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Boston Herald
Boston Herald
22 Apr 2023
Tribune News Service

NextImg:Pete Alonso homers again, Joey Lucchesi delivers career performance as Mets blank Giants, 7-0

SAN FRANCISCO — The Mets had a likely hero and an unlikely one in their 7-0 win over the San Francisco Giants on Friday night at Oracle Park.

Pete Alonso hit his 10th home run of the season to pad his league lead and set a new franchise record for the most home runs through the months of March and April. The two-run dinger was his second in as many nights and it came off right-hander Anthony DeSclafani in the fifth inning to put the Mets up by four. Alonso also hit a two-run single in the ninth for his second four-RBI night in a row, and his 23 is tied for the league lead.

The unlikely hero was Joey Lucchesi, who was called up earlier in the day to make a start in place of the injured Carlos Carrasco. The left-hander blanked the Giants (9-13) for seven innings to become the first Mets starter to even reach the seven-inning mark this season.

“He was lights out,” Alonso said.

Lucchesi, who grew up across the bay from San Francisco in Newark and played college ball at nearby Chabot College, had over 50 people in attendance to see him throw a gem in his first big league outing since June 18, 2021. Lucceshi felt that it was the best performance of his career.

“To wait two years and fast-forward to this outing, man, it was a grind with a lot of emotions,” Lucchesi said. “You have to try to stay patient and wait for that moment. This moment for me was tonight and I’m glad I dominated.”

The Mets (14-7) weren’t sure what to expect from Lucchesi after he sat out the rest of 2021 and 2022 to rehab from Tommy John surgery, but he revamped his workout routine and his nutrition, and adjusted to the pitch clock in Triple-A. The decision to use him in this series paid off.

“Another guy dialing it up in the time of need,” manager Buck Showalter said. “You think about all of the things that he’s been through to come to this point. It was a special night for him and his family, I’m sure.”

This was the first time Lucchesi’s parents, Ken and Michelle, have seen him pitch since 2019. Having his family at games used to make him nervous and there was a time when he would tell them not to come for that reason.

“I always tell my parents, ‘Don’t come to my games,’ because I get nervous when they’re there,” he said. “My dad would just stay home. But I was like, you know what? They deserve to see me.”

After this performance, the Lucchesi family has an open invitation to all of his games.

“I’m going to tell them to come whenever they want,” Lucchesi said.

Lucchesi’s signature “churve” was especially deceptive. He scattered six baserunners over seven innings, striking out nine and getting three double plays, two of which came from former Mets utility man Wilmer Flores.

“I did my homework and I knew what my groundball pitches were,” Lucchesi said. “If I was in a jam, I took deep breathes and I executed my pitches most of all. I think I had a few, a good amount of ground balls.”

Jeff McNeil, another California native, went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and Luis Guillorme went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run.

Guillorme singled home Mark Canha with two outs in the second to put the Mets on the board. Guillorme led off the fifth with a single off DeSclafani (1-1) and was moved over on a sacrifice bunt by Brandon Nimmo. Two batters later, McNeil got jammed up and made contact on a checked swing. San Francisco catcher Joey Bart made an errant throw past first base, allowing McNeil to reach and Guillorme to score.

Alonso then hit one over the fence in center.

His two-run single came in the ninth with the bases loaded with two outs off Sean Hjelle. The Mets would end up plating one more in the inning, but it was this hit that saved them from having to use David Robertson.

It was a huge win for the bullpen.

“They’ve been pitching almost 12 outs a night out of the ‘pen and they’ve been done a good job, but you can’t continue at that pace and not have a price to pay,” Showalter said. “Not necessarily physically, but nobody is that deep in the organization. Our depth has been tested and it has responded real well so far.”

Brooks Raley and Tommy Hunter each pitched scoreless innings in relief of Lucchesi. The Mets are 7-1 on this California swing, having outscored opponents 53-29 during that span.