If this season ends with the New York Mets winning the World Series for the first time since 1986, they might look back at Saturday’s 1986-esque win as a pivotal point on the path to history.
The Mets will look to build off a dramatic win Sunday afternoon, when they are slated to host the Miami Marlins in the finale of a four-game series between the National League East rivals.
Taijuan Walker (7-2, 2.86 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Mets against Sandy Alcantara (9-3, 1.82) in a battle of right-handers.
The Mets earned a stunning 5-4, 10-inning win Saturday, when Tomas Nido delivered the game-tying RBI double with two outs and scored the winning run when Marlins pitcher Tanner Scott threw the ball away on Brandon Nimmo’s comebacker.
The roller-coaster win came hours after the Mets retired the No. 17 worn by Keith Hernandez, the captain of the 1986 World Series champions who staved off elimination in Game 6 against the Boston Red Sox by overcoming a two-run deficit after there were two out and nobody on in the 10th inning at Shea Stadium.
That 6-5 win was capped when Ray Knight scored from second as Mookie Wilson’s grounder skipped under the glove of first baseman Bill Buckner. The victory Saturday marked the first since then where the Mets won an extra-inning game on a walk-off error.
“The game, every once in a while, you go — it’s almost ironic some of the things that go on,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “You just go ‘Really?’ We kid about the baseball gods, but I don’t know sometimes.”
Saturday’s win ensured the Mets wouldn’t need to beat Alcantara, the NL Cy Young frontrunner, on Sunday to earn a split of the series.
The Marlins might be in position to earn a series win Sunday if not for squandering numerous opportunities Saturday. Miami loaded the bases with none out in the first inning against Carlos Carrasco but didn’t score.
In the 10th, Billy Hamilton, a pinch runner for automatic runner Nick Fortes, scored on Francisco Lindor’s throwing error following an infield single by Jon Berti, who was promptly picked off second by Nido, the Mets’ catcher.
“There was a lot that went on today,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “I think, in general, probably too many mistakes, fundamentally, on the bases. Just fundamentally didn’t play good enough.”
Walker earned the win in his most recent start Monday, when he gave up three runs over six innings as the Mets beat the Cincinnati Reds, 7-4.
Alcantara continued his Cy Young push Tuesday, when he surrendered just two hits and struck out 10 over eight scoreless innings and recorded the victory as the Marlins edged the Los Angeles Angels, 2-1.
It was the 11th straight start in which Alcantara threw at least seven innings, the longest streak in the majors since Clayton Kershaw and Rick Porcello each tossed at least seven innings in 11 consecutive starts during the 2016 season.
Walker is 2-2 with a 4.05 ERA in seven career games (six starts) against the Marlins. Alcantara is 3-5 with a 2.96 ERA in 12 starts against the Mets.
–Field Level Media