Despite controversies, Mets win fifth in a row
The Mets keep making headlines for all the wrong reasons. And keep winning games.
It may not be a recipe for success or ultimately get them in the playoffs, but the Mets shook off their latest self-inflicted controversy and beat the Marlins, 4-3, before 23,737 on Thursday night at Citi Field.
Dominic Smith broke a 3-3 tie with a pinch-hit, RBI single in the seventh as the Mets won their fifth in a row (including Tuesday’s completion of a suspended game from April 11) and improved to 5-1 in a 13-game stretch against Miami and Washington.
The third-place Mets (66-67) are five games out of first place in the NL East following Atlanta's 6-5 win later Thursday night at Colorado.
The game was the first since the Mets learned on Wednesday of acting general manager Zack Scott’s arrest early Tuesday morning for allegedly driving while intoxicated in White Plains.
The Mets placed Scott on administrative leave on Thursday and said team president Sandy Alderson would take over the general manager’s duties.
The Mets kept their focus on the field and on the beatable Marlins. The game was not a thing of beauty. Miami committed four errors and the Mets had three. But there were no unearned runs.
"There’s been a lot of stuff going on off the field all year, not just this week," Smith said. "This is something that we’re kind of accustomed to, that we’re not going to get distracted by. Our job is to come in every day and play a baseball game and try to win. That’s what we focus on every day. We don’t let the outside noise get in the way of that."
The Mets trailed 2-0 three batters into the game.
Miguel Rojas hit Carlos Carrasco’s first pitch for a home run. Jazz Chisholm Jr. followed with a double, moved to third when Brandon Nimmo booted the ball for an error, and scored on Jesus Aguilar’s single. But that was all Miami scored while Carrasco was in the game.
Jonathan Villar led off the bottom of the first with a first-pitch home run against Sandy Alcantara. Villar’s 17th home run was also the first recorded instance of opposing leadoff batters hitting first-pitch home runs in the first inning since pitch counts began to be tracked in 1988, according to MLB.com.
It stayed 2-1 until the fourth, when Francisco Lindor tied it with an RBI double off the leftfield wall to score Nimmo, who had singled and moved to second on an error.
Lindor moved to third on a grounder and scored the go-ahead run when Alcantara balked on a fake pickoff throw to third.
Carrasco lasted 5 1⁄3 innings and gave way to Aaron Loup with two on. Loup uncharacteristically walked Jesus Sanchez and Lewis Brinson to force in the tying run before striking out pinch hitter Sandy Leon and getting Jorge Alfaro to ground to third to end the inning.
The Mets scored the go-ahead run in the seventh on three consecutive one-out singles by Jeff McNeil, Patrick Mazeika and Smith against Alcantara (8-13).
"Just trying to be ready, like I am always," said Smith, who has lost playing time since Javier Baez and Lindor returned from the injured list. "Just trying to be ready whether I’m starting or I’m coming off the bench. I know how good this team is and I just want to be part of this team winning. Whatever I can do to contribute."
Jeurys Familia (9-3) threw a perfect seventh for the win.
"He’s pitching like an elite closer," manager Luis Rojas said of Familia, who is tied with Marcus Stroman for team lead in wins. "We have the luxury to use him in the sixth, in the seventh, in the eighth if we want. He’s been great for us."
Trevor May worked around a two-out walk in the eighth and Edwin Diaz struck out a pair in a 1-2-3 ninth for his 28th save.