One strike away from extra frames, Wilmer Flores belted a tiebreaking walk-off home run to left center field extending the New York Mets best start in franchise history to 12-2.
On a blustery Sunday afternoon with the game time temperature of 42 degrees, ironically on Jackie Robinson Day, when all players donned his number, the Mets beat the Brewers 3-2, racking up their fifth series win to open the season.
Whatever happened in Vegas didn’t stay there, as Brandon Nimmo, in his first game back from the minors, connected for a game tying dinger against Tyler Williams leading off the sixth, finishing a double shy of the cycle.
Noah Syndergaard had a no-no going into the fifth, striking out a career-high eight in row, two short of Tom Seaver’s major league record. Laboring through the first inning tossing 29 pitches, the longhaired right-hander left the mound after 5.1 innings fanning 11 with an unearned run, two hits and a walk.
Both ball clubs traded bases loaded places, neither team benefiting from the abundance of chances to bust it wide open.
Amed Rosario had a defensive roller coaster ride at short, making golden glove plays, followed by a series of low throws to first that Flores bailed him out of with beautiful picks in the dirt.
The 26-year old, who signed with the Mets in 2007 on his 16th birthday, is a clutch commodity for manager Mickey Callaway, who’s getting an added bonus with some vintage fielding from platooning veteran first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
Todd Frazier’s patience at the plate got the party started in the first inning, lining a 3-2 fastball away for an RBI base hit, scoring Nimmo, who reached on an infield single off Jhoulys Chacin’s glove, taking second on a wild throw that put Conforto safe at first.
In the bottom of the third, the Mets filled the bases on a Conforto single and pair of walks to Frazier and Rosario, setting the stage for Jose Reyes to do some damage with his 0-9 bat. But with two outs, the slumping second baseman flied out to left, ending his day 0-13 for the season.
NY’s second chance with the bases juiced came in the fifth after Flores received a free pass, Rosario was hit by a pitch, and Jay Bruce, pinch-hitting for catcher Tomas Nido, was intentionally walked – the only questionable move by Callaway since taking over the reins from Terry Collins. With two outs, Syndergaard, coming off a 400 and change double to the warning track, popped up to his counterpart.
The Mets bullpen ran into some bad luck in the top of the sixth when Robert Gsellman, inheriting Jesus Aguilar at first from his starting pitcher, walked Lorenzo Cain then yielded an infield single to Domingo Santana on a ground ball that rolled under the glove of Frazier to load the bases. A throwing error by Rosario gave the Brewers a 2-1 lead and Gsellman escaped further damage with a clutch three-pitch strikeout to Orlando Arcia.
Nimmo saved Syndergaard the loss with a leadoff home run in the bottom frame. In the top of the seventh AJ Ramos relieved Gsellman, reaping Jett Bandy on first via a base hit. Ramos’ wild pitch put Bandy on second, Aguilar’s ground out moved him to third and two 3-2 counts to Jonathan Villar and Cain brought in Jerry Blevins who killed the rally by getting Travis Shaw to ground out on a 69 MPH curve.
Hansel Robles retired the side in order in the eighth. Jeury Familia faced four, striking out two in the ninth, and the rest is Flores taking Matt Albers deep history.