Saturday, May 14, 2022

Mets Outlast Mariners, Win It On Mazieka Homer


George Kirby fires to Starling Marte in the first inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets beat the Mariners, 5-4, on a home run from Patrick Mazieka in his season debut, on a rainy Saturday night at Citi Field. 

The Mets are now 23-12, on top in the National League, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are 20-12 after dropping a pair to the Phillies, who are now at .500, at 17-17, 5 1/2 games behind the Mets in the National League East.

George Kirby, a Rye, New York, native, got the start for the Mariners, and he had quite the cheering section. Kirby made his Major League debut on May 8 against Tampa Bay, when he pitched six shutout innings, and he allowed four hits and no walks, with seven strikeouts on 81 pitches (55 strikes). 

Kirby became the first Mariner pitcher to throw 6.0+ scoreless innings in a Major League debut. His seventh strikeouts were tied for second-most by a Seattle pitcher in their debut, tied with Bryan Snyder (May 25, 1985) and Jim Converse (May 22, 1993). Enrique Romo has the team record with nine strikeouts in his debut on April 7, 1977. In a new stat, "game score," Kirby had the highest of any Mariner pitcher in their debut with 71.

Chris Bassitt got the start for the Mets, and he ran into some trouble in the first after retiring the first two Mariners. He hit J.P. Crawford with a pitch, then walked Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker to load the bases.

With Julio Rodriguez up, Bassitt fired a strike to second to nab a leaning Suarez for the third out. Suarez originally was ruled safe, but a Mets challenge overturned the call. Bassitt knew it immediately, as he gestured to the dugout to look at it.

In the bottom of the first, with one out, Starling Marte laced a hit up the gap in right field. He originially was ruled out at third base trying to stretch it into a triple, but the Mets challenged this one too, and were successful again.

Marte got his triple, and he came in on a single from Francisco Lindor that he punched through a drawn-in infield to make it 1-0 Mets. (yes, Seattle tried to choke off that run three hitters into the game).

Kirby then retired Pete Alonso - he of the Polar Bear bobblehead giveaway that fans received at this one - on a long fly ball to right field, and then got Jeff McNeil to pop out to third base.

Things settled fown in the second inning, as Bassitt struck out Seattle's hitters in order, and Kirby worked around an error to retire the Mets.

Bassitt worked around a pair of singles to Luis Torrens and Ty France in the third by getting Crawford to ground out to first and then he struck out Suarez to end the inning.

In the bottom of the third, Kirby was betrayed by his defense, as Nimmo hit one to Suarez at third base, and it kicked off his glove, allowing Nimmo to reach. Marte then hit a bomb to deep center field that Rodriguez got a glove on, but he couldn't handle it. Marte was credited with a double on that one, so the Mets had second third and nobody out on two hits that certainly could have been outs.

Lindor then hit one to deep right for a sacrifice fly, giving him his second RBI of the night, bringing home Nimmo. After an Alonso walk, McNeil launched one to deep right that Steven Souza, Jr., leaped to grab, so that was also a sacrifice fly to bring in Marte and make it 3-0.

Bassitt really settled into this one in the fourth, getting three ground balls to shortstop to retire Seattle in order. In the fifth, he walked around a walk to Torrens and a two-out single by France, retiring Crawford on a routine fly ball to center to get out of it.

By this point, Kirby's night was over, after he retired the Mets in order in the fourth to end it on a high note. 

Kirby went four innings, allowing three runs (just one earned) on three hits and a walk, with one strikeout (of Escobar in the fourth). He threw  89 pitches, 60 strikes, an excellent ratio.

Seattle turned to Penn Murfee (what a name, like out of a noir movie) for the fifth. Nimmo led off with a single, then Marte hit a fielder's choice when Souza, Jr., couldn't hold on to the fly ball he hit, so he threw Nimmo out at second base. Lindor then struck out, but Alonso then laced a double down the left field line to bring in Marte and open up a 4-0 lead for the Mets.

Bassitt ran into trouble in the sixth, as he hit Suarez with a pitch and allowed a single to Winker on a ball that took a nasty hop to get by Lindor at second. He struck out Rodriguez and Mike Ford, but the then allowed a single to Souza, Jr., that broke the shutout and cut the Mets' lead to 4-1.

Since that came on Bassitt's 108th pitch, that was the end of his night. He had another quality outing, as he went 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits and three walks, with eight strikeouts.

Seth Lugo came out of the bullpen for the Mets, and he walked Torrens to load the bases before getting Adam Frazier to fly out to right field to end the inning.

Lugo stayed on for the seventh, and he retired France to open the ining, but then gave up single to Crawford and Suarez before departing.

In came left-hander Chasen Shreve, and he gave up a blast to, who else, Winker, a three-run shot to tie the game at 4, which ignited the fury of the Citi Field crowd against their nemesis. 

Shreve them walked Rodriguez before striking out Dylan Moore, who pinch-hit for Ford, and then with Souza, Jr., batting, he picked off Rodriguez to end the tough inning with a spark.

With Andres Munoz in for Seattle, Mazeika launched a bomb to right field, just inside the foul pole, for a solo shot to give the Mets a 4-3 lead.

Adam Ottavino came on for the Mets in the eighth, and he worked around a Torrens single to retire the Mariners, and he was rewarded with he victory for his efforts. Normally, Shreve would have gotten the win since he was the pitcher of record when Mazeika homered, but since he gave up the tying homer, the official scorer elected to give it to the big right-hander, who is now 2-1 on the season.

Edwin Diaz came on to pitch the ninth, and as is becoming common, he struck out the side to earn his eighth save of the season.

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