MIAMI — Tylor Megill wanted to be ready when his next opportunity came.
The New York Mets sent the 27-year-old right-hander to the minors before the start of the season. But then Justin Verlander went on the injured list hours before the club’s opening-day win. That made way for Megill, who had been preparing to start for Triple-A Syracuse, to step in Saturday against the Marlins.
Megill struck out seven over five innings, and along with a go-ahead double by Pete Alonso, helped the Mets beat Miami 6-2.
Verlander’s injury, a low-grade teres major strain that the Mets believe is minor, sidelined the three-time AL Cy Young Award winner before his first appearance with the team. He signed an $86.7 million, two-year contract in December after winning the 2022 World Series with Houston.
Megill (1-0) was also the Mets’ opening-day starter last year while subbing for injured ace Jacob deGrom. He allowed six hits, two runs and two walks Saturday.
“A little erratic in the first two innings,” Megill said. “But I settled down in three, four, five. Pretty solid day.”
The game was tied 2-all when Jeff McNeil led off the fifth with a double against Andrew Nardi (0-1). On the play, third baseman Jean Segura and shortstop Joey Wendle collided in left field trying to secure the ball. Alonso’s ensuing double made it 3-2.
Alonso then scored on a single by Mark Canha to double New York’s lead.
Canha was 3 for 4, including a homer off reliever Braxton Garrett in the seventh that made it 5-2.
“He just works at it,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “This guy’s never satisfied. We have a lot of guys like that. That’s why it’s such a fun club to manage, because they’re chasing perfection.”
The Mets jumped ahead 1-0 in the second on a sacrifice fly by Omar Narvaez that scored Canha, who doubled leading off the inning.
Miami catcher Nick Fortes hit a two-run homer in the bottom half off Megill to make it 2-1. It was the 14th home run of Fortes’ career and Miami’s fourth homer in three games this series.
Narvaez, batting ninth, tied it 2-all with an RBI single in the fourth that drove in Canha, who drew the fifth walk from Marlins starter Edward Cabrera.
Cabrera walked six in all, a career high. The 24-year-old right-hander struck out two and allowed two hits.
Miami threatened in the eighth on Segura’s first hit with the Marlins and Fortes’ two-out single. But reliever Adam Ottavino struck out Wendle to end the inning. Miami was hitless with runners in scoring position.
Starling Marte, pinch-hitting in the ninth, drove in another run off Garrett with a ground-rule double.
With the Mets up 4-2 in the fifth, shortstop Francisco Lindor robbed Bryan De La Cruz when he grabbed a grounder and fired the ball across the infield to first to strand two Miami runners and end the inning.
“It seems like he’s taken his defensive game to another level,” Showalter said. “Moving his feet really well.”
Luis Arraez, the AL batting champion last season with Minnesota, had four hits and is 7 for 12 in three games with Miami.
The Final Four matchup between Florida Atlantic University and San Diego State was well underway by the end of Saturday’s game, and the Marlins allowed fans to watch it on a jumbo screen inside the ballpark. Students at FAU and Miami, which was set to face UConn in the second NCAA men’s semifinal, got into the Marlins game for free. FAU is located in Boca Raton, about 45 miles north of Miami, while the Hurricanes are about a 20-minute drive from the Marlins’ ballpark.
Miami LHP Trevor Rogers will start Sunday against RHP Kodai Senga, who signed a $75 million, five-year contract with the Mets in December after previously pitching for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan.