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Boston Herald
Boston Herald
22 Jul 2023
Tribune News Service

NextImg:Mets lean on bullpen to take first game of doubleheader against Red Sox

BOSTON — The Mets had to rely on a bullpen that has been anything but reliable this summer, but they withstood the Boston Red Sox in the continuation of Friday night’s game to take the series opener 5-4 on Saturday afternoon.

Rain delayed and then suspended the first game of a three-game series. Every win is absolutely crucial for the Mets right now as they attempt to climb out of a hole of their own creation and get back to playoff contention before the Aug. 1 trade deadline. This one certainly didn’t come easy, but it counted and that’s all that mattered.

The Mets started the game without outfielder Tommy Pham, who stayed in New York to undergo more imaging on a tight right groin and had trouble getting to Boston because of the same storms that suspended the game Friday night. Utility infielder Luis Guillorme left the game in the bottom of the sixth when a hard chopper by Rafael Devers took a bad hop and he twisted himself up trying to get to the ball on the grass behind him and hold the runners on first on and second.

Still, the Mets (46-51) overcame the obstacles, fighting and scraping to score one more. The bullpen locked it down with only left-hander David Peterson surrendering a run.

The game resumed at 2:11 p.m., with the Mets leading 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth. Daniel Vogelbach had the go-ahead homer in the fourth inning Friday night, taking Kutter Crawford (4-5) for a two-run shot, his fifth of the season.

Grant Hartwig (3-1) took over for Kodai Senga and gave the Mets a chance by limiting the Red Sox to only one hit through two innings.

There were missed opportunities and good pitches. In the fifth, the Mets put two on with only one out before Joe Jacques struck out two of the Mets’ best hitters in Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil. Pete Alonso doubled off the Green Monster to lead off the sixth, but right-hander Brennan Bernardino struck out pinch-hitter Mark Vientos and Francisco Alvarez.

Brett Baty legged out an infield single and Alonso scored, giving the Mets a 5-3 lead. It made all the difference after the Red Sox scored in the seventh.

The visitors loaded the bases in the eighth but failed to capitalize, with Francisco Alvarez popping up to the first baseman in foul territory and Baty grounding into an inning-ending double play. With only a two-run lead, manager Buck Showalter was forced to go to his high-leverage pitchers to close out the game. Brooks Raley and David Robertson did their jobs effectively, with Robertson working his 14th save.