Something had to give.
Three different Mets homered Saturday to help put an end to Miami’s six-game winning streak and tie the series at one. It’s Miami’s second loss, and first since the COVID hiatus in Philadelphia.
It was actually the Fish that drew first blood on offense. Brian Anderson continued his encouraging start with an RBI single, part of a three-hit first inning of which brought home Jesús Aguilar and made it 1-0 in favor of Miami. The base-knock was one of two on the night for BA and brings his average to an even .300.
For the ninth consecutive game, Don Mattingly filled out a different starting pitcher on the lineup card. Miami is the first team to go through that sequence since the Phillies in 1992, and stand alone as the only team in MLB history to do it to open a season.
A New York lineup that was relatively quiet when it mattered most in Miami’s 4-3 win Friday finally woke up Saturday and quickly responded to the Marlins run in the first. Michael Conforto belted a two-run home run to give the Mets a 2-1 advantage. An inning later, Pete Alonso did the same, ripping a homer to extend the New York lead to three.
“I felt ready to go, prepared, and like I could have pitched better tonight,” Castano said postgame. “Just wasn’t as sharp as I would’ve liked to be. Those guys have some great hitters, but I’m still confident I can pitch here and I can do well.”
Those two pitches were the only two mistakes Castano made on the evening, and Miami was still very much in the game during the middle innings.
Logan Forsythe hit his first homer in a Marlins uniform in the fifth, giving Miami life and making it a 4-2 game. The Mets got that run back in the home half of the fifth, but Marlins rookie Monte Harrison had his biggest moment in his young major league career in the following half inning. Harrison connected on a two-RBI single with two outs and the bases loaded to bring Miami to just within a run.
The rally may have continued if Jonathan Villar didn’t swing at a clear ball four pitch before eventually striking out and stranding the tying and go-ahead runs on base. The mistake turned out to be a back-breaking one for the Fish.
An inning later, on the first pitch Josh A. Smith threw out of relief in the seventh, J.D. Davis beamed a three-run homer into the Mets bullpen to make it an 8-4 game and essentially put the game away. Despite having just one more hit than they did in a three-run effort Friday, the Mets put up eight runs Saturday, largely behind those three big swings.
It won’t get any easier for the Marlin bats in the rubber match, as the Mets send back-to-back NL Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom to the bump Sunday. Pablo López will make his second start of the 2020 season for the Fish, with the series finale set for 1:10pm Sunday from Citi Field.