An 8th inning rally against reliever Drew Smith propelled the Cubs to a 3–2 victory over the Mets on Sunday afternoon, which kept the Amazins’ from securing a 4-game sweep heading into the All-Star break.
The Mets opened their afternoon contest with terrific base running, after a pair of singles brought runners to the corners, and Starling Marte stole home when righty Adrian Sampson attempted to pick off Francisco Lindor at 1st base (Lindor would be successfully safe at 2nd base after a brief rundown).
What a move by Lindor and Marte scores from third! pic.twitter.com/ZgRhYYKDBe
— Shea Station (@shea_station) July 17, 2022
The Cubs scored their first run in the bottom of the 4th inning, when Mets third baseman Eduardo Escobar, who was a defensive hero of the previous day’s double header, bobbled a ground ball with runners on 1st and 2nd — costing them a potentially inning-ending double play and loading the bases.
Starting pitcher David Peterson walked Chicago’s next batter, Patrick Wisdom, to bring a runner home. He would strike out the next two hitters to strand the bases loaded for the Cubs in an impressive recovery under pressure.
Still, Peterson threw 20 more pitches in the inning after Escobar’s error, and would only last one more inning in the game before skipper Buck Showalter pulled the lefty after the 5th inning with 97 total pitches during the contest.
Despite the high pitch count, Peterson gave up just 3 hits and 3 walks to improve on his 3.48 season ERA, while striking out 8 Chicago hitters.
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Tommy Hunter would come in to pitch the 6th and 7th innings.
Meanwhile, the Mets retook the lead 2–1 in the top of the 5th inning, when the Mets found themselves with runners on 1st and 3rd bases again, and Pete Alonso hit a blooper to right field against a left-sided infield shift, which dropped between to incoming Cubs to bring Nimmo across the plate.
Both teams went relatively quiet on offense until the top of the 8th inning, when Lindor found himself on 2nd base for the Mets after an infield single and a fielder’s choice. Escobar, who took to the batter’s box with 2 outs, then hit a single to left field, and Lindor attempted to round 3rd and score — but Cubs rookie Nelson Velazquez gunned him down at the plate with an impressive rocket throw from the outfield.
The team’s 2–1 lead evaporated in the bottom of the 8th inning, when Drew Smith took the mound for the Mets and allowed the Cubs to score the 2–2 tying run after surrendering a pair of singles, before a sacrifice grounder from outfielder Ian Hap.
Two at-bats later, Smith gave up another single to center field, which allowed Willson Contreras to cross the plate and take a 3–2 lead for the Cubs. Showalter took Smith out after that in favor of bringing Seth Lugo to the mound with a runner on 2nd base and 2 outs, and he managed to get out of that inning without further damage.
The Mets bullpen had previously held opponents scoreless for 13.2 innings prior to Smith’s performance.
With the game on the line in the top of the 9th inning, the Mets had the bottom of their lineup slated to hit the batter’s box, and reliever David Robertson on the mound.
The team found life in the last inning, as Luis Guillorme hit a single to left field, but the Cubs were able to keep the team scoreless — as Mark Canha popped-out, and J. D. Davis grounded into a double play to end the game.
The win snapped a 9-game losing streak for Chicago.
The Mets now head into the All-Star break with the 4th-best record in the MLB at 58-35, and they maintain a 2.5 game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
The next game will come on Friday, when they take on the Padres in Queens.