|Jacob deGrom firing a pitch during Game 1. Photo by Jason Schott.|
The Mets entered their doubleheader on Monday against the Miami Marlins with a chance to secure a winning record for the first time since May 2 when they were 16-15.
They did just that, with a 6-2 win in the first game and a 5-4 win in the nightcap, to improve to 57-56.
The Mets are now 17-6 since the All-Star Break, and they have two more against Miami before a three-game set over the weekend against the Washington Nationals, who the Mets trailed by three games for a Wild Card spot entering Monday.
Mets Manager Mickey Callaway was asked about how important a day this is, and he said, "I think we're just focused on the first game. That's kind of the approach we've been taking for a long time; let's just go out there and focus on this game. Obviously, we understand that we're in that position, but we're concerned about winning the next game."
|Photo by Jason Schott.|
GAME 1: METS 6, MARLINS 2
Jacob deGrom got the start for the Mets in Game 1, and their defense helped him out early.
Jon Berti led off the game with a double and then he was thrown out by Mets shortstop Amed Rosario trying to advance to third on a grounder by Isan Diaz.
Then, deGrom struck out Garrett Cooper and Diaz was ruled out trying to take second base when Cooper's swing interfered with Mets catcher Tomas Nido.
The Mets got the lead in the bottom of the first when Jeff McNeil homered to right field off Marlins starter Roberty Dugger, who was making his Major League debut.
In the top of the second, Brian Anderson led off with a double and came home to score on a double from Starlin Castro to tie the game at 1.
Harold Ramirez then lined one back to deGrom, who went up full extension to grab it and get him out at first.
Later in the inning, with two outs and two on, Dugger tore into one to right field and Michael Conforto went full extension to grab that one.
The Mets got the lead back in the third when Rosario hit a solo homer to right field, his 12th of season.
They added to it in the fourth when deGrom got a two-out double with the bases loaded, and in the fifth, when Pete Alonso got an RBI single and J.D. Davis hit a sacrifice fly to make it 6-1.
By this point, deGrom was cruising, as he retired nine straight Marlins from the third through fifth innings.
That ended when the Miami leadoff hitter in the sixth, Isan Diaz, launched one to right for his first Major League home run to cut the Mets' lead to 6-2.
DeGrom then retired the final six batters he faced. He left after seven innings, in which he allowed just two runs on five hits and a walk, with eight strikeouts. He improved to 7-7, and in six starts since July 1, he is 3-0 with a sterling 1.35 ERA. He is now 4-2 with a 2.12 ERA (20 earned runs in 85.0 innings) in his last 13 starts with 107 strikeouts and just 18 walks. He has thrown seven-or-more innings in four straight outings and has allowed two-runs-or-fewer in 12 of his last 13 starts.
Justin Wilson then came on and pitched a scoreless eighth in which he worked around a leadoff hit from Martin Prado and then struck out two.
McNeil got a two-out single in the eighth for his 200th career hit. Not bad for a guy who has been in the Majors for a little more than a calendar year.
Edwin Diaz worked around a walk and a hit-batsman to get through the ninth, but with the 6-2 lead, did not earn a save.
With this win, the Mets improved to 56-56 and are back at .500 for the first time since May 28 when they were 27-27.
GAME 2: METS 5, MARLINS 4:
The Mets jumped out to an early lead against Marlins starter Sandy Alcantara, who entered the game with a 4.10 ERA and a 4.54 ERA.
Jeff McNeil got things going with a walk, followed by an Amed Rosario single, and they both came home on a single by Michael Conforto to make it 2-0 Mets.
McNeil had to leave the game in the third inning with a right calf strain after a throw into the infield on a double by Bryan Holaday.
Walter Lockett got the spot start for the Mets in this one, and he worked around a couple hits and a few walks in the first three innings, but ran into trouble in the fourth.
Brian Anderson led off the fourth with a double, followed by a single for old friend Curtis Granderson, and then Harold Ramirez got an RBI single to score Anderson. Lockett got out of trouble by getting Martin Prado to ground into a double play.
Miami kept it going in the fifth when Bryan Holaday led off with a home run to tie it at 2. Then Miguel Royas and Brian Anderson got a pair of singles around a pair of strikeouts to knock Lockett out of
Robert Gsellman was first out of the Mets' bullpen and he was greeted by a double up the gap in right field from Granderson to plate two and make it 4-2 Miami.
After a rough early going to the game, Alcantara wound up going five innings, allowing two runs (both earned) on three hits and three walks, with four strikeouts.
Jeff Brigham came on for Miami in the sixth and Pete Alonso and Wilson Ramos led off with singles. Luis Guillomrme was up next, and he laid down a bunt, which went right back to Brigham, who fired to third base to get Alonso on a force out.
Adeiny Hechavarria then struck out and pinch-hitter Todd Frazier bounced one to third to end the inning.
After Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless top of the seventh, the Mets rallied in the bottom half of the frame.
J.D. Davis launched an opposite field homer to open the inning, and then with two outs, Conforto got a solo homer of his own to deep right to tie it at 4. It was Conforto's 23rd homer of the season.
Then, incredibly, Pete Alonso launched a bomb down the left field line to give the Mets a 5-4 lead and wake Citi Field up from its slumber and send it into a frenzy. This was Alonso's 35th homer of the season and it came on a 3-2 pitch.
Callaway said of Alonso's homer, his first in a while as he has been in a slump, "He had some fun in that second game, you know, he was smiling, he was energized, and that's what he needed. He needed that big - especially a game-winner like that - to kind of put him at ease. You know, this is a long season, you go through ups and downs; you've got to continue to have fun."
In the eighth, with Seth Lugo on for the Mets, Alonso made an incredible play on a Granderson hit down the first base line for the first out. Lugo then struck out Brinson and got Ramirez to ground out to retire the Marlins in order.
Lugo stayed on for the ninth and retired the Marlins in order to close out the sweep and earn his second save of the season.
Callaway said of the feeling in the dugout being different during this run, that they expect to come back, as they did in this one, "Yeah, you do feel like that a little bit. I think that we did some of this early in the season, where we came back a lot and scoring a lot of runs late in the game. You do get that feeling because you know you're playing great and you don't feel like you're ever out of it. Our bullpen stepped up and put up zeroes to keep it right there and we got the job done."
ROBINSON CANO: The Mets second baseman left Sunday's game against the Pirates and was placed on the 10-day injured list on Monday morning. An MRI taken Monday revealed that he had a torn left hamstring. Surgery is not required, but there is no timetable for his return.