Mets climb back to .500 behind Harrison Bader's game-winner off Pirates' Aroldis Chapman

Peter Sblendorio, New York Daily News on

Published in Baseball

NEW YORK — And just like that, the Mets are back to .500.

Harrison Bader’s tie-breaking two-run double against Pirates reliever Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning Monday proved to be the game-winner in the Mets’ 6-3 victory at Citi Field, evening their record for the first time since Opening Day.

With runners on second and third and one out, Bader smoked a clean line drive to left off of a 98-mph fastball from Chapman, his former Yankees teammate, to make the score 5-3.

Bader later came around to score on a Brandon Nimmo force out, beating second baseman Jared Triolo’s throw home.

It’s the second day in a row Bader delivered a go-ahead RBI, having broken a scoreless tie with a run-scoring infield single in the eighth inning of Sunday’s 2-1 win.

With Monday’s win, the Mets improved to 8-8, symbolizing something of a clean slate for a team that flirted with dubious history with an 0-5 start.

The Pirates (3.48) and Mets (3.51) entered Monday with the two lowest team ERAs in the National League and traded zeroes through the first five innings.

Mets starter Adrian Houser was the first to bend, surrendering an RBI single to Andrew McCutchen to kick off a three-run sixth inning for the Pirates. With reliever Drew Smith in the game, Connor Joe added an RBI single and Triolo delivered a sacrifice fly.

The Mets responded with a three-run sixth inning of their own, albeit in unusual fashion. Francisco Alvarez began the rally with a bases-loaded walk against Pirates starter Martin Perez to make the score 3-1.


Jeff McNeil then lifted a fly ball to right field that was too short to score Francisco Lindor from third, but as Joe attempted to double Alvarez off of first, he realized too late that nobody was covering and pegged the ball into the ground. Lindor scored to make it 3-2.

A two-out RBI double by pinch-hitter D.J. Stewart against reliever Hunter Stratton tied the game, 3-3.

The Mets are now 8-3 since dropping their first five games in what was the third-worst start in team history and one loss shy of their worst start in more than 60 years,

The resurgence includes three consecutive series victories over the Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Royals — a streak they’ll look to extend with another win over the Pirates this week.

Monday marked another encouraging outing for Lindor, who is heating up at the plate after a nightmare start to the season. Lindor went 2-for-4 with a walk and a run, boosting his average to .152.

It’s the second multi-hit game in a row for the four-time All-Star, who also went 2-for-4 in Sunday’s win against Kansas City. Lindor batted just .103 through his first 14 games, prompting fans to heed the advice of Mets owner Steve Cohen and shower the shortstop with encouragement throughout the homestand, which began Friday.

The Mets will look to claim a winning record for the first time this season on Tuesday night, with Jose Quintana (1-1, 3.45 ERA) scheduled to start. Pittsburgh has not announced its starter.


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