Miami Slice, Mets Hook Marlins on J.D. Walk Off

AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson

In his 14-year career, J.D. Martinez had never hit a walk off home run. Scratch that one off of his bucket list.

Martinez hit a two run, walk off homer off of Miami Marlins closer Tanner Scott to give the Mets a huge 3-2 win last night at Citifield. It was Martinez’ first walk off hit of any kind since April 6, 2021 when he doubled home the winning run while playing for Boston.

I didn’t know how to act when I hit it, coming home and stuff,” Martinez said. “It was definitely cool. Hit a lot of late inning home runs, big hits but never a walk off home run.”

The Mets trailed 2-1 entering the ninth, but Francisco Lindor worked a walk to begin the rally. “Started with Lindor, the lead off walk. Good at bat, obviously, 2-0, takes a strike, ended up getting on base, especially leading off an inning down one,” Manager Carlos Mendoza said.

After Brandon Nimmo struck out, Lindor stole second, and Martinez drove a 3-1 slider from the Marlins left hander over the right center field wall to send the rest of the team and the fans who were left from the announced crowd of 22,485, into a frenzy. “He’s [Martinez] able to get a pitch he can drive and obviously the big homer there,” said Mendoza.

Things did not look good early on as the Mets did not have any success against Marlins starter Roddery Munoz who was tough to hit.

Munoz no hit the Mets through five and a 1/3 until Harrison Bader singled with one out in the sixth. Bader was caught stealing and it appeared the Mets had a case to challenge but never called for it. The 24-year old right hander walked one and struck out five and was never really threatened.

Mets starter Luis Severino matched Munoz with zeroes for five innings but the Marlins broke the ice in the sixth.

With one out, Jake Burger drove a 1-2 pitch from Severino into the right field stands for his 6th home run of the season and a 1-0 lead. The Mets right hander completed a solid outing by striking out Otto Lopez but the damage was done. With the Mets struggles offensively, one run seemed like ten.

The deficit became two runs in the seventh when Jazz Chisholm Jr hit a 3-2 pitch from reliever Drew Smith into the 7-line area in centerfield for his 10th of the season.

The Mets were glad to see Munoz leave the game. Anthony Bender was brought on to start the seventh and had immediate control trouble as he walked Nimmo to leadoff the inning. Martinez lined a double to left and Pete Alonso walked to load the bases with nobody out.

The inning was set up nicely for the Mets but as has been the case so many times this season, they couldn’t cash in.

Starling Marte bounced into a 5-4-3 double play as a run scored. Bender was replaced by right hander Calvin Faucher who retired Mark Vientos on a grounder to short with the tying run on third, but the Mets were not deterred.

Even though the Mets failed to maximize the rally, Martinez felt it was beneficial and set them up for the ninth inning magic.

It’s a one run game. It was still a great inning [the 7th], we scored a run,” the veteran DH said. “We’re within striking distance so I think it’s kinda just changing the tone, like one run away, let’s keep it up.”

There was more good news from this win as Edwin Diaz made a successful return from the IL.

The Mets closer was brought on to pitch the 9th in a non save situation and had, arguably, his best outing of the season. Diaz, who got the win, retired the Marlins in order with a strikeout to keep the Mets within one run.

Diaz’ first pitch to Tim Anderson was a 98 MPH, four seam fastball and got him to ground out with a sharp slider. Diaz hit 99 three times and retired all three hitters with sliders that had more bite than in previous outings.

Today I was throwing 99, 100 today, I didn’t do that a lot early in the season,” Diaz said.

It’s only June, but the Mets (30-37) have already reached a critical point of their season. They are in the midst of a stretch where they have a chance to make up lost ground and they almost squandered an opportunity to win a series against the NL’s worst, but one swing turned this night around.

We have some tough losses but the guys continue to show up, continue to battle, continue to fight and today we saw it. On a night where it was hard for us offensively, we found a way and we won a baseball game,” Mendoza said.

Next up a three game series against the San Diego Padres at Citi. It remains to be seen if they will keep turning upward.

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