NEW YORK (AP)A turbulent homestand ended on a positive note for the embattled New York Mets.
Pinch-hitter Dominic Smith broke a seventh-inning tie with an RBI single and New York beat the Miami Marlins 4-3 on Thursday night for its fifth straight victory.
”Clutch,” manager Luis Rojas said. ”This is a kid that’s going to grind at-bats.”
Marlins leadoff batter Miguel Rojas and Mets counterpart Jonathan Villar each homered on the first pitch they saw, the first time that’s happened in a major league game since at least 1985, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Statisticians at Elias were unable to go back any further with certainty because prior pitch-count records aren’t precise.
Francisco Lindor doubled home a run and scored on a balk by Miami starter Sandy Alcantara (8-13). New York won all three games completed this week against the last-place Marlins, including the resumption of one suspended in the top of the first on April 11.
The teams were rained out Wednesday night, one day after acting Mets general manager Zack Scott was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated.
He pleaded not guilty in court Thursday and was placed on paid administrative leave by the Mets ”until further notice.” Team president Sandy Alderson will assume Scott’s responsibilities running baseball operations.
Jeurys Familia (9-3) struck out two in a perfect inning and Edwin Diaz did the same in the ninth for his 28th save in 32 chances. The win guaranteed New York will finish at least .500 at home this season.
The third-place Mets remained five games behind NL East leader Atlanta, which won 6-5 at Colorado.
Jeff McNeil singled with one out in the seventh and went to third when right fielder Jesus Sanchez bobbled Patrick Mazeika’s hard-hit single, one of four errors by Miami.
”Feel like we’ve been pretty solid,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said about his defense. ”Today was a little bit of an anomaly.”
Smith then pulled a line drive that glanced off the glove of first baseman Jesus Aguilar while he was in fair territory. The Mets lead the majors with 42 pinch-hit RBIs this season.
”Just trying to be ready whether I’m starting or coming off the bench,” Smith said. ”Just trying to help this team win.”
Miguel Rojas launched the first pitch of the game into the left-field stands, connecting on a fastball from Mets starter Carlos Carrasco before many fans at Citi Field even settled into their seats. It was Rojas’ third leadoff home run this season and eighth overall.
”I think on the first pitch there’s nothing I can do about that,” Carrasco said. ”I’m pretty sure he was looking for a fastball and he got it right there.”
Jazz Chisholm Jr. lined a double and advanced to third on an error by center fielder Brandon Nimmo. Aguilar followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0.
Villar responded in the bottom of the first by clobbering Alcantara’s first-pitch heater 431 feet into the seats above New York’s bullpen in right-center for his 17th home run. It was his eighth career leadoff shot and first this year.
Carrasco has allowed seven homers in seven starts with the Mets, with six coming in the first inning and the other in the second. After his New York debut was delayed until late July by a torn hamstring, he gave up a home run on his first pitch of the season to Cincinnati rookie Jonathan India.
”The first inning is a funny thing with him,” Luis Rojas said. ”He gave us a really good chance to come back and win this game.”
Carrasco was charged with three runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out five.
Alcantara allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings, striking out six.
”I didn’t feel great about my outing,” he said. ”I was missing a lot.”
Miami tied it 3-all on a bases-loaded walk by reliever Aaron Loup in the sixth.
Loup, Familia, Trevor May and Diaz combined for 3 2/3 hitless innings out of the Mets’ bullpen.
Marlins: 3B Brian Anderson sat out with a sore shoulder. He was hurt diving for a ball Tuesday night and is day-to-day, Mattingly said.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (forearm tightness) continues to play catch, Luis Rojas said. . RHP Noah Syndergaard (Tommy John surgery) remains in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19, pausing his rehab assignment with Class A Brooklyn on Sunday. Syndergaard is throwing baseballs against a mattress in his apartment to keep his arm in shape. . C James McCann (lower back spasms) is swinging, throwing to bases and performing various catching drills. He could return this weekend in Washington. . RHP Jake Reed (forearm inflammation) and OF/1B Jose Martinez (torn meniscus in left knee) began rehab assignments with Triple-A Syracuse.
Marlins: Return home for a three-game series against Philadelphia, with LHP Jesus Luzardo (5-7, 7.19 ERA) set to start Friday’s opener.
Mets: Head to Washington for a five-game series that includes a doubleheader Saturday. LHP Rich Hill (6-6, 4.11 ERA) faces Nationals lefty Sean Nolin (0-2, 5.67) on Friday night.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports