You don’t have to be around professional baseball for 45 years like Buck Showalter has been to know that Tuesday’s matchup against the Giants was primed to be a good one. But give the Mets manager points for his prognosticating, anyway.
“They have good players,” Showalter said before Game 1 of the doubleheader. “We have good players. It’s going to be fun to watch.”
It sure was. All 10 innings of it. And that was before Max Scherzer even took the mound for Game 2.
Pete Alsonso’s toe, Francisco Lindor’s bat, and a replay analyst by the name of Harrison Friedland combined to help the Mets win Game 1, 5-4, in extra innings for their first walk-off of the year.
With runners on the corners and one out in the 10th, Lindor lined an RBI single up the middle to score ghost runner Brandon Nimmo with the winning run and trigger the raucous celebration near the first-base bag – the second such celebration of the inning, actually.
Just a half inning earier, with runners on the corners and two outs, Thairo Estrada hit a routine bouncer to shortstop and Lindor botched the throw, forcing Alonso to stretch and then fall toward the first-base line in an attempt to make the out. Estrada was originally ruled safe – a play that meant the runner on third, Brandon Belt, scored with the go-ahead run – but Showalter challenged the call and the replay showed that the sprawling Alonso actually kept his toe on the bag, prompting Alonso to fist pump and scream all the way to the dugout.
It was Showalter’s second successful challenge of the game – that one saved a run while the other, which negated a Mets double play in the fifth, helped them score two. Lindor, who was 2-for-5 with a stolen base, also tied the score at 4 with a double in a three-run fifth.
“Pete staying on the bag there, it’s a really hard play,” Showalter said. “Linny [Lindor] seems to be dealing up what we need every time.”
Game 1 pitcher Tylor Megill didn’t exactly continue the streak of spectacular starts, but he held the aggressive Giants offense at bay at least long enough for the Mets to tie it. Mets starters came into the day having compiled a 1.07 ERA over their first 10 games – the best start of any pitching staff since ERA became a stat – though Megill’s four runs over six innings did bump them up to 1.60. He allowed seven hits, with two walks and four strikeouts, and four relievers combined to blank the Giants for four innings.
The Mets manufactured a run to go up in the first – or rather, Starling Marte did. He hit a one-out single off Alex Cobb, and stole second, drawing a throw that sailed over Estrada’s head and landed Marte on third. Then, with two outs, a first-pitch curveball to Alonso got away from catcher Joey Bart for a wild pitch, chasing Marte home. Bart attempted the throw home, but Marte barreled into Cobb, who missed the ball.
The lead didn’t last long, though, as Megill allowed a second-inning leadoff homer to Joc Pederson – a 421-foot shot that bounced off the top of the wall in center and ended Megill’s 2022 scoreless streak at 11 1/3 innings. Megill then allowed three straight one-out singles, capped by Jason Vosler's, to put the Giants up 2-1. Brandon Crawford added a two-out, two-run single in the third to make it 4-1.
The Mets were finally able to touch up Cobb after a well-deployed challenge in the fifth. After J.D. Davis led off the inning with a single, Travis Jankowski grounded into what looked to be a 3-6-1 double play; the speedy Jankowski, though, was ruled safe after the review. James McCann followed with a one-out double to the leftfield corner, and Jeff McNeil got in on the fun with a two-run double to the rightfield corner. Lindor then scored McNeil on a hustle double to tie it.
“It’s what it’s all about," Megill said. "The team is just grinding at bats out, not trying to do too much. We’re just collectively passing the baton down and look what happened. We came back and won. That’s awesome.”