For the second straight day, Mets’ relief pitchers tiptoed past the lions’ den without disturbing a single sleeping feline.
Early homers and stout bullpen work allowed the Mets to maintain their ultra-slim lead in the NL East. Curtis Granderson sent the first pitch of the game from Scott Kazmir into the right field stands and the Mets were motoring. Kevin Plawecki added a shot of his own in the second and the Mets got a third run in the next inning, while simultaneously almost dismantling their entire offense for the rest of the game. Granderson led off with a base hit to left, but was gunned down by Kike Hernandez while trying to make a double out of it. Asdrubal Cabrera was then hit by a pitch, David Wright walked and Yoenis Cespedes scored Cabrera with a single. After Lucas Duda walked, Juan Lagares skied one that Hernandez grabbed in shallow center. But Cespedes was caught napping too far away from second base and that scuttled a potential big inning. For his part, Kazmir settled down, able to salvage a decent outing when it looked like he would be headed to an early shower.
For the Mets, Steven Matz started and while not as dominant as his previous few starts, he was solid through six innings, a two-run homer by Trayce Thompson in the fourth being the only blemish on his record. Six innings, six hits a walk, five strikeouts and two earned runs. The bullpen, though, is where the New Yorkers really shined. Hansel Robles pitched a perfect seventh after the Mets had added an important run in the sixth on a two-out walk to Wilmer Flores, an uncharacteristic error by Howie Kendrick on a Plawecki grounder and a double down the third base line by Matz. Sunday’s hero, Antonio Bastardo started the eighth getting Kendrick to ground out. He then induced a short fly from the ever-dangerous Adrian Gonzalez that was misjudged and cuffed around by Lagares. He then walked Justin Turner. That was enough for manager Terry Collins. Jim Henderson came on and got the occasionally-dangerous Yasiel Puig on strikes and made Thompson pop out to Duda. For the third straight day, Jeurys Familia nailed down the ninth and the win, with the added bonus of making Chase Utley look utterly foolish in the process.
Jacob deGrom starts game two tomorrow. Let’s hope it’s not another Biblical epic from Hollywood.