Mets pitching prospect Steven Matz, making his major league debut against the Reds on Sunday, allowed a solo home run to Brandon Phillips to lead off the ballgame. It was all uphill from there.
Matz wound up going 7 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on five hits and three walks with six strikeouts on 110 pitches. As impressive as that was, it was what he did at the plate that truly won hearts and minds. The rookie went 3-for-3 with a two-run double in the second inning and added a two-run single in the sixth. He is the first pitcher in major league history to drive in four runs in his debut, per ESPN Stats & Info.
The Mets scored seven runs overall, the first time they’d scored more than four in a game since June 14. In fact, they had been held to two or fewer runs in each of their last seven games coming into play Sunday (including the conclusion of Saturday’s game which was postponed and resumed prior to Matz’s debut). Only four Mets hitters have accrued four-plus RBI in a game this season: Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores, Daniel Murphy, and Curtis Granderson. Duda was the last to do it, on May 21. The Mets have seen only 24 three-hit games this season and just one between June 15 and Sunday: Curtis Granderson on June 25 against the Brewers.
Matz, 24, entered the season rated as baseball’s 33rd-best prospect overall by MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus. In 14 starts and one relief appearance with Triple-A Las Vegas — a notoriously pitcher-unfriendly environment — Matz posted a 2.19 ERA with a 94/31 K/BB ratio in 90 1/3 innings.
We’ve got a no-hitter alert from Citi Field in Queens.
Giants right-hander Chris Heston has allowed zero hits — and zero walks — through seven innings Tuesday night against the host Mets. He did plunk Ruben Tejada and Lucas Duda with pitches in the bottom of the fourth inning, which is what’s keeping this from being a perfect game watch. Updates to come as Heston tries to finish this thing off.
The 27-year-old former 12th-round pick entered his start Tuesday with an underwhelming 4.29 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 70 1/3 career major league frames.
EIGHTH INNING: Heston got groundouts from Wilmer Flores, Juan Lagares, and Eric Campbell in the bottom of the eighth. Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford made a nice play on Campbell’s, a hard shot to the left side of the infield that Crawford had to backhand. Heston is at 96 pitches with three outs to go.
NINTH INNING: Heston hit Anthony Recker with his very first pitch in the bottom of the ninth — Heston’s third HBP of the game. But he struck out pinch-hitter Danny Muno, leadoff man Curtis Granderson, and then Ruben Tejada — all looking — to finish off the no-hitter. It’s the fourth no-no in four years for the Giants.
With a fifth-inning strikeout of Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson, Pirates starter Francisco Liriano became the third Pirates starter to reach double-digit strikeouts in their weekend series. As the club’s Twitter pointed out, it’s the first time since September 1969 that three consecutive Pirates starters struck out 10-plus. The Pirates won 9-1 on Sunday to finish off a series sweep.
Here’s how the starters fared over the weekend:
- Gerrit Cole, Friday: 8.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 10 K
- A.J. Burnett, Saturday: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K
- Francisco Liriano, Sunday: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 12 K
- Total: 21.1 IP, 3 R (2 ER; 0.84 ERA), 3 BB, 32 K
With the sweep, the Pirates move to 21-22 and remain relevant in the NL Central. They’ll host the floundering Marlins for a three-game set starting Monday before heading out West on a road trip.
One might have thought things couldn’t gotten worse for the 13-23 Brewers, but they just did after letting the Mets score 10 runs in the bottom of the fourth during Saturday night’s game. Starter Matt Garza had limited the Mets to just one run — which came on an RBI single from opposing starter Jacob deGrom — over the first three innings.
Here’s how it went down:
- Michael Cuddyer leadoff single
- Daniel Murphy walk
- Eric Campbell 1-3 ground out, moving both runners up a base
- Kevin Plawecki RBI fielder’s choice, shortstop to catcher (no out recorded) [2-0]
- Jacob deGrom single to load the bases
- Wilmer Flores grand slam [6-0]
- Curtis Granderson infield single
- Juan Lagares single, moving Granderson to third base
- Lucas Duda walk
- Michael Cuddyer two-run double [8-0]
- (Garza relieved by Brandon Kintzler)
- Daniel Murphy two-run double [10-0]
- Eric Campbell RBI single [11-0]
- Kevin Plawecki strikeout
- Jacob deGrom single
- Wilmer Flores ground out
Garza finished having allowed 10 runs on 10 hits and three walks with two strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings. He entered with a 4.04 ERA and left at 5.72.
With three hits in his first three at-bats, deGrom becomes the first Mets pitcher to do so since Chris Young on April 5, 2011 (via Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News). The last pitcher to record two hits of his own in an inning was Adam Wainwright on April 13, 2013 against the Brewers (via Jesse Spector of the Sporting News).
It didn’t seem like the Mets were ever going to lose again, but they have at long last dropped a game. They fell 6-1 to the Yankees on Friday night, suffering their first defeat since April 11, ending a streak of 11 consecutive victories. They now sit with a 13-4 record, still best in the National League.
Mets starter Jacob deGrom wasn’t sharp, as he allowed three homers in his five innings of work. Two of those were hit by Mark Teixeira — both two-run shots in the first and third innings. Ellsbury hit the other, a solo shot also in the third.
Meanwhile, Yankees starter Michael Pineda was strong, limiting the Mets to one run in his 7 2/3 innings of work. The Mets plated their only run of the game in the sixth, when Lucas Duda brought home Curtis Granderson with a sacrifice fly.
The “Subway Series” continues over the weekend. Matt Harvey and CC Sabathia square off on Saturday afternoon, and Jon Niese faces Nathan Eovaldi on Sunday night.