NEW YORK (AP)The Mets eked out a victory after another tough night for the bullpen – just not in time to salvage a win for ace Jacob deGrom.
Wilson Ramos singled home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning after Mets closer Edwin Diaz and the bullpen blew another one of deGrom’s leads, and New York beat the Miami Marlins 5-4 on Wednesday.
The teams played despite three postponements around Major League Baseball on Wednesday as players boycotted games to protest racial injustice following the shooting by police of a Black man Sunday in Wisconsin.
DeGrom, the two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, set New York up nicely by matching a career high with 14 strikeouts and handing off a 4-1 lead to begin the eighth inning, but Miami promptly loaded the bases with one out against Justin Wilson.
Diaz came on and struck out pinch-hitter Jesus Sanchez on three pitches, then allowed an RBI single to Jesus Aguilar – a rocket that bounced off third baseman J.D. Davis’ glove – and a bases-loaded walk to Corey Dickerson. He worked the count to 2-1 against Brian Anderson before manager Luis Rojas and a trainer came to the mound and removed the right-hander.
Rojas said that Diaz had cramping in his left leg, and he didn’t want the hard-throwing reliever taking any chances with his health.
”He wanted to stay in there,” Rojas said, adding ”it’s nothing of major concern right now.”
Brad Brach relieved and threw two balls to walk home the tying run before Lewin Diaz flew out to end the inning.
Robinson Cano led off the bottom of the inning with his third hit, and pinch-runner Billy Hamilton scored from second when Ramos hit a two-out single off Nick Vincent (1-2).
Brach issued a one-out walk to Jonathan Villar in the ninth, but Villar was called out on replay review trying to steal second after video showed he slid into second baseman Jeff McNeil’s foot but didn’t touch the base.
”He’s blocked the base right there,” Villar said. ”They’re not supposed to stay like that and block the base. When he blocked the base right there, my hand might have been broken or something.
”Next time, I’m not sliding with my face down. Next time, I will slide in with my spikes.”
Brach got Miguel Rojas to fly out to earn the win and move to 1-0.
Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo homered for the Mets. Conforto had two hits, two walks and a stolen base, and Cano hit a first-inning, RBI double a night after New York was shutout in both ends of a doubleheader by Miami.
Players were later than usual coming back onto the field after batting practice, raising eyebrows as it became clear that players elsewhere wouldn’t play in response to the shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, of Jacob Blake, a Black man, apparently in the back while three of his children looked on.
The teams eventually filed onto the field, and the game started as scheduled – if not quite as normal.
Mets slugger Dominic Smith, who is Black, took a knee for the national anthem for the first time this season, and New York pitcher Robert Gsellman, who is white, wore a Black Lives Matter t-shirt instead of his uniform in the stands behind the home dugout.
”I’ve been very emotional,” Smith said through tears. ”Just to kind of see this continuously happen, I mean, it was a long day for me. Kind of wasn’t there mentally, but we’ll be all right.”
Rojas said there was no serious consideration in New York’s clubhouse about postponing the game.
”We did find out right before game time some of the events that were developing in sports,” Rojas said. ”It was to a point where it was too close. Every one was in their pregame mode, and we didn’t have time to discuss it.”
After years of wasting deGrom’s dominance with notoriously lousy run support and shoddy bullpen work, the Mets had won eight of their ace’s past nine starts. That included a similar outing last week against Miami, when deGrom pitched six scoreless innings but got a no-decision in a 5-3 victory.
DeGrom set a career high with his 10th consecutive start allowing two or fewer runs – only Johan Santana (13), Dwight Gooden (13), Tom Seaver (13) and Jerry Koosman (10) have had such streaks in Mets history.
”He’s been at the top of his game as far as stuff,” Rojas said.
Miami got its only run against deGrom in the fourth, when Matt Joyce doubled leading off and scored on Dickerson’s groundout.
Marlins starter Elieser Hernandez allowed four runs – three earned – in four innings. He struck out seven and gave up seven hits and a walk.
Marlins: OF Magneuris Sierra was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain retroactive to Monday. … LHP Brandon Liebrandt was called up from the alternate site and LHP Josh D. Smith was sent down. The Marlins have made 100 roster moves since the season began July 24.
Mets: C Patrick Mazeika was optioned to the alternate site.
Marlins RHP Sixto Sanchez makes his second major league start in the series finale. The 22 year old won his major league debut against Washington on Saturday, allowing three runs in five innings. The Mets were waiting to decide on a starter, with RHP Michael Wacha among the options named by Rojas.
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