Flores' 2 HRs outweigh Stanton's blasts in Mets' win
By Joe Frisaro and Troy Provost-Heron
MLB.com |@JoeFrisaro |
NEW YORK -- Giancarlo Stanton put on an unprecedented power show on Wednesday, crushing two laser-shot home runs, but it was Wilmer Flores' multihomer game that loomed larger on the scoreboard.
Flores connected twice off Justin Nicolino, and Curtis Granderson added a two-run single that provided all the support Jacob deGrom needed in the Mets' 4-2 win over the Marlins at Citi Field. New York took two of three in the series, moving 2 1/2 games ahead of Miami for second place in the National League East.
"First AB, first-pitch hacking, ambushed me, I was up a little bit," Nicolino said. "Second home run, I tip my cap to him -- 3-1 changeup off the plate down and away. He's been swinging the bat really well lately."
The fast-paced game was highlighted by the home runs, as Stanton became the first Marlins player to homer in four straight at-bats (with one walk in between). The slugger had two homers in his final two at-bats on Tuesday night. Stanton's second shot Wednesday was the 200th of his career. In the ninth inning, Stanton had the chance to become the first player in baseball history to homer in five straight at-bats, but his eight-pitch showdown with closer Jeurys Familia ended in a strikeout.
Stanton now has 17 home runs lifetime at Citi Field, the most by an opposing player.
"Big city, bright lights," the slugger said. "It's pretty cool. I got my 200th, too. I didn't know that until a little bit ago."
Flores enjoyed his second multihomer game in four days, as he also went deep twice on Sunday against the Cubs.
"The easiest explanation is he's not missing the pitches he can handle," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "That's what the great hitters of all time have all done, a lot more consistently than everybody else, but when they get a pitch, they don't miss it, and that's what he's doing right now."
Nicolino has gone 0-5 with a 6.31 ERA in his last 10 starts, and his status in the rotation is uncertain.
"We don't have to make that decision today or before the break," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Obviously, you're looking to get better at all times in all areas, so that's a decision you don't have to make today."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Making a case: With the addition of Jose Reyes, Flores will likely see less time at third base going forward, but over the last several games he has made a claim to stick at the hot corner. On Sunday against the Cubs, he went 6-for-6 with two home runs. In the last three games he's started at third base, Flores is 9-for-13 with four home runs and seven RBIs. More >
Stanton reaches seats and milestones: When he's hot, watch out. Stanton has heated up, and he's blasting baseballs a very long way. Stanton, already Miami's all-time home run leader, now has 200 in his career. He's also the second Miami player to have multihomer performances in back-to-back games. Derrek Lee first did it on June 9-10, 2002. And Stanton is the first player to homer in four straight at-bats since Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez did it April 7-8, 2015. The 26-year-old crushed two home runs off deGrom. Both were awe-inspiring, as left fielder Yoenis Cespedes didn't move on either blast. Per Statcast™, the drive in the fourth inning projected at 454 feet and the one in the sixth inning was in a similar spot at 439 feet. Both had exit velocities of 113 mph.
"I sit back and understand it now, but during the game, it's just figure out the best way to win," Stanton said. More >
Back to form: After loading the bases and needing 26 pitches to get out of a scoreless first, deGrom bounced back and turned in a quality start. The 28-year-old has dealt with some inconsistencies throughout the course of the season, but over his last three starts, he has been at his sharpest, going 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA while striking out 20.
"[I feel] better than where I started," deGrom said. "Things are starting to come back, and I was pretty happy about today."
Blast from the past: Reyes provided a throwback performance in his second game back in Flushing. Before the game, he was moved from third base to shortstop after Asdrubal Cabrera was scratched from the lineup because of a family member's illness, which kept him up all night. Reyes hit a pair of doubles down the left-field line to push his career hits total with the Mets to 1,302. More >
"Not a very good [3-6 road trip] for us. We get swept in Detroit, basically leave our 'pen in bad shape when we leave there. Atlanta gets us the first game, we bounce back and get one. Then Jose [Fernandez], we're not able to get one with Jose, and then we're able to win the Fort Bragg Game. Then we come up here and go up, 6-0, the first game and lose, win the next game and lose. It was a good ballgame today. Our 'pen did a nice job to keep us in and give us a chance. Overall, it wasn't a very good trip, but it is what it is." -- Mattingly
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS J.T. Realmuto struck out in the first inning, which snapped his personal string of hits in seven straight at-bats, falling one hit shy of tying a franchise record. It has happened four times previously, with the most recent being Christian Yelich during a doubleheader on Oct. 3, 2015, at Philadelphia.
A critical replay challenge went against the Marlins in the fifth inning. It was a big moment because it cost them a potential run. Miami challenged Yelich's double-play ground ball to short in a 4-1 game with runners on the corners. The outs at both second and first were challenged on the review. The out call at second was confirmed and the out call at first stood. Had Miami gotten an overturn on either review, Cole Gillespie would have scored.
There also was a challenge on the final play of the game, as a crew chief review was used to determine if a force at second base was properly made on Ichiro Suzuki's 6-4-3 double play. The out call stood.
WHAT'S NEXT Marlins: Named to the All-Star Game for the second time in his career, Fernandez (10-4, 2.69 ERA) makes the start for the Marlins on Friday in the series opener with the Reds at 7:10 p.m. ET at Marlins Park. Fernandez is 24-1 (1.48 ERA) in his career at Marlins Park.
Mets:Bartolo Colon (7-4, 2.87 ERA) will oppose rookie right-hander Lucas Giolito, who will make his second career start, when the Mets open up a four-game set with the Nationals at Citi Field on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Colon has allowed two or fewer runs in eight consecutive starts, posting a 1.96 ERA over that span.