MIAMI — Even as the Mets’ season was careening toward disaster in mid-August, team officials were looking ahead to their current soft stretch of schedule against the Nationals and Marlins as a possible life raft.
But with only five victories in eight games against the Nationals during the slate (including a crushing walk-off loss Monday), the Mets might have underachieved on one front. They are faring better with the Marlins.
On Tuesday, they capitalized on sloppier play than their own in winning a fourth straight against Miami since last week, 9-4, at loanDepot park.
Pete Alonso slugged two homers, including the 100th of his career, in leading the Mets’ offensive attack. The victory was the Mets’ ninth in 12 games.
Each team committed three errors, but the difference might have been the seven batters Marlins pitchers put on base through walks and hit batters.
The Mets (70-69) remained four games behind the Braves (who beat the Nationals) in the NL East race. They will play two additional games in South Florida before returning to Citi Field for nine games against the Yankees, Cardinals and Phillies, beginning Friday.
Aaron Loup, Trevor May, Brad Hand and Miguel Castro combined on four innings of scoreless relief Tuesday, helping to bury the memory of Edwin Diaz’s ninth-inning meltdown in Washington a day earlier that cost the Mets a chance to further narrow the gap on Atlanta.
Alonso put the cherry on the victory with a monster home run to left field in the ninth. He also hit a two-run shot in the first. The ninth-inning blast was No. 100 in Alonso’s career — a plateau he reached in only 347 games. It’s the second-fastest to 100 homers, behind the Phillies’ Ryan Howard, who needed just 325 games to reach the mark.
Jazz Chisholm Jr. booted Jonathan Villar’s potential inning-ending double play grounder in the sixth, scoring Jeff McNeil and putting the Mets ahead before Francisco Lindor delivered the key blow with a two-run single that extended the lead to 7-4. The rally was fueled by Joe Panik’s throwing error to the pitcher covering first base on Patrick Mazeika’s grounder.
The Mets scored twice to build a 4-1 lead in an ugly third inning in which Edward Cabrera walked the bases loaded before Michael Conforto and Javier Baez were drilled by pitches in succession. The right-hander Cabrera was removed after only 2 1/3 innings and charged for four earned runs.
Sabotaged by his defense, Carlos Carrasco allowed four runs (three of which were unearned) on seven hits and one walk with four strikeouts over five innings. The right-hander threw a season-high 92 pitches in earning his first victory as a Met.
Carrasco allowed three straight singles to begin his night, the last of which, by Jesus Sanchez, brought in a run. The right-hander also walked Jorge Alfaro in the inning, but escaped without another run scoring.
In the second, Cabrera delivered an RBI double after Lindor booted Alvarez’s grounder for an error. Carrasco got the next three outs to keep the runner at second base.
The Marlins tied it 4-4 in the third. After a Villar throwing error left runners on second and third, Isan Diaz’s sacrifice fly and Eddy Alvarez’s RBI double brought in the runs. Lewis Brinson’s leadoff single against Carrasco began the rally.