Francisco Lindor #12 of the Mets celebrates a two-run home run...

Francisco Lindor #12 of the Mets celebrates a two-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium on April 19, 2024 in Los Angeles. Credit: Getty Images/Ronald Martinez

LOS ANGELES — Even though the Mets won Friday night, 9-4 over the Dodgers, they might have lost, too.

Francisco Alvarez exited in the second inning after injuring his left thumb during an awkward baserunning sequence. He had gone to get an MRI by the time the game ended, according to manager Carlos Mendoza.

“I’m pretty concerned. I’m not going to lie,” Mendoza said. “He was in pain . . . He tried [to stay in the game]. He was taking his time. ‘It’s getting better, it’s getting better.’ Once he got to the dugout, he couldn’t squeeze a glove. That’s when we decided we gotta do something there.”

Alvarez reached base when Los Angeles catcher Will Smith threw his dribbler over first baseman Freddie Freeman’s head and down the rightfield line. As he rounded first base, he stumbled, catching himself with his left hand and appearing to jam his thumb.

Upon reaching second, he was in obvious pain and immediately called for Mendoza and an athletic trainer. He stayed in the game — and scored — but departed before the bottom of the second. Omar Narvaez replaced him behind the plate.

The Mets (11-8) wound up winning for the 11th time in 14 games after Francisco Lindor’s tiebreaking two-run home run off Daniel Hudson in the seventh inning. But Alvarez’s departure loomed over what was otherwise a productive, well-rounded night.

“It takes a lot to get him out of a game,” Lindor said. “I know he was in extreme pain. As soon as he came out of the game, I felt bad for him. I felt for him. I’ll be praying for him.”


Alvarez already has taken a beating this season, even in the context of being a catcher, the most physically demanding position in the sport. Last week, he sat out twice in four games because he was “beat up,” Mendoza said at the time.

The Mets don’t have any other catchers on the 40-man roster. If Alvarez misses time and they need to call up someone, their top option probably is Tomas Nido, who is batting .345 (10-for-29) with Triple-A Syracuse.

Mendoza said the Mets would be able to get another catcher to Dodger Stadium in time for their day game Saturday.

After Alvarez left, the Mets mounted a four-run lead in the early innings, blew that lead in the middle innings and re-took control in the late innings.

Lindor’s homer was his first extra-base hit as a lefthanded batter this season. Harrison Bader finished 4-for-5 with a double, a steal and an RBI. DJ Stewart totaled three RBIs. Starling Marte added a two-run single in the eighth, allowing the Mets to avoid using closer Edwin Diaz. The Mets went 7-for-16 with runners in scoring position.

They built an early advantage against Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the Japanese righthander who was their top free-agent target in the offseason but spurned their 12-year, $325 million offer and took the same deal with the Dodgers. His is the largest contract ever awarded to a pitcher, edging Gerrit Cole’s $324 million (over nine years).

Yamamoto’s messy start to his first season stateside continued against the Mets: six innings, four runs. He has a 4.50 ERA in five starts, and this was the first time he pitched past the fifth.

Bader said the Mets stuck to their prescribed “plan of attack” against Yamamoto.

“I thought they had a really good approach: We were aggressive on fastball first pitches,” Mendoza said. “Look, he’s pretty nasty . . . Overall, really good approach up and down the lineup.”

Lefthander Sean Manaea didn’t so much cruise through five innings as survive them. He gave up two runs, four hits and three walks, working around plenty of hard contact from the Dodgers’ top-heavy lineup.

The Dodgers (12-10) briefly tied it with a two-run rally in the sixth against righthander Reed Garrett, though he was hardly to blame.

A pair of errors by third baseman Joey Wendle, whom the Mets signed to be a defensively adept backup infielder, helped load the bases with one out. Chris Taylor, who was batting .028 and had been 0-for-his-last-31, lined a two-out, two-run single to left.

Both runs were unearned, meaning Garrett’s 0.00 ERA remains intact. His three wins, all in relief, are tied for the most in the majors.

In the next half-inning, Lindor restored order.

“It’s very gratifying to win ballgames at all cost,” he said. “But picking Joey up today, that felt really good, because he’s been there for us day in and day out. He makes the first error, then he makes the second error and you could tell immediately — his demeanor was like, ‘Man.’ He felt like he was letting us down. But . . . it felt good to come back.”


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