Miami Marlins' Billy Hamilton scores on a throwing error by Mets...

Miami Marlins' Billy Hamilton scores on a throwing error by Mets catcher Tomas Nido during the tenth inning of an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Sunday, July 10, 2022. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

For seven innings, spectators at Citi Field got to watch the most elegant of baseball proceedings, the old-school pitching duel — a potential Cy Young Award winner against a potential All-Star, mowing down opposing offenses with deft precision, waiting for the other to blink first.

And, for the last inning, they got . . . something that was decidedly not that.

A day after the Mets tied their extra-inning game against the Marlins on a defensive miscue and walked it off on an error, they were subject to some fielding woes of their own on Sunday. Tomas Nido’s 10th-inning throwing error allowed the go-ahead run to score as the Marlins won, 2-0, at Citi Field to salvage a four-game series split.

That followed masterful performances by Sandy Alcantara, one of the best pitchers in baseball this year, and Taijuan Walker, who’s making a case for himself as an All-Star addition between now and the July 19 festivities.

In the 10th, former Met Billy Hamilton (the ghost runner at second) stole third, prompting a throw from Nido that sailed over Eduardo Escobar’s head and into left, allowing Hamilton to score. Three more singles off Tommy Hunter provided the final score.

The NL East-leading Mets have a 1 1⁄2-game lead over Atlanta and a three-game trip to Truist Park ahead of them.

“You’re just trying to make a play there that may not have been there,” Buck Showalter said of Nido’s throw, which wouldn’t have gotten the speedy Hamilton anyway. “That’s why guys like Hamilton are [valuable]. You can almost carry a guy like that just for the 10th inning, especially on the road.”


Brandon Nimmo came a few feet away from tying it, but his 372-foot fly ball to right was caught at the wall. The Mets did put the tying runners on base with two outs, but Francisco Lindor struck out swinging to end it.

Before that, you would have been hard-pressed to distinguish which one of the two starters was being shortlisted for the Cy Young Award. Walker not only held his own while toeing the rubber against the best but continued to establish himself as a force in his own right.

“Those are fun starts, those are fun games,” he said. “You want to go out there and be just a little bit better. It was a fun matchup today and, you know, it’s baseball. It’s one of the best pitchers, if not the best pitcher right now in baseball, and we battled them.”

Walker’s only real trouble came in the seventh. After the first two batters reached, he struck out Brian Anderson swinging to get out of the jam.

Walker allowed no runs and three hits in seven innings, with a walk and seven strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 2.63 and working to build his case for the second All-Star appearance of his career. He has a 1.85 ERA in his last six starts, with 43 strikeouts and eight walks, and has four starts this year of seven innings and no runs allowed. That mark is highest in the majors, tying Alcantara and Zack Wheeler.

The Mets made Alcantara look exactly like who he is. They didn’t record a hit until the third and didn’t get a batter into scoring position until the fourth. Their earliest threat came in the sixth, when Nimmo reached on an error and Mark Canha walked with none out, but Lindor hit into a 6-6-3 double play and Pete Alonso popped out to first.

Like Walker, Alcantara went seven innings, allowing no runs and six hits, dropping his ERA to 1.73, second in the NL.

“In order to compete with a starter like that, you’ve got to get a good start out of your starter, and we certainly did,” Showalter said. “Tai has been solid for us. He’s fun to watch. He’s a smart man. He knows what’s going on, what’s required to compete in a game like that. He’s had a competitive gleam in his eye since he walked into St. Lucie.”


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