LOS ANGELES — The Mets’ Gavin Cecchini will always have a story to tell about his first big-league homer. It came Monday night, in a 10-6 loss to the Dodgers, on a hanging curveball thrown by one of the best pitchers of his era, Clayton Kershaw.
“It’s obviously a good feeling to hit my first home run and have it be off the unbelievable pitcher that he is,” said Cecchini, whose two-run shot in the fifth inning brought the Mets within three runs. “He just made a mistake, hung a curveball, and I put my best swing on it.”
Cecchini, 23, was promoted Thursday. He had struck out in his only other plate appearance. Until Monday night, he had never started a big-league game. His only other experience before this season came in four appearances as a September call-up last year.
Nevertheless, manager Terry Collins looked to stack his lineup with righthanded bats against the southpaw Kershaw, and that meant an opportunity for Cechhini to start at second base. He took advantage.
“We like our young players here and he’s going to be a good player,” Collins said.
Bench coach Dick Scott gave Cecchini a head’s up Sunday, though the infielder did not realize who he would be facing until looking it up on the internet. Quickly, he got work, watching video while asking veterans Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce for their help. The preparation paid off.
Said Cecchini: “I put my best swing on it and it happened to go out.”
Yoenis Cespedes started the first of what the Mets hope is four straight starts in leftfield. The Mets have been liberal with days off since Cespedes return from the disabled list after enduring injuries to his hamstring and calf . . . Outfielder Juan Lagares had surgery to repair the fracture in his left thumb, the Mets announced. He was initially expected to miss several weeks, though that timetable is likely to be lengthened now . . . Righthander Jacob deGrom received quite the gift for his 29th birthday Monday. The righthander was named National League player of the week. He went 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA in victories against the Nationals and Cubs.