Jerar Encarnacion’s debut slam stuns Mets in Marlins matinee win

Mets Marlins Jerar Encarnacion
Miami Marlins’ Jerar Encarnácion (64) reacts while rounding the bases after hitting a grand slam against New York Mets relief pitcher Seth Lugo during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Sunday, June 19, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh)

Father’s Day began with a pitching duel worthy of a generation gone by, but it ended with fireworks from a youngster as Jerar Encarnacion launched a grand slam in his MLB debut off Seth Lugo to lift the Miami Marlins past the New York Mets, 6-2 on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field.

The unlikely round-tripper, which just cleared the right-field fence, ruined Mets starter Chris Bassitt’s stat line after what looked like another gem for the righty. 

After throwing an eight-inning, three-hit gem against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday, he went six more scoreless innings with a career-high nine strikeouts. But manager Buck Showalter left him in a little too long, loading the bases in the seventh at 109 pitches before calling on Lugo to face the rookie debutant.  

The breakdown came a half-inning after the Mets took a surprising lead off Sandy Alcantara, who entered the matinee with a 2.82 career ERA against the Mets over 67 career innings. 

After cruising through five innings, a two-out triple to Starling Marte and a single to Francisco Lindor put the hosts ahead momentarily. 

It was the only real blemish of the Marlins ace’s day, as he went eight innings, allowing just two runs with eight strikeouts. Yet his season ERA still ticked up to 1.72 this season.

Despite trading zeroes for most of the afternoon, Bassitt’s day was far more laborious than Alcantara’s, as he threw 97 pitches during his six innings of work — his career-high ninth strikeout coming on a strike-’em-out, throw-’em-out double play as Tomas Nido nabbed Jazz Chisholm Jr. at second for the first two outs of the frame.

The Mets had given up 15 consecutive steals until that point. 

Meanwhile, Alcantara threw just 62 pitches in his first five innings of work while allowing just two hits. 

The first came when Pete Alonso led off the second inning with a double before Jeff McNeil walked, but Eduardo Escobar flew out before Luis Guillorme and Nick Plummer struck out. 

Nido led the third off with a single but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.

It was the last hit Alcantara allowed until the sixth inning, retiring 10 straight batters, when Marte ripped a two-out triple in the left-center-field gap with two outs.

Up stepped Lindor, who continued his big series against Miami when he lined a 1-0 pitch to right-center for a single to give the Mets the lead and the star shortstop his 52nd RBI of the season. 

Lugo didn’t stop the bleeding after Encarnacion’s grand slam in the seventh as Jon Berti doubled home Chisholm to make it a 5-1 Marlins lead. 

The Mets pulled one back in the bottom of the seventh when Luis Guillorme drove home McNeil, who led the inning off with a double, but the Marlis canceled it out with one in the ninth when Chisholm doubled home Encarnacion.

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