After splitting the two-game Subway Series last month, the Mets headed to the Bronx to begin another two-game set against the crosstown Yankees tonight. Thanks to a big offensive performance from the suddenly surging Pete Alonso and a great start from Justin Verlander, the Amazins won the first battle against their New York rivals, as game one ended with a 9-3 victory for the orange and blue.
The Mets drew first blood against Domingo Germán in the top of the first inning. Brandon Nimmo led off the game with a sharp line drive off the right field line for a double, and after two groundouts to first base, Pete Alonso hit a looper into left field which fell in for an RBI base hit, giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. Alonso—who, after a mighty slump, has finally been showing signs of breaking out over the past few games—would be responsible for additional runs in the third inning. After Germán recorded the first two outs of the frame, Francisco Lindor hit a blooper—a common theme in this game, it seems—which fell for a double, and then Jeff McNeil walked to bring Alonso back up. He responded to the RBI situation by hitting a line-drive home run to left field to put the Mets up 4-0.
And if you thought that was the end of it? Guess again, as Alonso then proceeded to lead off the sixth inning with a home run to center to add another run on the board. The difference here was that immediately after, a non-Alonso Met finally decided to get in on the fun, as Daniel Vogelbach followed that solo shot with a homer of his own, hitting a long bomb to right field to make it 6-0 Mets. We love it when our large Florida boys drive in runs against domestic abusers, don’t we folks?
While this offensive barrage was taking place, Justin Verlander was throwing his second straight sterling start in a row. How good was he, do you ask? Well, he only allowed a runner to reach scoring position once on the night—and that runner reached base due to an error by Brett Baty. Thus, the Yankees never really threatened to do any damage against him. He did walk a few too many with four free passes, but he nevertheless held the struggling Yankees lineup scoreless through six innings of work while allowing just two hits and striking out six. It continues a string of solid starts from Verlander, who—if he is not traded at the deadline—will need to continue to be a reliable presence in the Mets’ rotation for the team to have any chance at finishing the season strong.
The Yankees’ bullpen came on for Germán in the seventh inning, and the Mets quickly added an insurance run against Nick Ramirez. With two outs in the frame, Francisco Lindor hit a ground ball to Anthony Volpe, who made an errant throw which went into the dugout to send the runner to second base. McNeil then hit a soft line drive to center to bring home the seventh run of the game for the Amazins. However, the Yankees finally got their offense going in the bottom of the frame when Brooks Raley came on in relief for Verlander. While the lefty has undoubtedly been great for the Mets, he struggled mightily tonight, as he hit the leadoff batter with a pitch and then quickly gave up a run-scoring double to Volpe to break the shutout. He subsequently walked another batter and then finally recorded an out before being removed from Dominic Leone, who had his own struggles. After walking his first batter on four pitches, Giancarlo Stanton came up with the bases loaded and hit a laser line drive to right which no doubt put the fear of God into every Mets fan’s heart. Thankfully, D.J. Stewart was able to catch it and make it just a sacrifice fly to make it 7-2, and Leone was able to strike out Anthony Rizzo to end the frame.
The Mets bullpen had some more struggles before all was said and done, as Grant Hartwig came on for the eighth inning and loaded the bases after recording the first out, which forced Buck Showalter to bring in David Robertson with the intention of recording the final five outs of the game. Robertson did allow one run to score on a fielder’s choice, but otherwise preserved the lead in the eighth. The Mets then got some runs back in the top of the ninth against Ron Marinaccio, as a walk to Nimmo and single to Lindor put two runners on for McNeil, who socked a double down the right field line to add two extra runs.
While the insurance was nice, they would also be joined with some pain before too long, as Albert Abreu came on to replace Marinaccio and quickly demonstrated some control problems, walking Alonso and hitting pinch-hitter Mark Vientos with a pitch. Francisco Alvarez—who had already struck out three times—then came on, and on an 0-2 count, Abreu threw another inside pitch which hit the young catcher in the hand. To add insult to injury, the umpire ruled that Alvarez had swung on the pitch for strike three, but far more importantly, Omar Narváez would come on to catch the final frame of the night. The Mets will now desperately hope that Alvarez’s hand is fine, as an injury to him would be about as devastating a scenario as one could imagine.
Nevertheless, this unpleasantness had little impact on the final outcome of the game. The Mets ultimately failed to score any additional runs, but the added insurance runs they did bring across were enough for Showalter to replace Robertson with Adam Ottavino in the ninth to try to preserve his closer for tomorrow. Ottavino surrendered a one-out walk to Stanton, but otherwise shut the Yankees down to end the game and give the Mets a 9-3 victory. They will try to go for the sweep tomorrow evening.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Pete Alonso, +35.6% WPA
Big Mets loser: Grant Hartwig, -5.0% WPA
Mets pitchers: +23% WPA
Mets hitters: +27% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso three-run homer in the third, +23.4% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: DJ LeMahieu leadoff walk in the second, -4.1% WPA