|Fans entering Citi Field were greeted by the Tom Seaver statue for the first time. Photo by Jason Schott, enhanced on Instagram @DailySchott.
After a stirring Opening Day on Friday for the Mets, they suffered a tough 3-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday afternoon.
Carlos Carrasco got the start for the Mets, and he was superb. He went five innings, and notched eight strikeouts, while allowing just three hits and two walks.
The right-hander, who's in his second season with the Mets and was making his second start in the early going, came out firing, as he struck out four of the first five Arizona hitters.
Carrasco ran into trouble in the fourth, as he allowed a leadoff single to Ketel Marte, followed by a double to David Peralta. Carrasco then got a couple of strikeouts, Christian Walker looking and Pavin Smith swinging. After an intentional walk to Seth Beer, Carson Kelly flew out to left.
In the fifth inning, with one on and one out, Jeff McNeil, in left field for the second straight day due to the Covid-positive tests from Brandon Nimmo and Mark Canha, made a spectacular play to hold off an Arizona threat.
Daulton Varsho hit one that kept sailing, and McNeil tracked it perfectly before he caught it in front of the fence, which he crashed into, held onto the ball, and received a big ovation. Carrasco then struck out Marte to end his afternoon.
Mets left-handed reliever Joely Rodriguez, whom they acquired from the Yankees two weeks ago, came on in the sixth and retired Arizona in order, while striking out two.
Rodriguez allowed a single to Seth Beer to open the seventh, and he was liften for Seth Lugo.
After Lugo struck out Carson Kelly looking, he then gave up a two-run home run to Sergio Alcantara into the bullpen in right field. Like the Varsho hit to deep left in the fifth that just kept carrying, Alcantara tore into it, looking like a line drive at first that just kept going.
Lugo settled down to retire Yonny Hernandez on a liner back to him, that he deflected to third baseman Eduardo Escobar, who then completed the out on the throw to first.
Varsho then kept the inning going with a walk, and came all the way around on a double down the right field line by Ketel Marte, which kicked off the fence and Starling Marte was slow to retrieve. Varsho was tracking it, and blew threw a stop sign from the third base coach, and made it in easily, as Marte made an errant throw up the first base line.
The Mets got a couple back in the bottom of the eighth when Marte launched a two-run bomb to left field off Ian Kennedy, who started his career with the Yankees, so the Mets cut it to 3-2 heading to the ninth.
Arizona had a chance at insurance runs in the ninth against new Mets reliever Adam Ottavino, another ex-Yankee, as they got a couple singles and an intentional walk to load the bases with two outs. Ottavino struck out Christian Walker to get our of the inning.
Mark Melancon, yes, another, ex-Yankee, came on to close for Arizona, and he retired the side, including strikeouts of Robinson Cano and Dom Smith.
The rubber game is tomorrow, Easter Sunday, afternoon at 1:40 p.m., first time a game has started on a Sunday at that time since approximately 1998.