Flexen, rookie bats lead Mets past D-backs

August 24th, 2017

NEW YORK -- The Mets finally found a way to beat the D-backs. All it took was a little help from the kids.
With 23-year-old (aka "Big Baby" for Players Weekend) going six innings for the first time as a Major Leaguer and and both driving in runs, the Mets came away with a 4-2 win Wednesday night at Citi Field. It was their first win in six games against Arizona this season, and just the second win in their last 12 games against the D-backs.
The D-backs remained a half-game ahead of the Rockies, who lost to the Royals, for the top National League Wild Card spot, with the Brewers three games behind Colorado.
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It was a frustrating loss for the postseason-chasing D-backs, who time after time put runners on base but scored only on a first-inning J.D. Martinez (aka "Flaco" for Players Weekend) single and a Chris Iannetta sixth-inning home run. The D-backs created chances for their middle-of-the-order hitters all night, but , and Martinez (except for the first-inning single) couldn't cash in.

"I think that's the theme of the night," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "We had the right guys up at the right moment, but couldn't get the big hit."

Flexen deserves some of the credit. The Mets' rookie right-hander made big pitches when he needed to, and ended up allowing just two runs on six hits in six innings. D-backs starter (aka "Bull" for Players Weekend) walked four in five innings and allowed three runs (two earned).
"I think the more experience I get, the more comfortable I am out there," Flexen said. I'm learning a lot more what a quality pitch is, and how to get guys out here."
Smith hit his third home run for the Mets, while Rosario had two hits, including an RBI single. reached base four times and scored two runs, and (aka "Scooter" for Players Weekend) had a pair of run-scoring singles. AJ Ramos recorded his 23rd save of the year and his third with the Mets.

Lagares' big throw: Three times in the first five innings, the D-backs had a runner on third base with less than two outs. Flexen did well to get out of trouble, but in the fifth inning he did it with help from in center field. With the bases loaded and one out, Lagares caught Martinez's fly ball and threw A.J. Pollock out at the plate to keep the potential tying run from scoring. Statcast™ clocked Lagares' throw at 94.5 mph, his second hardest of the season.
"All things considered, I think it was a risky play [by Pollock]," Lovullo said. "A shallow fly ball, and a guy with a strong arm. In the fifth inning, I can live with it. We've been forcing teams to make plays all year. But it was a risky play."

Kid power: Smith and Rosario had run-scoring hits in the ninth inning Tuesday, but only after the Mets were far behind. The rookies had a bigger impact Wednesday. Smith's one-out walk started a fourth-inning rally that led to Rosario's go-ahead RBI single, and Smith's sixth-inning home run restored the Mets' two-run lead.
"It's definitely a really good feeling," Smith said. "I've been seeing this go on all year in Triple-A. I'm just glad we could come up here and show the world what we could do." More >

"It was all poise to me and not getting too nerved up when you're facing the middle of that lineup. You gotta keep your wits about you, because if you get out of control and start to make mistakes, they're gonna really hurt you. I just thought he handled it great." -- Mets manager Terry Collins, on Flexen working around trouble through the heart of Arizona's order all night
Both teams scored one run in the first inning. The Mets have 86 first-inning runs this season, but have surrendered at least one first-inning run in 54 games, which leads the Majors.

After Smith's homer, instant replay helped the D-backs out of a sixth-inning jam. With runners at first and second and nobody out, Lagares hit a ground ball to third base. Lamb got the forceout at second base, but Lagares was initially called safe at first on the relay. The D-backs challenged, the call was overturned and they eventually got out of the inning without another run scoring.

D-backs: Left-hander Robbie Ray (9-5, 3.11 ERA) returns to the mound Thursday at 9:10 a.m. MT against the Mets, four weeks after he was struck in the head by a line drive in St. Louis.
Mets: The Mets will look to end this nine-game homestand on a high note after struggling for much of it by sending (2-8, 5.47 ERA) to the mound at Citi Field. The right-hander has turned in two consecutive quality starts and will look to build on that. First pitch is set for 12:10 p.m. ET.