Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Mets Offense Unleashed, Led By Pair Of Alvarez Homers, To Outlast ChiSox

Francisco Alvarez leaps to celebrate with Mark Canha (right) as he approaches the Mets dugout after his first-inning home run. Photo by Jason Schott.


The Mets scored early and often, and would need every single run they put up, as they beat the Chicago White Sox, 11-10, on Tuesday night at Citi Field.

Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez led the way with a pair of two-run home runs, which gave him 19 on the season, and four RBIs. 

The Mets wasted no time getting to Chicago ace Lucas Giolito, who entered this one with a 3.45 earned run average (ERA), and a not-indicative record of 6-5.

Brandon Nimmo opened the game off with a walk, and he would race around to score on a double by Tommy Pham down the left field line to make it 1-0 Mets.

Pham took third on a wild pitch, and after Francisco Lindor walked, he would come in to score on a Pete Alonso sacrifice fly.

Jeff McNeil struck out for the second out, but Alvarez then blasted one down the left field line into the second deck for a two-run homer. 

That was followed by an equally majestic blast to right field from Brett Baty, as they went back-to-back, and the Mets were up 5-0.

Brett Baty leaps after he crosses the plate on his first-inning home run, as he's greeted by Mark Canha. Photo by Jason Schott.

Chicago got one back in the top of the second, as Yasmani Grandal hit a solo homer to right off Mets starter Carlos Carrasco.

The Mets returned the favor, as Nimmo drew another walk and came in to score on a double from Lindor to make it 6-1 Mets.

Chicago threatened in the third, as Andrew Benintendi drew a one-out walk and came in to score on a double from Tim Anderson. Luis Robert, Jr. then singled, but Carrasco was able to strike out Andrew Vaughn and got Jake Burger hit a fly ball to left field that Pham hauled in at the fence.

Giolito worked around a walk to Alvarez with a pair of strikeouts in the third, but the Mets got right back at it in the fourth.

The inning began with D.J. Stewart, who was the designated hitter in this one, blasting a shot over the bullpens in right field, off the facade of the Citi Pavilion, for a solo home run, his first of the season. Pham then singled, stole second and came in to score on an RBI single by McNeil that made it 8-2. 

McNeil's RBI single came off Chicago reliever Bryan Shaw, who came on to face him after Giolito was lifted with two outs in the fourth. His final line was: 3 2/3 innings, 6 hits, 8 runs (all earned), 5 walks, 5 strikeouts.

Things got dicey in the fifth for Carrasco, as Benintendi and Anderson singled before Robert, Jr., bounced one back to him, but Vaughn then got an RBI groundout and Burger laced an RBI to pull Chicago within 8-4.

That was all for Carrasco, who despite being handed eight runs of support by the Mets offense, which has not happened often this season, came within one out of recording five innings for the win.

Grant Hartwig came on to strike out Grandal to end the fifth and he then retired Chicago in order in the sixth.

Shaw was still on for Chicago in the bottom of the sixth, and he walked Pham to open the frame before getting the next two outs.

The White Sox lifted him for the left-hander Tanner Banks to face McNeil, and he greeted him with an RBI single, and then Alvarez blasted one to left-center field, another no-doubter, and the Mets opened up an 11-4 lead.

But, like all things with the Mets this season, this cathartic night for their offense, a night it looked like they would roll to a win, would hit a speed bump.

With Hartwig still on for the Mets top open the seventh, he walked Benintendi and allowed a single to Anderson before he struck out Robert Jr., and was pulled from the game.

In came Trevor Gott, and Vaughn reached on a fielder's choice before Burger laced a two-run double, Grandal got a two-run single, and Zach Remillard got a single, and Carlos Perez walked to load the bases with still just one out. Grandal then came in to score on a passed ball to make it an 11-9 game, but Gott was able to strike out Seby Zavala and got Benintendi to fly out to left.

Adam Ottavino came on to pitch the eighth, and he got a trio of groundouts, as he worked around a two-out single from Vaughn.

The Mets turned to their closer David Robertson - who got the win in Sunday's win over Los Angeles when he pitched the ninth and 10th innings in their 2-1 win - in the ninth, and he walked Grandal to open it and then allowed a two-out walk to Elvis Andrus before Benintendi got an RBI single to make it 11-10.

Benintendi then stole second, so the White Sox had the go-ahead runs in scoring position, but Anderson flew out to center to end this game that got way too close for comfort.

It was Robertson's 13th save of the season, while Hartwig earned the win to improve to 2-1 on the season, while Giolito fell to 6-6, and his ERA jumped basically half-a-run to 3.96.

The Mets improved to 44-50, and they remained eight games out of the final Wild Card spot behind Philadelphia (52-42), who beat Milwaukee, 4-3.

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