NEW YORK -- Right-hander Jordan Yamamoto ended his season on a good note Thursday night at Citi Field. He pitched six shutout innings and struck out a career-high 10 batters as the Marlins edged the Mets, 4-2, thanks to a go-ahead home run by Curtis Granderson.
This season has been inconsistent for Yamamoto, and it didn’t help that he missed a good portion of September because of a right forearm strain.
However, against the Mets, Yamamoto showed that he has fully recovered from injury. At one point, he retired 17 out of 19 hitters and struck out the side in the fifth inning.
“Yama was really good today. It shows what he can do,” manager Don Mattingly said. “He is a guy that has a number of pitches and is capable of mixing and matching -- giving you different looks. Today, I think the key was throwing strikes with everything he had tonight. When he does that, he is really unpredictable as far as what you are going to get.”
Yamamoto was one of the key figures in a trade that sent outfielder Christian Yelich from Miami to the Brewers. After six seasons in professional baseball, Yamamoto was called up the big leagues and needed a lot of work, according to Mattingly. Yamamoto’s preparation and work in the bullpen was inconsistent for most of the season.
“That turns into making mistakes,” Mattingly said. “Those are the things that are good for guys when they get here [in the big leagues] -- to have success and then they take their lumps. They learn to get better. That’s all part of him growing up.”
Yamamoto said that he had a feeling that he was going to have a great game after his bullpen session -- he liked the way that his arm path was going.
“I think it really helped knowing where my arm path was, and knowing where I could release the ball,” Yamamoto said.
It also helped that Yamamoto was on the same page as rookie catcher Tyler Heineman. Yamamoto called Heineman amazing behind the plate and said he will be in the big leagues for a long time. The Marlins purchased Heineman’s contract from the D-backs in June in exchange for cash considerations. Heineman made his Major League debut early this month.
Heineman, however, gave all the credit to Yamamoto.
“His fastball had a lot of ride today,” Heineman said. “His location was good. He had good ride at the top of the zone. His curveball was really good. We didn’t utilize any changeups or cutters. His curveball, slider mix was good, along with his fastball. The Mets just couldn’t time it up.”
There was no score when Yamamoto left the game, and he ended up with a no-decision. Reliever Jeff Brigham earned the victory after Heineman tied the game at 2 with a two-run homer and Granderson hit a pinch-hit solo homer to give Miami the lead -- all against right-hander Zack Wheeler in the eighth inning.