Sunday, May 12, 2024

Sevy Sensational Again; Mets Walk It Off To Avoid Sweep


Luis Severino striking out Austin Riley in the third inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

Luis Severino has become possibly the most compelling starter in the Mets starting rotation in the early part of the season, as he is showing the form that made him an elite pitcher across town.

The veteran right-hander, in his first season with the Mets, entered Sunday night's game against the Atlanta Braves, with a record of 2-2 and a superb 2.93 earned run average (ERA).

Severino retired Ronald Acuna Jr. to open the game on a comebacker, and then got Ozzie Albies to pop out to second base. But, this being Atlanta, it wouldn't be that easy, as Austin Riley singled, Matt Olson was hit by a pitch, and Marcell Ozuna walked to load the bases. Severino responded by striking out Michael Harris II to get out of the frame.

Atlanta came right back in the second, as Jarred Kelenic, he of the Mets' 2018 trade with the Mariners for Robbie Cano and Edwin Diaz, crushed one to right field for a solo shot and a quick 1-0 lead.

The Mets responded in the third inning against Braves starter Bryce Elder, as D.J. Stewart, who was hitting in the leadoff spot in this one, got a one-out single, followed by a two-out knock from Francisco Lindor. That brought up Pete Alonso, who entered this one with a .215 batting average and looking for big moments, and he deposited one just inside the left field line to bring in Stewart and tie the game at 1.

Severino sailed through the third and fourth innings before allowing a one-out hit to Acuna Jr. in the fifth. Acuna Jr., who led the league in stolen bases last season, took his customary lead off first, and Severino fired over, and Alonso made the perfect tag to nab him and complete the pick off. Albies then hit a hot shot to Alonso that he took himself to the bag to finish the inning.

Severino came out for the sixth, but after walking Riley and allowing a single to Olson, he was lifted. Reed Garrett was first out of the bullpen, and Ozuna greeted him with an RBI single to make it 2-1 Atlanta. Garrett responded by striking out the next three Braves in order to end the inning.

That closed the book on Severino, and it went as follows: 5 innings (plus two batters), 4 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 3 walks, 4 strikeouts, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 94 pitches/55 strikes. His ERA went up a tick to 3.00 even.

Luis Severino firing one in to Chadwick Tromp...

who he struck out in the fifth inning. Photos by Jason Schott.

The Mets responded in the bottom half of the sixth, as Lindor opened it with a double. Then Alonso tore into one that looked like it was surely gone, but it went off the bullpen fence in right field for a double that easily brought Lindor in to tie it at 2.

Garrett stayed on for the seventh, and he allowed a one-out walk to Acuna Jr. Once again, he took a healthy lead at first base, and once again, the Mets took a chance to pick him off, but he was ruled safe. The replay showed that he went to the right of Alonso, who did, in fact get the tag down in front of the bag. The Mets challenged, and it was overturned, giving them two pick-offs of Acuna Jr. in one game.

Then, once again, for the third time on the night, Albies grounded one to Alonso for the final out of the frame.

Adam Ottavino entered for the Mets in the eighth inning, and he walked Zack Short to open the frame. Short then stole second base, and then came in to score on a one-out single from Marcell Ozuna that put Atlanta up 3-2.

The Braves still had that lead going to the bottom of the night, and they turned to A.J. Minter to close it out. Jeff McNeil, who was 0-for-3 to this point, opened the frame with a single. Then, after Tomas Nido bunted him over to second base, Brandon Nimmo, who entered the game as a pinch-runner for Stewart in the seventh, was up next.

Nimmo already made news on the night when he was doing a chat during the ESPN broadcast with his mother, and he would make it an even more memorable Mother's Day when he crushed one to center field. 

The two-run homer, his sixth of the season, gave the Mets the 4-3 win, as they avoided a sweep at the hands of their rivals. They are now 19-20 as they enter a two-city four-game series with the Phillies starting Monday night at Citi Field.

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