QUEENS — Starling Marte’s two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning erased a one-run deficit created by the bullpen in the previous half-inning and lifted the New York Mets to their fourth consecutive win, 5-4, over the Cleveland Guardians in the first game of their doubleheader on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field.
The victory allowed the Mets (24-23) to move above the .500 mark for the first time since May 5 when they were 17-16.
Marte’s second home run of the season and his first since April 7 bailed out Adam Ottavino and David Robertson, who combined to blow a 3-0 Mets lead in the eighth. Ottavino was responsible for three of those runs after allowing a pair of doubles to Tyler Freeman and Steven Kwan which sandwiched an RBI groundout by Myles Straw.
After an Amed Rosario single brought Cleveland to within one, Ottavino was pulled with two outs in the inning for David Robertson, who proceeded to give up a two-run home run to Jose Ramirez to make it a 4-3 game.
It erased Max Scherzer’s finest outing since Opening Day in Miami on March 30 as he threw six innings of shutout ball. The 38-year-old righty, who continues to work his way back up to full strength after being sidelined by a 10-game suspension and neck spasms, allowed just three hits with five strikeouts on 86 pitches to help secure a second-consecutive series victory after the Mets took a surprising two-of-three from the MLB-best Tampa Bay Rays.
Following a Daniel Vogelbach walk and Gary Sanchez’s first-ever hit as a Met in the fourth in his team debut, Eduardo Escobar put the hosts on the board with a two-out single to right, scoring Vogelbach from second. Sanchez, however, tried to score himself and was thrown out at the plate by a considerable margin to end the inning.
It was the first time in 14 games that the Mets scored the opening run of a game.
The Mets added on a second in the sixth inning when, after loading the bases with one out, Sanchez’s sacrifice fly to center scored Pete Alonso, who led the frame off with a single.
However, it was the second occasion of the afternoon in which the Mets failed to put up a crooked number when they had the bases loaded. Brandon Nimmo grounded out with two outs and the bags full in the second inning to leave a big chance on the table.
Brandon Nimmo put the Mets up three in the seventh inning after Raley retired the Guardians in order on nine pitches. Against reliever Eli Morgan, the New York lead-off man led the frame off by taking the first pitch he saw 442 feet just in front of the Shea Bridge out in right-center field for his fourth round-tripper of the season.
For more on the Mets, visit AMNY.com