|Mets pitcher Chris Bassitt striking out Ben Gamel in the second inning. Photo by Jason Schott.|
The Mets beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-1, on Saturday night at Citi Field, as Chris Bassitt had a great start and David Peterson followed with a solid outing in relief, as both recovered from tough outings against the Chicago Cubs earlier in the week.
The Mets have now taken the first three games of this four-game set, and they will send their ace, Jacob deGrom, to the mound on Sunday afternoon looking to complete the sweep.
The Mets are now 92-55, and they maintained their one-game edge in the National League East race over the Atlanta Braves (90-55), who beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-3.
Bassitt threw six shutout innings, as he scattered three hits and struck out eight, to earn his 14th win of the year, and improve to 14-8 with a superb 3.32 ERA.
"We call them 'ride back guys,' you know, you've seen those Westerns where they're running away from somebody, and one of them gets shot off the horse, and everybody keeps going, one guy always rides back and helps the guy out, the ride back guy, always liked that" Mets Manager Buck Showalter said. "Bass is one of those ride back guys, he's a guy that's been there for us. When we need him, he's there.
"He wanted to go back out for the last inning (meaning the seventh), and I tell ya, two days ago we weren't sure he was going to make his start. He'd been real sick, was up all night, we actually sent him home a couple days ago. We had Plan B ready to go for today, and we were kind of going inning by inning with him from the third or fourth inning on, and he said he felt great, said maybe we should follow that same protocol. He wanted to go back out for the seventh, I thought we were pushing the envelope with what he had been through, you know, personally for the last couple of days."
One thing that gave Bassitt a boost was that the Mets gave him an early lead in the second inning against Pirates starter Bryse Wilson. Pete Alonso led off the frame with a blooper past first base, and as it trickled down the right field line, he ran all the way to second for a double on it.
Then, after Tyler Naquin and Mark Canha grounded out, Daniel Vogelbach drew a walk to keep the inning alive.
That brought the red-hot Eduardo Escobar to the plate, and he launched a blast to right-center field for a three-run home run, his 18th of the season, and that gave the Mets a 3-0 lead.
|Eduardo Escobar embracing Pete Alonso after his home run after celebrating with Daniel Vogelbach (32). Photo by Jason Schott.|
In the sixth, Naquin led off with a single, and then Canha flew out, which wound up being the last batter Wilson would face.
In came Eric Stout, and he walked Mark Vientos (who pinch-hit for Vogelbach since Stout is a lefty) and Escobar. After James McCann struck out, after which he heard a few boos, Brandon Nimmo drew a walk to force in a run and make it 4-0.
Peterson, who could not get out of the first inning in his last start against the Cubs on Wednesday, came on for the seventh, and he retired the Pirates in order, including a strikeout of Michael Chavis, on just nine pitches.
|David Peterson striking out Michael Chavis in the seventh inning. Photo by Jason Schott.|
In the eighth, Peterson got Tyler Heineman to fly out to center field before striking out Oneil Cruz looking and Brian Reynolds swinging.
The Mets tacked on a run in the eighth to make it 5-0 when Alonso drew a bases-loaded walk.
Peterson came back out for the ninth, and Rodolfo Castro blasted one into the Pirates bullpen to get them on the board, and make it 5-1.
After Peterson struck out Ben Gamel, Adam Ottavino came on, and he worked around a Ke'Bryan Hayes walk to notch the final two outs.
Showalter said what he thought of Peterson's outing, "Good, good, I loved the way he was in attack mode. He got ambushed there in the last inning, we had a long inning there (bottom of the eighth), and you know, he kind of, much like starting - I tell ya, from a competitive standpoint, I'm sure he wanted to get back out there after his last appearance, we all know how much better he is than that. You could tell he had a little, uh, he had a good look in his eye about really wanting to get out there and compete and turn the page on the last outing."
Peterson's final line was: 2 1/3 innings pitched, 1 hit, one run (earned), 0 walks, 4 strikeouts.
On sending Peterson back for the ninth, Buck said, "Otto had three days off, and that is kind of the spot where we always try to get him back in there. We've gotten a good return for that, so Otto's going to pitch there regardless, and I was thinking, you know, if we had expanded that lead a little bit, I might have looked at it differently, but I really didn't want Otto to throw a bunch of pitches so he could be available tomorrow, but I did need to get him in the game. We were going to stay away from Edwin (Diaz) tonight, so I needed a different perspective in the last three innings."
The Mets had four hit-batsmen in the game, two of which were suffered by McNeil. Showalter said of what has been an issue all year for the Mets, "I am (worried). I can go back through every one of the hundred-plus and I'd be hard-pressed to find one that I thought was intentional, and I got a pretty good eye for that, we all do, it's not just me. That's what's frustrating, so I always say, okay, what's causing it, what's drives it. We have a lot of guys that wrought that, Nim (Nimmo), Canha, you know, we had eight walks, four hit-by-pitch tonight, it's not a record you want to break because it, no pun intended, would break. Looks like we're going to have the potential to get Starling (Marte) back, but every time it happens, you know, this isn't hitting some, sometimes it hits a pad, but it's hitting a body part. I've got my own personal feelings why it happens so much, but that's for another day."
Marte suffered a broken finger against the Pirates on September 6, and has been out since.