|Jacob deGrom pitching in Game 2 Wednesday night. Photo by Jason Schott.|
The one word that can describe the 2022 Mets, which was proven once again on Wednesday, is resilience.
On Tuesday night, the Mets had one of their most dispiriting losses of the season on Tuesday night, 8-2 to the Pirates in Pittsburgh to open this three-game series, their third straight loss by six runs. They also saw their right fielder, Starling Marte, exit early after getting hit by a pitch in the hand. He was diagnosed on Wednesday with a partial non-displaced fracture on his right middle finger.
The Mets also saw the Atlanta Braves finally tie them in the National League race, as their 10-9 win in Oakland over the Athletics gave them an identical 85-51 record with the Mets, who had sole possession of first place since April 12.
On Wednesday morning, the Mets awoke to the tough news that one of their aces, Max Scherzer, despite what was initially thought after he left his start early on Saturday, will be placed on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to Sunday, September 4, with left oblique irritation.
"This is days, not weeks. This is not a significant injury," Scherzer said in his press conference on Wednesday morning. This is in contrast to when he missed six weeks earlier this season from May 18 to July 5 with a left oblique strain,
Going into Wednesday's doubleheader, the big positive the Mets had was that they had their two best performing pitchers of late - Chris Bassitt and Jacob deGrom - on the mound, and they restored order.
The Mets won the first game, 5-1, with Bassitt dominating, and the nightcap, 10-0, with seven shutout innings from deGrom and a breakout night from the offense.
The Amazin's improved to 87-51, and who now have sole possession of first place in the National League East, with a half-game lead on the Braves (86-51), who won 7-3 in Oakland.
Game 1: Mets 5, Pirates 1:
The Mets set the tone early in this one, as Brandon Nimmo opened it up with a single, followed by a double from Pete Alonso, who was in the two-hole usually occupied by Marte. After Francisco Lindor struck out Jeff McNeil followed with a sacrifice fly to bring in Nimmo to make it 1-0. Daniel Vogelbach, who was making his return to Pittsburgh ended the frame with a groundout to first base.
It stayed that way until the fourth when Vogelbach led off with a single, followed by a hit-by-pitch of Mark Canha.
Tyler Naquin, who was in right field for Marte in this one, blasted one to center field for a three-run home run, his 11th of the season.
Eduardo Escobar made it back-to-back, as he hit a solo shot to right-center field, his 15th of the year, to make it 5-0.
That was more than enough for Bassitt, who went seven innings, allowing just one run (earned) on five hits and a walk, with 10 strikeouts, to improve to 13-7 on the season, with a 3.24 ERA (earned run average). It is his sixth win in his last seven outings, with the other one a no-decision on August 26 against Colorado, a game the Mets later won.
Seth Lugo closed it out with two shutout innings, in which he scattered two hits and notched a strikeout.
Game 2: Mets 10, Pirates 0:
Jacob deGrom was utterly brilliant in this one, as he threw seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and a walk, while striking out eight, to improve to 5-1 on the season, with a stunning 1.66 ERA.
The Mets' offensive explosion began in the second inning. Mark Canha drew a one-out walk, followed by a two-out single for Eduardo Escobar and a walk by James McCann to load the bases.
Brandon Nimmo drew a bases-loaded walk, followed by Escobar coming on a wild pitch by Pirates starting pitcher Johan Oviedo. Pete Alonso walked to re-load the bases, and that was followed by a two-run double for Francisco Lindor to make it 4-0 Mets.
In the fourth, Lindor got an RBI double, followed by a two-run single for Jeff McNeil, which opened up a 7-0 lead.
In the seventh, Canha doubled and came in to score on a Naquin double. Escobar then singled home Naquin to make it 9-0 Mets. They made it an even 10-run night in the eighth when McNeil opened the frame with a double, and came in to score on a single by Vogelbach.
After an off day Thursday, the Mets open a three-game series with the Marlins in Miami Friday night.