Catching on quick: Mazeika’s HR lifts Mets over Mariners 5-4
NEW YORK (AP) — One day after arriving, Patrick Mazeika has already given the New York Mets an unexpected boost.
The light-hitting catcher launched a tiebreaking homer leading off the seventh inning in his first major league game this season, and the Mets beat the sloppy Seattle Mariners 5-4 on Saturday night.
“Felt great. Anytime you can contribute to a win, that’s all I’m trying to do,” Mazeika said. “This one’s pretty special right now.”
Starling Marte tripled, doubled, singled and scored three times for the Mets, who squandered a 4-0 lead when Jesse Winker tied it with a three-run homer off Chasen Shreve in the top of the seventh.
Mazeika, batting ninth, laced the first pitch from reliever Andrés Muñoz (1-1) inside the right-field foul pole for his second career home run. New York’s third-string catcher was called up from the minors Friday when top backstop James McCann went on the injured list with a broken bone in his left wrist.
“That’s why you get up in the morning, why you never know what the game’s got in store for you,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “That was a great moment for him, let alone the team. He ambushed a guy throwing 100 mph. We needed it.”
Adam Ottavino (2-1) pitched a scoreless eighth, retiring Ty France with a runner on third to end the inning.
Edwin Díaz struck out the 3-4-5 batters in the ninth against his former team for his eighth save in nine chances. He fanned Winker with a 100 mph fastball for the final out to the delight of 37,148 fans who waited out a rain delay at the start on a misty night.
“I was making sure my pitches were nasty to him,” Díaz said.
Winker was booed throughout and waved to the crowd after rounding the bases on his home run — part of a back-and-forth with Citi Field fans that dates back to his days with Cincinnati.
“I love them. They are an amazing group of people. They are very passionate about their team and their city,” Winker said. “It’s obviously taken on this whole thing.”
Chris Bassitt carried a shutout into the sixth and slumping Francisco Lindor drove in two runs for the Mets, who improved to 11-1 following a loss. The only time they dropped consecutive games this season was April 10-11.
The punchless Mariners have lost 13 of 17.
Following a 68-minute delay before the first pitch, New York benefited from two calls that were overturned via instant replay in the first inning.
After a hit batter and consecutive walks loaded the bases with two outs, Bassitt picked off Eugenio Suárez at second base. Suárez, shaken up after sliding headfirst into Jeff McNeil’s knee, initially was called safe before the Mets challenged.
In the bottom half, Marte was originally ruled out at third base on his triple. He scored when Lindor grounded a single through a drawn-in infield.
Suárez’s error at third base helped New York score two unearned runs in the third on sacrifice flies by Lindor and McNeil.
Right fielder Steven Souza Jr. dropped Marte’s routine fly in the fifth before throwing to second for a forceout on the play. But it still might have cost the Mariners, because it was the speedy Marte running all the way from first to score on Pete Alonso’s two-out double, rather than Brandon Nimmo.
Souza’s soft RBI single with two outs in the sixth cut it to 4-1 and chased Bassitt, who struck out eight.
Seth Lugo retired Adam Frazier with the bases loaded to end the inning, but gave up consecutive singles in the seventh before Shreve was summoned to face Winker.
Showalter mentioned before the game how excited he was that Shakira would be at Citi Field. The singer posed for photos outside the clubhouse with Showalter and several players.
Prized prospect George Kirby gave up three runs — one earned — and three hits over four innings in his second big league start for the Mariners. Kirby, who grew up a Yankees fan in suburban Rye about 22 miles north of Citi Field, had a loud section of supporters who stayed on their feet approximately 20 rows up from the Seattle dugout on the third base side.
“It was awesome,” Kirby said. “It looked like it was over 100 people that were cheering for me, which was pretty sweet.”
Kirby was drafted by the Mets out of high school in the 32nd round even though he was fully committed to college at Elon in North Carolina. He called it a “courtesy pick.”
“I was not going to pro ball,” he said. “They gave me a nice glass plaque. I have it still in my house. I was not interested in going anywhere at the time.”
Kirby said the only Mets game he ever attended was the finale at old Shea Stadium in 2008 and he came away with some “cool, like, replica stadium pieces.”
“Did not like the Mets very much,” he said.
The game was played with only three umpires on the field. About 30 minutes before the first pitch, the Mets were informed that crew chief Jerry Layne was unavailable. Hunter Wendelstedt slid over from second base to take Layne’s spot at first.
RHP Erik Swanson was placed on the 15-day injured list with elbow inflammation, leaving Seattle without one of its top arms in the bullpen. LHP Danny Young was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma.
Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray (3-3, 4.22 ERA) pitches Sunday afternoon when Seattle wraps up its first visit to Citi Field with the rubber match of the three-game series. RHP Carlos Carrasco (3-1, 3.19) starts for the Mets, who are 9-0-1 in series this season.
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