The Mets had their aces – Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander – pitching in the doubleheader and both came thru with top-notch efforts, leading the Mets to a sweep of the day/might twinbill Sunday versus the Guardians. The victories give the Mets a five-game winning streak.
Verlander bounced back nicely after a tough outing last time out. He gave up a solo homer in the first inning and nothing after that. He became the first Met pitcher this year to go eight innings, allowing just the one run on three hits. His pitch count was at 98 and there had to be at least a little thought to him putting up a complete game, given how much the Mets’ two main relievers have bee used recently. But with Cleveland having a bunch of LHB and Jose Ramirez displaying a severe split, doing much better against righties, Buck Showalter brought back Brooks Raley despite Raley also pitching in the first game.
Raley made a nice play on a bunt to start the ninth inning before hitting the second batter he faced. But he got a double play ball from Ramirez to end the game and pick up his first save of the season.
The Mets had trouble against Shane Bieber, who matched Verlander with eight innings pitched. They had a few more baserunners than the Guardians but were unable to crack the scoreboard until Francisco Lindor led off the bottom of the sixth with a home run to tie the game.
The Mets pushed across the game-winning run in the eighth inning. Francisco Alvarez led off with an opposite field single and Showalter used Starling Marte to pinch run. One out later, Marte ran and Lindor hit a check-swing thru the hole vacated by the shortstop to cover the bag on the steal attempt, giving the Mets runners on the corners.
Jeff McNeil put the Mets in the lead with a sac fly.
In the opener, Scherzer didn’t have his best fastball but consistently threw his curve ball for strikes and did a great job of keeping Cleveland off balance. He had a reasonable pitch count thru six shutout innings but when they came back from commercial, Gary Cohen alerted us that Scherzer, Showalter and Jeremy Hefner went down the tunnel after Scherzer came off the mound. He did not come back for the seventh inning. After the game it was announced that Scherzer split open a callus on his pitching hand, something he pitched with in the game as long as he could.
The Mets put home single runs in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings, with the last one coming on a tremendous blast by Brandon Nimmo, one that almost reached the Shea Bridge and was listed at 442 feet.
Raley relieved Scherzer in the seventh inning and looked great, retiring the side in order on just nine pitches. Given the state of the Mets’ pen, it seemed a no-brainer that Raley was coming back for the eighth. But Showalter opted for Adam Ottavino, who didn’t have it. Showalter was forced to call upon David Robertson, who was pitching for the fourth time in five days. And he was asking for a four-out save, too.
Robertson surrendered a two-run homer to Ramirez, which put the Guardians up, 4-3.
But the Mets battled back in their half of the eighth inning. Brett Baty led off with a walk, bringing Marte up to the plate. It had been a rare good game for Marte already, as he had two hits and a stolen base. But he capped the breakout game with a two-run homer to right center, putting the Mets back on top, 5-4.
No matter what style of baseball you enjoy, the Mets flashed that in the doubleheader. There was aggressive baserunning in the first game, great starting pitching in both games, excellent relief pitching by Raley and three homers over the two contests. Add it all up and the Mets swept both the twinbill and the series. They now have a 25-23 record overall and an 8-4 mark against the AL.