Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Mets Ready For Nats After Sweeping Marlins

Pete Alonso connecting on his first inning home run. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets beat the Miami Marlins, 7-2, at Citi Field on Wednesday afternoon to complete a four-game sweep and keep their torrid pace going.

The Mets are now 59-56, including a Major League-best 19-6 since the All-Star Break, best in the Major Leagues, and they have won 13 of their last 14 games. It is their first 13-1 stretch since 1990.

They have Thursday off before a huge three-game weekend series starting Friday night against the Wild Card-leading Washington Nationals, whom the Mets entered Wednesday just 2 1/2 games behind.

Mets Manager Mickey Callaway said of their run, "What we've done is not easy, but it's in the past. We have our focus on the next game. We're going to have a good off day and then come in ready to play the Nationals, and if we keep on playing the way we've been playing, we're going to continue to do good things."

On how exciting it is to play the Nationals in a series that means something in August after all they've been through, Callaway said, "It's great, you know, I think that the things we've been through are going to allow us to be a better team than we otherwise would have been down the stretch. We're trying to accomplish something as a team together that can be very special, and then the things we've gone through, some rough patches, have only brought us closer together. If we were a team that had just breezed through till now and been in a similar spot, we wouldn't be as close of a unit, so there is a silver lining to our struggles, but we've got to perform. You can be the closest knit group you want, you still have to perform and that's what we've been doing that lately."

The Mets' offense has come alive in the past few weeks, and Wednesday afternoon was no exception, as they got a pair of home runs from Michael Conforto and two-run homers from Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil.

The Mets started this one off as they have in a way they have come to expect, as they scored in the first inning for the seventh straight game.

With two outs, Conforto drew a walk before Alonso hit a bomb to left field for a two-run home run.
This was Alonso's 37th home run of the season, 10th on the all-time Mets single-season HR list. As with all the records he has set this year, such as most homers for a rookie, you have to remember there are still 47 games remaining in the season.

Miami got on the board in the second inning when Garrett Cooper drew a walk, Starlin Castro singled, and Lewis Brinson got an RBI single to score Cooper who came around from second base.

While sending Cooper was the right move since they couldn't get a run across on Tuesday despite having runners on all night, Brinson took a big gamble as he took a bigt turn around first base hoping the throw would go to the plate.

Instead, Alonso cut it off and fired to second to nab Brinson in a rundown for the first out. This was the second sterling defensive play in as many innings for Alsonso, as he started a 3-6-3 double play on a grounder from Isan Diaz in the first.

Matz then got Harold Ramirez to hit into a fielder's choice when Todd Frazier threw home to get Castro, and then after a walk to Bryan Holaday, got Marlins pitcher Jordan Yamamoto to hit a soft liner to second base.

In the third, Matz led off with a single, and then with two outs, Conforto lofted one into the right field corner and it had just enough to get out for a two-run shot to make it 4-1 Mets.

That was Conforto's 100th career home run, and he became the 14th Met to reach that plateau with the club.

Matz ran into trouble in the fourth when he allowed one-out singles to Castro and Brinson, but got Ramirez to ground into a double play to get out of trouble.

Miami was retired in order in the fifth, but with one out in the sixth, Brian Anderson launched a bomb to deep left for a solo homer to make it 4-2 Mets. It was Anderson's 15th home runs of the season.

Matz retired the next four Marlins (including three strikeouts) before allowing a double to Holaday and that was all for his day. He went 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks, with seven strikeouts to earn the win and even his record at 7-7.

Justin Wilson came out of the bullpen and he allowed a single to pinch-hitter Martin Prado before striking out Jon Berti to end the inning.

The Mets blew it open in the bottom of the seventh when Aaron Altherr, who entered for defense in the top half of the inning laced a double before McNeil hit a bomb to right center field for a two-run shot.

Two batters later, Conforto launched a home run to deep left field for a solo shot, his second of the day and 25th of the season, to make it 7-2.

Mets Manager Mickey Callaway said of Conforto taking that ball to the opposite field, "He's in a great spot, obviously he's been swinging the bat really, really well since the All-Star Break and that just reinforces it really. If he's going to take one down the line and then one to the opposite field, it's going to be tough to pitch to him. We're really glad he's in this spot."

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