Friday, April 7, 2023

Mets Make Opener Worth The Wait, As Megill Leads Them Past Marlins


Francisco Lindor (left) being greeted by Brandon Nimmo after his two-run home run in the eighth inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets had their Opening Day at Citi Field pushed back a day, and they made it worth the wait, as they beat the Miami Marlins, 9-3, on Friday afternoon.

The Mets got a superb outing from starting pitcher Tylor Megill, and home runs from Starling Marte, Francisco Lindor, and Pete Alonso late to seal the win.

Megill got the start for the Mets, which was fitting since he started Opening Day last season as well.

The right-hander entered this one having won his season debut in Miami last Saturday, as he went five innings, and allowed two runs on six hits and two walks, with seven strikeouts, in a 6-2 Mets win.

On Friday afternoon, Megill was even better, as he threw six shutout innings, scattering three hits and two walks, and notching three strikeouts, to improve to 2-0 on the season.

Megill battled through the cold and, then in the fourth, he took a liner from Jean Segura off his foot, but would remain in the game. Segura got a single, but he got Jesus Sanchez to pop out to third base to end the frame. 

In the fifth, Megill allowed a leadoff walk to Nick Fortes, but then he got Jon Berti to hit in a double play, the first of five Marlins in a row he retired to finish his performance.

"I'm proud of him, that was a tough day to pitch, and he answered the bell," Mets Manager Buck Showalter said of Megill's outing. "He was key, a lot of counts in his favor, first time he was in the sixth inning; we tried to get him six in spring, but we had some issues. He took a pretty good ball there, long inning there, but he was solid, attacked the strike zone, not an easy day to pitch, windy, cold, tough to grip the baseball, another benefit to having big hands, I guess, he handled it well."

The Mets' offense got off to a slow start in this one, as they let Edward Cabrera mostly escape out of trouble despite allowing seven walks in 2 2/3 innings. 

Their biggest chance came in the third when Cabrera walked the bases loaded, and he recovered to strike out Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil looking. Mark Canha then drew a walk to force in a run, and make it 1-0 Mets, and that chased Cabrera from the game.

Huascar Brazoban was first out of the Miami bullpen, and he got Daniel Vogelbach to ground one into the hole at first base. Marlins 1B Garrett Cooper went to get it, but Brazoban did not over to the bag nearly in time, so Vogelbach beat it out for an infield hit, and that brought in another run to make it 2-0 Mets.

In the fourth, Alonso redeemed himself, as he got an RBI single off Brazoban to make it 3-0.

Then, in the sixth, the Mets offense started to break out, as Starling Marte crushed one to deep left off Matt Barnes to make it 4-0.

In the seventh, with Tanner Scott on for Miami, McNeil walked and Canha was hit by a pitch to open the inning. Tommy Pham drew a walk to load the bases. Eduardo Escobar was up next, and he ground into a force out, which brought in McNeil. Tomas Nido followed up with a sacrifice fly to bring in Canha and open up a 6-0 lead for the Mets. However, Canha scored a tick before Escobar was thrown out tagging up into second base to end the inning. If Canha did not make it in time, his run would not have counted.

The Marlins countered in the top of the eighth inning, when Dennis Santana allowed two-out walks to Luis Arraez and Jorge Soler, and Garrett Cooper followed with a three-run homer to right center field to make it 6-3 Mets.

In the bottom of the eighth, with Daniel Castano on for Miami, Brandon Nimmo led off with a walk, his fourth of the day, and after Marte struck out, Francisco Lindor blasted one to left for a two-run homer. Then, while the crowd was still buzzing, Alonso made it back-to-back bombs, as he blasted a solo shot to make it 9-3.

That was Alonso’s 150th career home run, and he became the second-fastest to ever reach the milestone. The Mets first baseman did it in 538 games, while Ryan Howard, who was Philadelphia’s first baseman when they won the World Series in 2008, did it in 495.

Pete Alonso heading back to the dugout after his homer. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets are now 4-4 on the season, and on Saturday afternoon, Mets fans can see one of their new faces, Kodai Senga, take the mound for the first time at Citi Field.

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