Martinez hits a 3-run homer as the Mets rough up Imanaga while routing the Cubs 11-1

JD Martinez Mets Cubs
New York Mets designated hitter J.D. Martinez looks towards the sky as he crosses home plate after hitting a three-run home run in the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

CHICAGO (AP) — J.D. Martinez, Francisco Alvarez and Brandon Nimmo homered against Shota Imanaga, and the New York Mets pounded the Chicago Cubs 11-1 on Friday.

Francisco Lindor had three hits and scored twice as New York won for the eighth time in nine games. Jose Iglesias went 4 for 5 with three RBIs.

“This is the kind of potential this lineup has,” Martinez said.

The Mets also improved to 12-3 in their last 15 games. They are averaging 6.6 runs and 10.3 hits during the stretch.

“The guys are doing a pretty good job turning the page and preparing for the next game,” Iglesias said.

New York became the first team to get a second look at Imanaga (7-2) during his impressive transition to the major leagues, and it tagged the Japanese left-hander for 10 runs and 11 hits in three-plus innings. Imanaga pitched seven innings of three-hit ball in a 1-0 victory at New York on May 1.

This time, the Mets scored three times before Imanaga recorded his first out. Lindor hit a leadoff double and Nimmo walked before Martinez hit a 412-foot drive to center for his ninth homer.

“Sometimes, when I am 100 percent, that’s not enough,” Imanaga said through an interpreter. “So I need to figure out unique ways to be better.”

Martinez said he didn’t feel like Imanaga’s fastball had the same life it had during his start in New York. That also caught the attention of Cubs manager Craig Counsell.

“In the bigger picture, obviously we’re continuing to take a look at that,” Counsell said.

Alvarez led off the second with his second homer. With two out and Iglesias on first, Nimmo made it 6-1 when he hit an opposite-field shot for his 10th on the season.

Imanaga folded his arms across his chest after Nimmo’s homer reached the bleachers in left.

“We took his heater away,” Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said. “We were ready for the fastball, and when we got pitches in the zone, especially with the fastballs, we were ready to go.”

New York added four more in the fourth. Martinez chased Imanaga with an RBI single, and Iglesias capped the outburst with a two-run single off Hayden Wesneski.

Imanaga’s ERA ballooned from 1.89 to 2.96 after his shortest outing with Chicago so far. He surrendered two earned runs or fewer in 12 of his first 13 major league starts.

“I felt their lineup, when I faced them today, they are different,” Imanaga said, “and then how I felt against them the previous time and today was a little different. So I definitely felt like they made an adjustment.”

New York lefty Jose Quintana (3-5) pitched four-hit ball for 6 1/3 innings in his second straight win. He allowed one unearned run, struck out eight and walked one against one of his former teams.

The Cubs dropped to 3-4 on a nine-game homestand. Cody Bellinger had two of Chicago’s six hits.

For more on the Mets, visit AMNY.com