As the great Al Pacino once said in The Godfather 3: “Just when I thought I was out….they pull me back in.”
The same can be said for the surging New York Mets, who are all of a sudden winners of five straight, after their latest 4-3 win over the Marlins on Thursday evening.
Just when it looked like this team was dead in the water, following an ugly 2-11 stretch against arguably the two best teams in the league in the Dodgers and Giants, they’ve now come alive to beat up on the soft portion of their schedule.
With 15 straight games against the lowly Nationals and Marlins, the Mets have gone 5-1 so far, improving to 66-67 and 4.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East with 29 games left to play.
They've also been able to overcome the slew of distractions they’ve endured this week from the thumbs-down fiasco, to acting general manager Zack Scott getting busted for a DWI.
Alas, they’ve been able to block out the outside noise and dysfunction thus far.
Not only has the pitching staff done their part, but the Mets’ offense is finally coming up with the clutch hits they’ve been lacking over the past month and it’s leading to wins.
Tonight, it was Dom Smith who came through late with a go-ahead pinch-hit RBI single in the bottom of the seventh off Marlins starter Sandy Alcantara.
Smith stepped to the plate against a tiring Alcantara, a pitcher who he had been hitless against in nine career at-bats, and ripped a liner that bounced off Jesus Aguilar’s glove at first base and went into right field, to bring home Jeff McNeil and put the Mets back ahead 4-3.
After that, Trevor May worked a scoreless eighth inning, before Edwin Diaz shut the door for his 28th save of the season in a 1-2-3 ninth.
And despite blowing 3 consecutive saves in July, Diaz has now gone 9-for-9 with a 1.13 ERA ever since.
"We just try to play baseball, play as hard as we can," said Thursday night's hero, Dom Smith. "That's all we can do. Whether we win or lose, we just play our hearts out and that's why I love this group"
Carlos Carrasco tossed his second straight solid start for the Mets, going 5.1 innings, while allowing three runs (two-earned) to go along with five strikeouts.
While Carrasco’s first-inning woes continued tonight, as he surrendered a leadoff bomb to Miguel Rojas on the first pitch he threw, before giving up another run following an error, he settled in for the remainder of his outing.
The Mets fell behind 2-0 early, but Jonathan Villar led off the bottom of the first with his 17 homer of the season, jumping on the first pitch he saw. And then the Mets fought back to score two more runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 3-2 lead, as Francisco Lindor’s RBI double tied it, before he scored his team’s third run by inducing his second balk in the last 4 games.
Although Aaron Loup has been automatic this season, he entered for Carrasco in the top of the sixth and issued back-to-back walks, which saw the Marlins tie the game 3-3. Luckily, Loup bared down to keep things tied. And the rest is history as Smith’s RBI single made all the difference, along with lockdown performances from the bullpen in the final three innings.
Relief pitcher Jeurys Familia tossed a scoreless top of the seventh and picked up his ninth win of the season, which tied Marcus Stroman for the team lead.
Due to Wednesday’s postponement, the Mets swept the three games they played against the Marlins and now head to D.C. to take on the Nationals in a five game series over Labor Day weekend.