|Photo by Jason Schott.|
The Mets beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 7-1, on Thursday night at Citi Field on Roberto Clemente Day,a nice-bounce back after they were swept by the Chicago Cubs to open this homestand.
This was the Mets’ 90th win of the season, as they improved to 90-55. The Mets’ lead in the National League East is now one game over the idle Atlanta Braves (88-55).
Mets starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco was back to his old self in this one, as he went six innings, allowing just one run on four hits and two walks, with 11 strikeouts, to earn the win and improve to 15-6 on the season, with a 3.70 ERA (earned run average). This was the second time this season he had at least 10 strikeouts in a game.
|Carlos Carrasco walking off the mound as Luis Guillorme fires to first to nab Rodolfo Castro to end the fifth inning. Photo by Jason Schott.|
The Mets wasted no time getting their offense on track against Pirates starter JT Brubaker. In the first, Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso got two-out singles, which was followed by Daniel Vogelbach bringing them home with a double to deep right field to make it 2-0 Mets.
Pittsburgh got on the board in the second when Michael Chavis got an RBI, but the Mets got that back and more in the third.
Brandon Nimmo opened the frame with a walk, followed by a blast to right from Francisco Lindor for a two-run home run to make it 4-1 Mets. That was the 24th homer of the season for Lindor to set a new Mets shortstop HR record. He now has 93 RBI on the season, and he set that record for a shortstop in Mets history a while ago.
The Mets kept it up, as McNeil doubled, Alonso singled, and Vogelbach got an RBI single to make it 5-1.
In the fourth, with a left-gander, Eric Stout, on for Pittsburgh, the Mets sent Mark Vientos, who made his debut Sunday up to pinch-hit for Vogelbach, and he got his first Major League hit, a single that scored Nimmo, who walked to open the inning, so he got his first RBI up here as well, and the Mets were up 6-1.
Carrasco left after six innings, and they turned to Seth Lugo for the seventh. He retired the side, and the third out of the inning was his 500th career strikeout.
The Mets added one in the bottom of the eighth when Alonso was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to give him his 112th RBI of the season, and that made it 7-1 Mets.
Joely Rodriguez pitched the final two innings to close it out, and he didn’t allow a hit or walk, and notched two strikeouts.
|Roberto Clemente Award winner convened at the center of the diamond as the Pirates, with their number 21 jerseys, and Mets were lined up along the baselines. Photo by Jason Schott.|
Thursday was also Roberto Clemente Day, in which the Pirates Hall of Famer and humanitarian was honored across Major League Baseball, with each player wearing his number 21. Clemente was a 15-time All-Star, the 1966 National League Most Valuable Player, member of the Pirates’ 1960 and 1971 World Champions, and was the World Series MVP in ‘71. He died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Mets Manager Buck Showalter said of Clemente’s impact, “I think we miss not only a great player, but you look back through the history and some of the things he did and what he means to, I know talking to Joey (Cora, Mets third base coach) and talking to (Francisco) Lindor - I was going to DH (designated hitter) Lindor tonight, I had him DH until I reminded myself what tonight’s about and I thought he would want to be on the field, which he does. Throw out the baseball player, but then you go, I mean I had a Roberto Clemente bat in high school, not the same size he did, I can tell you that. I remember when the sporting goods store would get in a new shipment of bats, and my Dad and I would go over and hold up the grains, try to find the straight grains. My dad used to say, Roberto Clemente model, got to think of using it; I didn’t hit like him.
“When I think of him, I think of him catching a ball down the right field line, spinning and throwing . That’s the play I always think about. I think about his reckless abandon and his loud a runner he was. Could you imagine what it was like trying to tag him at second as he was coming in, and back when you could actually slide with your spikes and stay hooked with the bag because it wasn’t hard and plastic and slick. You look at some of those pictures of Lou Brock and Clemente sliding into second, the video, of how violently they slid into the bad and late. If you were going to tag them, you paid a price.
“Years ago, Harold (Reynolds) and I were doing the College World Series, probably the best event I’ve ever been to with TV, and Lou Brock was on the stage with us, and thought ‘that’s pretty cool,’ then he got to talking about stealing bases and stuff, and I was like, ‘oh my God.’ You guys ever hear Lou Brock talk about stealing? It was amazing, I just sit there and they said, ‘Buck, what do you think?’ I was like ‘what?’ just listening to him. I would have loved to do that with Clemente, so sad to think about how he passed. Great think baseball’s doing.”