Frazier's slam sparks rout as Mets cool off Cubs

Bats erupt for 6 runs in final 2 frames after Vargas' 4th straight strong start

August 29th, 2018

CHICAGO -- The Mets believed patience had rewarded them in February when, amidst a flurry of late moves that a depressed free-agent market made possible, they signed and to two-year contracts. The former, one of the game's most durable players, had recently submitted a 40-homer campaign. The latter was a steady starting pitcher coming off an 18-win season.
By May, however, the Mets had grown concerned with their investments, as Frazier idled on the disabled list for the first time in his career and Vargas sported a double-digit ERA. But perhaps there is hope for both. Frazier cracked a grand slam Wednesday at Wrigley Field to continue a recent offensive renaissance, while Vargas submitted his fourth consecutive strong outing in an 10-3 win over the Cubs.
The victory snapped a nine-game Mets losing streak against the Cubs, and ended Chicago's current seven-game winning streak.
"For them to finish strong," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said of Frazier and Vargas, "and come into next season and know that we're going to fight every way we can to win as many games as we can, and for them to be in a good place coming off of a strong second half this year, is going to be very important for those guys."

After wrapping up a suspended game earlier Wednesday, the Mets immediately found the burst of offense they were missing in that 2-1 loss. Frazier, who returned from a second DL stint earlier this month, hit a grand slam in the first inning off Cubs rookie for his sixth home run in his past 18 games. In his last 21 contests, Frazier is batting .299 with 19 RBIs.
"My son's been asking for one," Frazier said of his first grand slam since 2016. "Hopefully, I made him proud today."
The Mets then piled on late when , and drove runs home in the seventh, and Frazier and came through with RBI knocks in the ninth.

Continuing what has easily been his best run of the season, Vargas held the Cubs to one run -- an RBI infield single in the second -- in 5 1/3 innings. Over his past four outings, Vargas is 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA, lowering his season mark from 8.75 to 6.56.
That is significant for a Mets club that has Vargas and Frazier under guaranteed contracts in 2019. Both figure to be significant future pieces for the Mets, giving the team reason to latch onto their recent runs of success.
"It's a lot easier when you're able to go at them with three pitches that you know you have command of and you have the ability to make the guys swing and miss with," Vargas said. "Pitching well is definitely better than pitching bad."

Hot at short: All of the damage in the seventh inning came with two outs, beginning when pinch-hitter singled to left and moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Rosario followed with an RBI single and later scored on Reyes' triple, capping a 7-for-15 series with two runs, two RBIs and a stolen base.

Reyes' triple was the 131st of his career, tying Joe DiMaggio and two others for 77th place in big league history. Most of the players with more than Reyes ended their careers decades ago; in the last 40 years, only Willie Wilson has more triples than Reyes, who leads both the MLB active list and the Mets' all-time list by wide margins.

Vargas' strikeout of Happ in the fifth inning was the 1,000th of his career, making him one of 43 active pitchers (on a 25-man roster or disabled list) to hit that milestone. , who has 955 career strikeouts, is likely to join Vargas in that club by season's end.
"We're playing good baseball. I think we have been playing good baseball. I love the way the guys are playing hard. We're doing a great job of that. We've just got to keep it up." -- Callaway, on the Mets' 15-11 record in their past 26 games
Following an off-day Thursday, Zack Wheeler will open a three-game series in San Francisco on Friday against the team that drafted him. In seven starts since the All-Star break, Wheeler is 6-0 with a 1.17 ERA, 44 strikeouts and 10 walks. He'll oppose Giants left-hander , a dark-horse National League Rookie of the Year Award candidate, in the 10:15 p.m. ET game.