit like that, it’s not a place you want to be. Now, they’re back to .500 at 23-23, and have just pulled two signature, dramatic wins out of their hats.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Francisco Álvarez, +44.9% WPA
Big Mets loser: Drew Smith, -42.4% WPA
Mets pitchers: -59.4% WPA
Mets hitters: +109.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Francisco Álvarez hits an RBI single in the tenth inning, +46.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Gabriel Arias homers in the top of the tenth inning, +37.2% WPA