Mark Canha's big day leads Mets past Marlins
MIAMI — In the ninth inning of a game that was effectively over, Mark Canha stepped to the plate with individual triumph on the line, if not on his mind.
He already had a heck of a day, powering the Mets to what would be a 6-2 win over the Marlins on Saturday, but needed a triple to complete the cycle. His last triple came on June 22, 2021.
On a first-pitch curveball up in the zone from lefthander Braxton Garrett, Canha swung hard and hit it hard, lofting a fly ball to centerfield . . . for an out. Jazz Chisholm Jr. made the routine catch. Oh well.
Canha settled for a nonetheless standout line: 3-for-4 with a homer, a double, two RBIs, three runs scored and a walk. He had been 0-for-6 in the Mets’ first two games.
“I’m aware of [the cycle opportunity], but I don’t care about that. I was just trying to drive a run in there, so not really thinking about that,” he said. “I wasn’t stressed about not getting hits the first two days. I felt like I was seeing the ball decently and just kind of waiting for my swing to come around. I was close but needed to make maybe a minor adjustment.”
That adjustment came before his big game. What was it? He said it was “a secret” and “just for me,” but then held two fingers maybe a couple of centimeters apart to indicate how minute it was. Invisible to the untrained eye.
“It’s an adjustment that’s this big and it makes a big difference,” he said. “It’s a little different position to get my body more ready. Kind of just getting ready earlier. It’s timing-related.”
Manager Buck Showalter said: “If he sees something that’s not where he wants it to be, he’s going to chase it.”
Whatever he chased, it worked. Canha’s early damage was against righthander Edward Cabrera, who grinded through four innings. Cabrera allowed only two runs and two hits but walked six, driving up his pitch count to at least 20 in each frame.
Canha homered off Garrett in the seventh to give the Mets a 5-2 lead. Last year, he didn’t homer until May 2. He arrived at spring training hoping to hit for more power in his second year with the Mets.
“It’s nice to get the first one out of the way early,” Canha said. “Now I can play.”
Pitching in place of the injured Justin Verlander, Tylor Megill survived five innings, which was far from a guarantee as he struggled early. Megill struck out seven and held Miami to two runs, six hits and two walks. Both runs came on Nick Fortes’ homer in the second.
Like David Peterson, his fellow rotation fill-in a day prior, Megill was at risk of letting the game get away, but got the big outs when he needed them. The Marlins went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded six men on base against him.
The biggest moments for Megill were a pair of inning-ending groundouts to shortstop by Bryan De La Cruz. The first came in the first inning, when a weak roller yielded a routine out. The second came in the fifth and wasn’t quite as easy.
De La Cruz pulled a one-hopper deep into the shortstop hole. Francisco Lindor nabbed it, took two steps to steady himself and fired — from the outfield grass, closer to third base than second base — a long throw to record the out.
Showalter said he considered but refrained from pulling Megill before that final batter. Had the ball snuck through, the score would have been tied. Had Lindor’s throw not arrived in time, it would’ve been a one-run game with runners on the corners and the Mets already dipping into their bullpen.
Instead, the inning was over, the game soon with it.
“I gave him a big hug when the game was over,” Megill said. “Shout out Francisco. That was awesome.”