Saturday, July 9, 2022

Mets Walk It Off Against Messy Marlins To Cap Keith Hernandez's Day


Pete Alonso was wearing the stirrups in honor of Keith Hernandez. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets beat the Marlins, 5-4, with a walk-off win in 10 innings on Saturday evening at Citi Field to cap off a day that began with Keith Hernandez having his number 17 retired. The Mets improved to 53-32, and maintain their 2 1/2 game edge over the Atlanta Braves (51-35), who were 4-3 winners over the Washington Nationals. The Mets head to Atlanta for the first time this season on Monday to start a three-game series.

Carlos Carrasco got the start for the Mets, and Miami tested him early. The Marlins opened the game with a golden opportunity to score, as Jon Berti led off with a double, Garrett Cooper walked, and Jesus Aguilar reached on a catcher's interference to give them the bases loaded and nobody out. Carrasco struck out Jesus Sanchez for the first out, and then Avisail Garcia hit into a double play to keep them off the scoreboard.

Miami starter Braxton Garrett, a left-hander, retired the first seven Mets before allowing a one-out walk to Luis Guillorme in the third inning. 

Mets first baseman Pete Alonso was wearing stirrups and grew a mustache in tribute to the man who used to patrol his position, Hernandez, and he got the Mets on the board in the fourth when he launched a shot to left for a solo home run to make it 1-0. 

This was Alonso's 23rd home run of the season, and his 70th RBI, which makes him just the second Met to have at least 70 RBI before the All-Star break, joining David Wright, who had 74 in 2006. Alonso still has eight games to get five RBI and pass the longtime Mets third baseman.

In the sixth, Miami rallied, as Aguilar singled with one out, followed by a walk to Sanchez, and Garcia singling to load the bases. Brian Anderson was up next, and he laced a double to left field, which scoted Aguilar to tie it at 1, and Sanchez tried coming in too, but a phenomenal relay from left fielder Canha to second baseman Luis Guillorme, who fired a bullet to the plate, nabbed him. Garcia took a wide slide away from the plate, and Mets catcher James McCann hurt himself on the play and had to exit the game with left side soreness.

That was all for Carrasco, and in came Seth Lugo, who threw a wild pitch, which ricocheted off the brick wall behind the plate, while facing Bryan De La Cruz to allow Garcia to come in and make it 2-1. Luog went on to strike out De La Cruz, but he heard the boos as he left the field.

That closed the book on Carrasco, who went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs (both earned) on seven hits and two walks, with five strikeouts.

It didn't take long for the Mets to respond, as Tomas Nido (in for McCann) singled to open the bottom of the sixth, and then with two outs, Francisco Lindor slammed one off the foul pole in left fopr a two-run homer to make it 3-2 Mets. It was the Mets' shortsop's 15th home run and 60th RBI of the season.

With Adam Ottavino on the mound for the Mets, after he relieved Lugo with two outs in the seventh, Aguilar launched a blast to left field to lead off the eighth inning and tie the game at 3.

After a scoreless ninth, a wild tenth inning was on tap. Colin Holderman was on for the Mets, and speedster Billy Hamilton pinch-ran as the "ghost runner" at second base. Berti was the leadoff hitter for Miami, and he hit one into the hole at shortstop, which Lindor got to, and he fired to third to nab Hamilton, but Eduardo Escobar ran in, expecting to react to a play and first, and could not get back in time, so the throw went all the way to the backstop, allowing Hamilton to score easily and make it 4-3 Miami.

Where Miami capitalized on a Mets mistake, they handed one right back, as Berti got caught leaning off second, and Nido threw down and picked him off for the first out of the inning. Holderman then got Joey Wendle (who pinch-hit for Garrett Cooper) to pop out and Aguilar to ground out to short to end the inning.

In the bottom of the tenth, Miami's Tanner Scott opened the inning by striking out Escobar and Guillorme. Then, with Canha the "ghost runner" still at second base, Nido lined one down the third base line, and it went under the glove of Anderson, and Canha raced home to tie the game at 4.

It is incredible that each team got a run on balls hit to essentially the same part of the field because Lindor and Anderson tried to do more than they should have, which was simply get to the ball and hold on to it. Lindor got as far as throwing it, whereas it was clear Anderson was thinking about fielding it and making the very long throw across the diamond instead of just knocking it down.

Brandon Nimmo was up next, and he hit one back to Scott, who let it go by him, but because it was a slow roller, grabbed it, but made a low throw to first that skipped by Aguilar, allowing Nido to race home and the Mets to win the game, 5-4.

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