When the Mets needed a run in the bottom of the 10th inning on Saturday, they turned to J.D. Davis, who was forced to play first base.
First baseman Eduardo Escobar caught Christopher Morel’s grounder and sent it flying to first base as the winning run approached. The third out was made by Davis, who has only played infrequently at first base all season.
On Pete Alonso’s sacrifice fly, the New York Mets scored the winning run in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Of his scoop: “It was a fairly important play right there,” Davis said.
Just one of those great plays by [Escobar]—putting a glove on it and going up and kind of giving me an in-between long hop—it was just one of those things.” Although we didn’t score many runs, the defense was outstanding and the pitchers did their jobs well.
— New York Post (@nypost) July 19, 2022
As a result of Dominic Smith’s leg injury, while retreating to second base, Davis was called upon to play first base. Having Alonso play first base in this game would have resulted in the Mets losing a key outfielder.
As a result of five shutout innings from Seth Lugo, Drew Smith, Adam Ottavino, and Edwin Diaz, the Mets have now won three straight games and are now 23 games over.500 on the season. A split of the doubleheader gave the Mets their 20th consecutive twin bill win as they avoided being swept for the first time in franchise history.
As manager Buck Showalter put it: “Good teams win those kinds of games, and on the road and with a lot of variables working against you, it’s difficult.” At first glance, “It appears that today is going to be a pitcher-friendly outing, and we were not certain how many runs will come across the plate.”
Francisco Lindor’s leadoff single in the 11th inning moved automatic runner Luis Guillorme up to third before Pete Alonso’s sacrifice fly to right re-established the tie. In the nightcap, Alonso finished with two RBIs, breaking the club record for most RBIs before the All-Star break with 76 total. When Alonso entered the game, he and David Wright shared the record.
On four hits and two walks, Taijuan Walker gave the Mets hope by allowing just one run over six innings. He pitched seven scoreless innings against the Marlins on Sunday to decrease his ERA to 2.55 in his second straight solid start. Despite a strong first half, Walker was not selected for the NL All-Star team.
According to Walker, he “felt like I started off the year slow” in the first part of the year. Some of the things I was working on included working a slider, tipping pitches a little bit, and so on. “I was able to get into a solid rhythm and put everything together.”
A month after being placed on the disabled list, Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman made his second start and went 4 1/3 innings, giving up one run on one hit with two walks and six strikeouts. Last summer, Stroman signed a three-year, $71 million contract with the Cubs after leaving the Mets as a free agent. Stroman has an 11-start ERA of 4.69 for the Cubs.
Walker, Stroman’s close buddy (the two had spent time together earlier in the week at Stroman’s house), was asked who won the struggle between the guys. Walker said:
First, we won the game, and second, I went longer than him so it was a fantastic victory for me,” Walker remarked. The Mets’ lone run against Stroman came courtesy of an Alonso RBI doubles in the fourth inning. Alonso followed Lindor’s walk with a double to left.
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